Volume 4 Issue 4 - February 15, 2006

Lalu assures D.R.G. that concerns of disability sector will be addressed in Railway Budget

D.N.I.S. News Network - In a major breakthrough for the disability sector, Disabled Rights Group (D.R.G.) has been personally assured by Minister for Railways Lalu Prasad Yadav that issues raised by them concerning non-implementation of The Disability Act in the Indian Railways would be looked into urgently in the next few days, ahead of the Railway Budget 2006 – 2007.

The breakthrough was achieved after an impromptu Dharna on 7 February by members of D.R.G. demanding a meeting with the Minister to place before him a host of issues for inclusion of disability perspective in the Railway Budget.

In the meeting, specific focus was on review of the list of identified jobs for disabled people pending for over five years now; a special recruitment drive to ensure compliance of the three per cent job quota in the Indian Railways; setting up of a high-powered committee to ensure better access in trains, at platforms and in all other services and accommodating disability as a priority area in the forthcoming budget.

The Minister promised a formal meeting between the Railway Ministry officials and the leaders of the disability sector, ahead of the Budget Session in Parliament to address the issue of disability in the Railway Budget 2006-2007.

This meeting with the Railway Minister came in the backdrop of an agitation by disabled employees of the Northern Railway on long pending demands that included fulfilment of 3% quota reserved for disabled. These employees had held a candlelight vigil, a day before the meeting with the Minister, and it saw D.R.G. joining their cause.

In a media release, D.R.G. welcomed the initiative taken by the Railway Minister. The disability sector is upbeat and eager to see what changes will unfold for 70 million disabled citizens on the day when Railway Minister takes the stage on 24 February for presenting a new, and hopefully India’s first disabled-friendly Railway Budget.

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