Disability rights groups welcome CPI-M manifesto

March 18th, 2009 - 6:43 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) Disability groups Wednesday hailed the Communist Party of India-Marxist election manifesto, saying the party was the first to recognise and address administrative issues on disability.
“We are pleased to see that there is a separate and distinct mention of differently abled people, under the chapter on ‘Peoples, Rights’ in the the CPI-M manifesto. We hope other parties especially the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party also focus on the cause of disabled people in their manifesto,” said Javed Abidi, convenor of Disability Rights Group.

In it’s manifesto, the CPI-M has promised the implementation of the Disabilities Act that will among other things provide “buildings, public places, transport, information and other avenues to be fully accessible and barrier free to people with disabilities” and aim at “implementing reservations provided for persons with disabilities in public sector employment, poverty alleviation programmes and education”.

The manifesto was indicative that disabled people are being considered important in the “vote bank”, said Abidi, who is also the director of National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People - an umbrella organisation of various NGOs and civil society organisations working on disability issues.

“After all they (disabled people) constitute five to six percent of India’s population. It must not be forgotten that it is not merely 60 to 70 million disabled people but 60 to 70 million households,” Abidi stressed.

“As far as we are concerned, we have circulated a note to all the major political parties highlighting our demands namely a separate ministry of disability affairs, existing ministries to be made responsible vis-a-vis disability issues and a minimum three percent of their total budget to be allocated for issues concerning disabled people,” Abidi said.

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