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"A parent alone can understand the problems of a child with mental disability": J.P. Gadkari

J.P. Gadkari, President of Parivaar, shares his views about the appointment of a Chairperson for the National Trust.

Please tell us briefly about your organisation ‘Parivaar’.

Parivaar is an apex body of parents' associations of persons with intellectual disabilities at the national level. It is an advocacy organisation. It's objectives are to: secure legal and human rights and social justice against exploitation, abuse and discrimination; bring persons with intellectual disabilities into the mainstream of life; bring about empowerment of parents and their families and create public awareness among the people about the problem of mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy and multiple disabilities.

Parivaar, the National Federation for Parents' Association for Persons with Mental Handicap, Autism, Cerebral Palsy and Multiple Disabilities, was formed in 1995. Today there are 130 parents associations and voluntary organisation in 26 states of India which are affiliated to it.

How is Parivaar working to promote the cause of persons with mental disabilities in the country? What have been its major achievements?

The biggest achievement of Parivaar was bringing about a separate legislation for persons with intellectual disability. Parivaar campaigns to promote the cause of persons with intellectual disabilities through proper implementation of the provisions of the National Trust Act.

Tell us very briefly about the purpose of National Trust Act for the Welfare of Persons with Mental Retardation, Autism and Multiple Disabilities.

The main purpose of the National Trust Act is to provide training, education, employment and rehabilitation facilities to persons with intellectual disabilities.

Parivaar had opposed the reappointment of Aloka Guha as the Chairperson National Trust. What were the reasons?

Parivaar was apposed to reappointment of Aloka Guha as Chairperson of the National Trust because we believe that under her leadership the interests of persons with intellectual disabilities were not protected. She also completely sidetracked their parents and the parents’ associations.

We believe Parivaar had passed a no confidence motion against Guha when she was the Chairperson of the National Trust. Why was that necessary?

Parivaar had not passed any no confidence motion against Guha. However, last October the representatives of parents’ associations had passed a resolution at their Nagpur conclave criticising her style of functioning and sidetracking of the parents’ associations.

What are the qualities that the Chairperson of the NationalTrust should possess?

The first criteria for selection of the chairperson of National Trust should be that he/she should be a parent of a child with intellectual disability.

There is a strong lobby within the sector, which is strongly lobbying that Guha should be reappointed as the Chairperson. What do you say for that?

Lobbying is a popular method in today's world for bringing about pressure on authorities. One with resources and abilities to manoeuvre can be a successful lobbyist.

Parivaar is demanding that a parent and not a professional should be made the Chairperson. What are your reasons?

Parivar wants a parent and not a professional to be the Chairperson of the National Trust because a parent alone can understand the problems of a child with mental disability.

Taking cognisance of the strong opposition from Parivaar & DRG against the reappointment of Guha as the Chairperson, the post has been advertised recently. Are you satisfied with the development?

Parivaar is happy about the development.

What is Parivaar doing to spread the information widely to ensure right people apply for it?

Parivaar has already circulated news about the new selection procedure announced through an advertisement by the Ministry and will propose its candidate for the post.