Prohibited Words are not Enough for Persons with Disabilities

Environment State

The measure has been taken in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

The use of the words “Disabled” in English and “Vikalang” in Hindi has been prohibited by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

This measure is taken in accordance with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. The Chapter II of the Act that deals with equality and non-discrimination state that “The appropriate Government shall ensure that the persons with disabilities enjoy the right to equality, life with dignity, and respect for his or her integrity equally with others.” But the disabled people in this community are not satisfied with the measure.

Mahantesh G.K., founder of Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled, says, “Although this is a good gesture by the government, I do not see much benefit in its implementation. The best it can bring is a change in people’s attitude towards persons with disabilities.” He adds, “This notice has been issued in 2016 so it very early to assess its impact. I hope in the coming few years we can see it making a change.”

The Act also states various other measures to be taken for persons with disabilities such as granting of loans at a concessional level, reservation for persons with disabilities in government institutions at not less than four percent, access to free healthcare for people with low family income etc.

Malesh Yelappa, a resident of the Kushtagi taluk in the district of Koppal, who suffers from visual impairment, says, “These measures by the government will not mean much if the persons with disabilities do not have access to basic necessities. The subsidy of 1,000 rupees that we get for our treatment and well-being is not enough.”

Mahantesh adds, “What is necessary right now is to empower persons with disabilities to become self-employed. The RPwD Act of 2016 ensures the necessary rights for all persons with disabilities, but the individual district and city administrators have to ensure its implementation. The government should simplify the process of distribution of grants and make sure it reaches the last person in the society.”