Tribune News Service
Shimla, December 2
On the eve of the International Day for Persons with Disabilities, the Umang Foundation, an NGO that works for the empowerment of the disabled, has urged Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur to make provision for free education to disabled students up to university level as per the judgement of the High Court delivered on June 4, 2015.
The foundation has also pressed the need to prepare a state policy for persons with disability. Chairman, Umang Foundation, Ajai Srivastava, who is also a member of the HP State Advisory Board on Disability, sent a letter to the Chief Minister and Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Rajiv Saizal, requesting them to adhere to the judgement.
In this judgment, the division Bench of justices Rajiv Sharma and Tarlok Singh Chauhan had linked education of the disabled persons with the right to life and directed the state to provide free education to them up to university level in all courses, including professional and vocational.
But only the state Universities had complied with the court verdict. Disabled students of schools, ITIs, polytechnics, medical and engineering colleges and nursing colleges are still deprived of their right to get free education.
He said, “It was mandatory to evolve a new State Policy for Persons with Disabilities in accordance with the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. The old disability policy under the act of 1995 has no relevance now. The proposed policy should focus on education, employment and self-employment of the disabled persons”.
Ajai Srivastava said the Central Advisory Board on Disability was doing a good job while the similar state board; constituted under the chairmanship of the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment more than one-and-half years ago, had yet to start its work.
He reminded the Chief Minister about his announcement to establish accessible libraries in schools and colleges; where visually impaired and other disabled students were studying on the HP University pattern, where he himself had inaugurated the facility for the blind and other disabled.