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Disaster Management Bill passed sans disability component

D.N.I.S. News Network - Several legislations that have been cleared by Parliament in the recent sessions have missed out on addressing the concerns raised by the disability sector.

After passing the National Rural Employment Guarantee bill in the last session, now the Disaster Management Bill has been unanimously passed by the Lower House even though it has missed out on addressing specific concerns of vulnerable social groups like disabled, aged and children.

The Bill mandates that there shall be no discrimination on the basis of gender, caste, community, descent or religion while providing compensation and relief to victims. In the said factors or grounds that could become basis of discrimination during a disaster, the Bill fails to mention disability.

The salient features of the Bill include setting up of a National Disaster Management Authority under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister; State Disaster Management Authorities in the States/Union Territories under the chairmanship of Chief Minister or Lt. Governor or Administrator, as the case may be; and the District Disaster Management Authority under the District Magistrate in each district.

It must be pointed out here that the issue of vulnerability of disabled people during a calamity and the neglect that they face at the time of relief was highlighted by a fact-finding mission that visited Kashmir after the recent earthquake. The report prepared by Disabled People International-India and National Disability Network had clearly brought out the lack of awareness that plagues the local administration and policy makers when it comes to the needs of disabled people.