Volume 4 Issue 6 - March 15, 2006

Chhattisgarh becomes the first state to frame a policy for disabled people

D.N.I.S. News Network- Chhattisgarh has become the first state in India to frame its own disability policy, which in its approach and scope has surpassed the National Policy for Persons with Disabilities recently announced by the Union Government.

The Comprehensive Disability Policy Framework for Chhattisgarh (C.D.P.F.C.) is in keeping with the international conventions and frameworks on disability, like the Biwako Millennium Framework and United Nations Standard Rules, and has been drafted in consultation with key stakeholders. This is in stark contrast to the short cuts taken by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment while framing the National Policy.

Reacting to the policy, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.) has congratulated the Chhattisgarh Government for basing the policy on social model of disability with its guiding principles being Self-Representation, Inclusion and Sustainability.

“It was heartening to see the focus of the Policy on addressing the concerns of tribal disabled people, women with disabilities, mentally ill people and people with sensory and multiple disabilities,” Executive Director of N.C.P.E.D.P. Javed Abidi said in a reply to a request for suggestions sought by the State Government.

“However, we feel that the Policy is weak on the aspect of self-representation though it is one of its guiding principles. The strategies should clearly mention as to how disabled people will be involved in the process of planning, implementation and monitoring of Policy. There should be a clear cut mandate to have a disabled person as State Commissioner for Disabilities. In all other areas also representation of disabled people is must. Like the Draft National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, this Policy has also missed out on the higher education of disabled people. Efforts should be directed to increase the participation of this diverse constituency in the higher education system,” Abidi added, highlighting some shortcomings that the policy needs to address.

Some key highlights of the Policy are:

      • Formation of Chhattisgarh State Disability Council.
      • Principles: Self-Representation, Inclusion and Sustainability as a fundamental principle.
      • A clear move away from the medical model. Unlike the National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, the focus is more on awareness raising, barrier-free access, transport, housing, education, employment and economic empowerment, participation in public life through political participation in the election process, social security, human resources development and so forth.
      • Clear cut policy objectives and strategies under each section.
      • Special attention given to mental illness, women with disabilities, and people with sensory and multiple disabilities.
      • Perspectives of tribals with disabilities incorporated, with district specific intervention strategies, within the policy though the perspective building suggests a separate section in the policy for tribals with disabilities.

Other States can take a cue from Chhattisgarh and follow suit. If this policy is implemented in its true spirit, then it can become a model to replicate in other States of India.

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