Volume 3 Issue 5 - March 01, 2005

DRG opposes people chosen for three key disability posts

DNIS News Network - Over the past few months, the disability sector has expressed deep unhappiness regarding the process of selection for the Head, of the three key bodies.

The sector is "feeling totally crushed" and feels that it's "overall well-being and long term interest" is being overlooked by the government.

Disabled Rights Group (DRG) has actively and passionately lobbied for a very long time now that India 's Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) should be a person with disability. To select a non-disabled professional or even a parent would indirectly mean that there was no one good enough or competent enough amongst India 's 70 million disabled people!

Now, DRG has come to know, from very authentic sources, that "one Manoj Kumar, who has no track record in the disability movement and is also non-disabled, has been shortlisted as India's next CCPD"! Even when the advertisement was given for the said "post", DRG had raised objections and had submitted a detailed representation to the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Meira Kumar.

DRG has also "[lodged] its strong protest" over the appointment of Dr. Uma Tuli as the next Chairperson of Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) and over the reappointment of Aloka Guha as the Chairperson of the National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities.

The disability sector is deeply distressed; people within the sector want the Ministry of Social Justice to explain why "these two ladies have been rewarded with such high posts for a second time?"

"If Dr. Tuli did well as India's previous CCPD, then logically she should be given a second term. And if she didn't do well, then how come that she is being rewarded with a second plum assignment? Guha did so badly in her tenure that Parivaar (the umbrella organisation of the parent bodies of the concerned disability groups) had to pass a motion of no-confidence against her. And yet she is being given the second term."

One of the demands of the disability sector has been that a parent should be appointed as the Chairperson of the National Trust.

It is crucial for the government to realise that no amount of talk about the rights of people with disabilities, and even about the law, will not change matters unless: (a) institutions are in place; and (b) the right people are given charge of those institutions.

Otherwise, in spite of all good intentions, nothing will change!

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