MR. CHAIRMAN : Please conclude. You have already made three points. How many more points do you want to make?

SHRI TRILOCHAN KANUNGO : Sir, I am looking to you as my Adarsa. I am telling you that you are my ideal. (Interruptions).

Sir, in page 5 clause 11(1)(c), I do not want to close the door of the Central Government to give further finance to the Trust. Therefore, I have included that receive from the Central Government such sums as may be considered necessary in each financial year for "furtherance of any of the objects of the Trust." So, I do not want that the door of the Central Government should be closed to the Board.

Sir, these are my suggestions. I hope the hon. Minister will look into this.

Sir, last but not least, the guiding principle to me, I think, to everybody, will be, I quote the quotation of a blind saint of Orissa:

"Praninka Arata Dukha Apramita Dekhu-Dekhu Keba Sahu,

Mo jibana pachhe narke padithau jagata udhara heu"

This is the guiding principle of this Trust. I think nobody has understood it, because I received the verse in Oriya. I am just giving an English rendering of this quotation:

"Who will tolerate the suffering and deprivations of the people. They are many and various. Let my life go to hell. But let the world and people around it be safe and the sufferings be over."

That was a blind saint of the nineteenth century -BHIMA who uttered these words and, I think that will be the guiding principle of this Act. I hope this Act will give a good performance. I believe, I hope and I pray to God, let this Act be an Act of the millennium to show path in the future. This Act should not consist of any deficiency, any weakness in sofar as performance is concerned. This Act should be enacted in such a manner that in future it will give the best of results.

Sir, with these words, I conclude.

DR. RAM CHANDRA DOME (BIRBHUM): Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Sir. I must congratulate the Minister for bringing such a legislation, namely, the National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Bill, 1999.

Many things have been told by different speakers in this House. I would not repeat all those things and will be very brief.

In the Statement of Objects and Reasons, it is very rightly stated that while constituting the National Trust, the main objectives will be pre-emptive, pro-active and protectionist in nature. That is very much welcome. But our experience in the past is not matching with the objectives of this Bill. This Bill, though it is a welfare Bill, just to form a Trust for the most unprivileged segments of our society, should have come much earlier. But I must say that it is better late than never and that is why I congratulate the hon. Minister for bringing this Bill.

For disability of any kind, from medical point of view, there has to be some reason, particularly for the disabilities for which this law is going to be enacted, namely, autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and multiple disabilities. Though the medical factors in such cases may be genetic in nature, or may be mechanical injuries, or may be pre-natal or post-natal in nature, but I must say that all these are preventive in nature. If you compare the morbidity pattern of all these diseases in our country with other developed or even developing countries, you will see that the picture is very much grim here. It is completely related to the socio-economic standard of the particular nation. If the economic standard is high, the occurrence of disabilities due to all these diseases are less.

A survey made in our country shows that about 60 to 70 million people are disabled due to various causes. So, it is a very grim picture. We must not try to alleviate their sufferings only by having a welfare attitude. In this sort of things, particularly in the case of disabled persons, our attitude towards them is only sympathetic or compassionate. It is a welfare programme, but I must say that it should not be a welfare programme, it should be a part of the Plan programme not only of our nation but also of every nation.

The problem is not of the handful of the people in our society. Even there is a sensitive part in that problem. That is why I make this humble submission to the hon. Minister through you. All these things may not come within the purview of a particular Department. It is a comprehensive approach. Prevention of disease is not directly related to the Welfare Department. Unless we take appropriate action in our preventive programmes, particularly prevention of all these diseases and also in genetic counselling of these diseases, it will not help. These are very much necessary but are not available. That is why the prevention part should be taken care of.

Social economic standardisation is a broad parametre. Mental retardation is absolutely dependent on malnutrition. If you do not attend to that part and if you cry here for the mentally retarded persons, we cannot check this. You have to go to the root of the problem. Alleviation of malnutrition depends on alleviation of poverty and illiteracy which is a broader parametre. That should be taken into consideration because it is a responsibility of the Government, not of a Department only. That is why this is a comprehensive approach.

Finally, I must say that our objective is to give them an independent life. In that approach provision for education to the disabled persons of any kind as it suits them should be there upto the district level. Many of the speakers have expressed their concern that these provisions are not made even after 52 years of our Independence. Only crying is not the solution. Nowadays we have schools for the blind and deaf and dumb persons. But there are no schools for the mentally retarded and those suffering from cerebral palsy and multiple disabilities in our country. Opening of schools for them should be a Plan programme. The vocational courses should be there in them so that they can stand on their feet.

Sir, I am concluding in a minute. This is the last but not the least point.

The next point is the occupational part of it. Many speakers have already expressed their concern of not having any provision for employment for them. It is really in a mess. You take the statistics. Till today we have only one lakh disabled persons, in a population of 100 crore throughout the country, who have got the services. In these days, employment has been scuttled not only in the public sector but in the private sector also. Public sector has been dismantled due to the policy of the Government. The brunt of that has fallen on the disabled persons also. The employment opportunities for them are getting reduced. Providing employment to them should be mandatory and that should be monitored from the Central level.

There should be provision for compulsory employment for these disabled persons in the private sector also and suitable legislation should be made for that. ...(Interruptions)

SHRI ANADI SAHU (BERHAMPUR, ORISSA): Sir, there is the 1995 Act which deals with this.

19.00 hrs.

DR. RAM CHANDRA DOME : I was talking about private sector.

Sir, I am supporting this Bill. I do support it and since suggestions have already been made by other Members on different clauses of the Bill, I do not want to utter anything about them. I must say that the Government should have a political will, a social commitment to implement the programme which has been sought in the Statement of Objects and Reasons of the Bill. I hope, the Government will try to do that.

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THE MINISTER OF STATE OF THE MINISTRY OF SOCIAL JUSTICE AND EMPOWERMENT (SHRIMATI MANEKA GANDHI) : I would like to thank everybody who has taken such a sensitive part in the debate. This is, in reality, not my Bill but everyone's Bill who has contributed to it.

Before I begin, I would like to tell you a little bit about myself. When I became a Member of Parliament and Rs. 1 crore was the limit fixed for Members of Parliament - much before I became the Minister - I used to spend Rs. 10 lakh out of that on the disabled every year.

And a significant portion of my income, every month, has always gone to not only families, but also to the disabled, widows, people who have been ignored or hurt by life. I, therefore, asked for this Ministry, when I was given the Ministry. I feel very fortunate that I have been given this opportunity to be of some help.

Since I have entered the Ministry, I would like to tell you a little bit about how we have changed the Disability Division. We have four national institutes for the visually handicapped, the orthopaedically handicapped, the mentally handicapped, the hearing impaired, and two apex institutes, that is, IPH and NIRTHA. These are expert bodies in the field. Unfortunately, they did very little other than research or rehabilitation if you went to them. Therefore, they did not really achieve very much. I have started a special thrust towards outreach programmes, that is, to each constituency, to each District, so that the benefits and services can be reached to each District, to the doorstep of people with disability. If you would remember, I sent each one of you a letter also saying that if you are willing to take part in this, I would happily do camps for you. In fact, I have just returned from the hon. Deputy-Speaker's constituency after doing a camp.

Aids and appliances have been reached to about two lakh beneficiaries so far, in the last one year. This is more than was done in 50 years before that. Camps are being now organised every week. This is not just for the physically handicapped, that is, for legs or appliances for chairs, this is also for the visually handicapped, the hearing impaired. So, whatever you would like, in terms of whatever your constituency needs are, if you could inform me from time to time, I would be happy to help you.

When I entered this Ministry, ALIMCO, which is the apex company in this country for making limbs used to work at 44 per cent of its capacity, and was about fifteen crore rupees in the red and moving towards BIFR. Today, in one year, it is producing at 93 per cent of its capacity, and it has moved more than fifteen crore rupees into the black, which is a thirty per cent shift. I am happy to say that we have tied it up with American assistance, and we are in the process of modernisation of the limbs to make them cheaper and more applicable. It is one of the success stories of this Ministry. I would like to strengthen and modernise all the institutions and this process is going on. We are developing low-cost new technologies in the country with a lot of financial support from my Ministry.

Regarding the employment arena, this is as much a disappointment to me as it is to you, specially since being the Minister temporarily. I am at the receiving end of so many people who have no confidence and no hope in India, who come to me everyday and need jobs. Unfortunately, the mental and social barriers seem to me to be insurmountable.

I do not know whether I should say this or not, but the PWD Act is a very limited Act. It provides only for three per cent of reservation of jobs in Government. Even that, as you rightly pointed out, does not take place. Now, for the last one year, I have been trying to struggle with this Act. I will bring it in the next Session hopefully to make it stronger and to make it compulsory. I also have been going from department to department saying, "

* 100 , 50 10 *"

so that we can put ten new lives into the main stream of hope in this country. The PWD Act is being reviewed. It is just being readied to come before Parliament.

I have also started something new. One is the Special Exchanges. As you said, we have got a lot of people. We also have started rewarding those officers who have got the maximum number of jobs for the disabled. This year also, we rewarded several officers -- one each from Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat. They managed to get more than 50 per cent of them jobs, the people who were disabled and who applied to them for jobs, and, therefore, we have rewarded them.

I have also started a new thing and that is, I am giving money to the NGOs to start private Employment Exchanges. I would like to explain this to the hon. Members.

These would not be just Employment Exchanges. Suppose, I am a disabled person, I come to you and I say that I am a disabled person and I need a job. The normal Employment Exchanges just write down your name and say -


But what these Employment Exchanges would do is that they would ask them as to what do they want to do? What are they capable of doing and what do they feel they could do? Then, they would refer them to an NGO so that they could be trained. After they are trained for what they would like to do or what they feel they could do, the Employment Exchange, which is an NGO, would write to each company that they have got so and so in their rolls and they are trained to do this -- so that you are not doing them any favour -- and they are as good as anybody else. Please take them. We are in the process of setting up as many Employment Exchanges as we can to specially target placement of disabled people in the private sector. This is a new initiative.

Sir, the other Act which is under review is the RCI -- the Rehabilitation Council of India Act. When I took over this Ministry, the Rehabilitation Council of India was a body that met once a year and was something like a chat shop. People came and went away and lived happily. It was because the meeting was held in the India International Centre -

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What we have done is -- in spite of references being made about people who want their photographs to be taken, this point was made by the hon. Members -- that for the first time we have taken up the training of doctors and paramedics so that they are specialised in the art of treating or has the ability to treat the disabled. We have trained over 25,000 people in the last one year. We have brought in a number of courses and we have started recognising institutions really fast. Institutions used to wait for five to six years for recognition and nobody had the time to inspect the institutions for giving recognition to them. Now, there is an order to the effect that they would have to be inspected and if they are found capable, then within two weeks or maximum a month of applying, they have either to be recognised or rejected. But a decision has to be taken. We have registered hundreds of institutions and have been able to give them support for the training of the disabled.

Sir, the National Trust Bill is a pioneering step in providing social security and support to certain categories which need special support. Smt. Renuka Chowdhary had brought up the fact that a very few people understand these four categories. Many of the hon. Members have said that they should have vocational training and should have educational schools. These are four categories we have chosen where the persons have no ability to go to schools. They cannot have vocational training and that is why, we need special support structure. It is because they would never be able to earn and they would never be able to be educated. It is a different matter that I sit and read out to them or we put a special system like the one we have for Christopher Reev, who broke his leg and is paraplegic. He can walk. But that kind of a chair from abroad would cost Rs. 1 crore or maybe, Rs. 50 lakh or Rs. 30 lakh. These are four categories of people we have chosen who have very little options in life. So, the vocational and educational business does not apply at all. For them it is merely support services. Most families who have disabled persons of this category are completely crippled. As Shri Somnath Chatterjee said, they cannot go out; they cannot see films; they cannot leave their child alone, especially a girl child; and they cannot have any life of their own. Therefore, this is not meant so much for the child as it is meant to bring relief to everybody around the child who will love the child and love the adult. It is because they themselves do not feel stressed. It is designed to bring relief to the social system around the disabled persons. We have not included any physical disability within the ambit of this Bill because this is the worst sector.