Bill on rights for disabled will enable India meet SDGs

New Delhi, Dec 3 (IANS) A bill on the rights of the disabled that currently before parliament will enable India meet its obligations under the UN’s recently-adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) former minister and author Shashi Tharoor said on Thursday.

“This bill alone will fulfil the obligation India has freely undertaken under the UN convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. This will also replace the 1995 law which was passed about a decade before the UN convention and therefore is behind the times,” the Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram said.

He was speaking at a function here to launch the first graphic novel on disability and present the second NIPMAN Equal Opportunity Awards on World Disability Day here. The event was organised to create awareness about equal economic and educational opportunities for the disabled in India.

The bill “will also enable the country to meet the targets that we agreed to adopt under the Sustainable Development Roles of United Nations which talks about inclusive and equitable quality education and full and productive employment for all citizens of our country by 2030 irrespective of disabilities,” Tharoor noted.

“The government should have utilised the on-going winter session to deliberate and pass the bill in the Rajya Sabha. We need to help create the political will in our country to actually enable solutions and assistance for the differently abled,” he added.

Tharoor also spoke on the encouragement from the private sector for the differently abled, adding: the private sector “needs to realise that there is an enormous untapped potential waiting to explored”.

He also awarded Yum! Restaurants, along with IT major EMC Software and Solutions the NIPMAN Equal Opportunity Awards for their immense contribution in providing equal economic opportunities to People with Disability (PwDs).

“The Equal Opportunity Awards is an important step as in not only to recognize organizations that treat the differently abled equally but they also contribute to the very concept by actually encouraging others to do the same,” Tharoor said.

According to the 2011 census, there are about 26.8 million persons with disabilities in the country. Only about 49 percent are literate and only 50 percent are employable, while only 34 percent are employed.

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