The Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry has invited public feedback on the new draft national policy on persons with disabilities (PwD). The draft policy proposes interventions in disability prevention, education, healthcare, social security and accessibility.

The policy has been drafted by a committee headed by Anjali Bhawra, secretary of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (PwD).


The existing policy of 2006

  • The existing National Policy for Persons with Disabilities was adopted in 2006.
  • Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is the nodal agency to coordinate all matters relating to the implementation of the Policy.
  • The policy seeks to —
      • recognise that PwDs are valuable human resource for the country and
      • create an environment that provides them equal opportunities, protection of their rights and full participation in society.


What was the need to draft a new policy?

  • The new policy has been drawn in keeping with the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 and the vision of the National Education Policy 2020.
  • Also, a revision was required as the existing policy was drafted in 2006, after which India signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in 2007.


What are the new proposals?

  • Focus on diversified causes of disability
      • The draft said the current national programme on prevention of disabilities focused on traditional causes.
      • However, there were other causes of disability, such as malnourishment, medical negligence, socio-cultural factors and impairment caused by disasters.
  • Cross Disability Early Intervention Centres
      • Research findings show that one-third of disabilities in children are preventable if detected early.
      • Hence, the new draft Policy calls for developing a network of ‘Cross Disability Early Intervention Centres’ (CDEICs) in every district of the country.
      • The policy lays out broad roadmap for developing CDEICs to provide facilities like screening and identification and referral for rehabilitative services.
  • Comprehensive National Programme
      • The new policy emphasises that a comprehensive national programme on prevention of disability should be developed.
      • This will take care of the entire gamut of disabilities covered under the RPwD Act 2016.
      • It will also cover other medical conditions which are considered as risk cases that may manifest into any form of disability.
  • Educational Institutions
      • The States and UTs should add a provision on compliance with the RPwD Act 2016 when granting permission or recognition to educational institutions.
      • A module on disability should be included in MBBS and other medical courses.
  • More accessible vehicles
      • The draft policy said that the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways will issue necessary guidelines for making modification in the personal vehicles being used by persons with disabilities as per requirement.
      • This is to make vehicles more accessible.