Dimapur, Dec. 6 (EMN): A study to assess the implementation of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act 2016 has revealed that Nagaland is in the bottom four from among the states and union territories considered for assessment.
According to the study conducted by Disability Rights India Foundation (DIRF), Nagaland is placed in 21st position with a score of 1 out 19 points from among 24 states and union territories. The state shares the spot with Andhra Pradesh while Andaman and Nicobar Islands and Jammu & Kashmir failed to score any points.
Madhya Pradesh and Odisha top in RPWD implementation with a score of 12 points, followed by Meghalaya with 11 points. Among the north-eastern states, Assam is in seventh position with a score of 6, while Manipur scored 5, and Tripura 4.
In the study, a total of 19 questions were sent out focusing on the rules, administrative structures, notifications, allocation of funds and reservations of persons with disabilities, which are the foundation for the implementation of the Act. It was found out that 58.3% of states have not notified the State Rules, which should have been done within six months after both the houses of the Parliament passed the RPWD Act on Dec. 16, 2016.
The government of Nagaland officially notified the RPWD Act on September 27, 2018.
There are 21 official languages but the Act has only been translated into two languages, viz., Hindi and Odiya. The National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) has translated the Act in nine languages, and also in sign language, out of its own initiative and with the support of state partners. About 50% of the states and union territories from which the responses were received have not yet constituted the State Advisory Boards (SAB) and 83.3% are yet to constitute District Committees.
The study has found out that there are no Commissioners for Persons with Disabilities in 37.5% of the states and not much progress even in states where the Commissioners have been appointed. Only three states (12.5%) have constituted Advisory Committees comprising of experts to assist the State Commissioner. It has also been found out that most states do not have state fund to implement the Act, nodal officer to look into admission of children with disabilities, and special courts in all districts.
As per the Act, every establishment (private and government) has to formulate an equal opportunity policy and register it with the Disability Commissioner but 91.7% of the respondent states do not have it in place. About 54.2% of the states have not made any provisions for increasing reservation in employment from 3% to 4% in the government and public sectors, and only one state has taken some action to increase the quantum of assistance (by at least 25%) for people with disabilities in social security schemes. Only 50% of the states have started issuing disability certificates pertaining to the new disabilities that have been added in the Act.
The study was conducted by DIRF in collaboration with NCPEDP and National Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (NCRPD), with support from Titan Company Limited.