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Govt set to bring private sec under new disability legislation

Govt set to bring private sec under new disability legislation

NEW DELHI: Malls, shopping complexes, private banks, and public transport will soon have to be made disabled-friendly by providing specially designed ramps and proper signages. In a landmark move, the government is all set to bring the private sector under the new disability legislation which will make it mandatory for all private companies providing public services or places with large footfalls to adapt their buildings to the disabled.

At present, making a building disabled-friendly is the prerogative of the government and is restricted to government buildings. However, the Centre has decided to include private establishments and entities for making their buildings accessible. The ministry of social justice plans to introduce the Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2014 in the winter session of Parliament to make accessibility a mandatory requirement under the law.

Speaking to ET, social justice and empowerment minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot said, "The Bill has already been scrutinized by the standing committee. We have incorporated the suggestions and it has been vetted by the law ministry. We will be ready to introduce and get it passed in Parliament in the winter session."

The legislation makes it mandatory for all private companies or entities providing public services or private offices frequented by many people to make their offices disabled-friendly. It also identifies dwarfism as a new disability. Though dwarfism is identified as a locomotor disability, including it as a disability in the present legislation will help the affected people get benefits of reservation in government jobs and education.

The bill seeks to replace the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995, which identifies seven disabilities. The proposed law has increased this number to cover about 20 conditions. It also addresses the issue of enhanced penalty for outraging the modesty of a woman with disability and termination of pregnancy after the consent of a guardian and medical practitioners.

This provision has provided safeguards to women with disability.

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