DNIS News Network - The NHRC Chairman urges the government to delete the reference to 'able bodied person' while drafting the proposed Act and to make appropriate provisions for employment of persons with disability.
Deeply perturbed over the reference to 'able bodied person' in the proposed National Employment Guarantee Act as outlined in this year's Budget Speech, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Dr. Justice A.S. Anand has written to the Union Minister for Finance as well as Union Minister for Labour. He has urged them to delete the reference to 'able bodied person' while drafting the proposed Act and to make appropriate provisions for employment of persons with disability.
The Commission has also pointed that the inclusion of the reference 'able bodied person' in the Union Budget Speech of 8th July, 2004 has caused serious disquiet among many NGOs working in the disability section and to the National Human Rights Commission itself
While expressing its happiness, the Commission noted the several new initiatives announced in the Union Budget for 2004-2005 to protect persons belonging to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, minorities and other vulnerable sections.
The Commission agreed that unemployment takes a heavy toll on the poor but said it does not see merit in restricting 100 days of employment in a year to 'one able bodied person' in every poor household. This reference to 'able bodied' persons in Para 16 of Part A of the Budget Speech, it felt, unwittingly discriminates against persons with disability.
Over the past several years, the Commission has been recommending measures to protect the rights of the persons with disability and to ensure their equal participation in all walks of society. In order to ensure enjoyment of full range of human rights by persons with disabilities, the Commission -- in December 2002 -- inter-alia recommended provision of employment opportunities for disabled people in the public and private sector.
The Commission has held a consistent view that the paradigm must shift from mere welfare measures of persons with disability to rights of persons with disability.