Saturday, December 30, 2017

My disability activism in 2017

#YearInReview: My humble steps in disability advocacy in 2017. 12 months, around 60 mentions in media/newspaper articles(as far as I could recollect), a few successes, many struggles, but I hope it helped in sensitisation on disability issues which otherwise remain out of view of mainstream media.Quite a few of the successful efforts never made it any media report but they helped someone.

"मै एक मज़दूर हूँ। जिस दिन कुछ लिख न लूँ, उस दिन मुझे रोटी खाने का कोई हक नहीं।" ~ मुंशी # प्रेमचंद  

January 2017

1. The Wire. Rights Activists Seek Action Against DDA Vice-Chairman For Insulting Disabled Officer. 13 Jan 2017.

2.The Better India. Here’s how hospitals are trying to improve accessibility for visually impaired patients.

3.The Hindu. DDA asks official to rejoin ‘if he wishes’. 14 Jan 2017.‘if-he-wishes’/article17038570.ece

Feburary 2017

4.The Wire. Budget Has Little to Offer Persons with Disabilities. 2 Feb 2017

5.Dainik Jagran. Pyar hai (Man mein bas gayi who muskan) 11 Feb 2017

6.Times of India. No physiatrist in PGI since 2009. 16 Feb 2017

7.The Wire. Disability Activists and EC Work to Make Assembly Polls More Accessible. 21 Feb 2017

8.The Hindu. Vigyan Bhawan, AIIMS, Feroz Shah Kotla… can’t go anywhere. 27 Feb 2017

March 2017

9.IMPACT: The Hindu. AIIMS, PNB admit gaps in inclusive accessibility. 2 Mar 2017.

10.The Wire. When It Comes to Rehabilitation Facilities, India’s Medical Community Remains Grossly Lacking. 4 Mar 2017

11.Pallium India. No Rehabilitation Facilities in majority of the states. 8 Mar 2017.

12.The Wire. Disability Activists Slam Regressive Clause in New Act That Allows Discrimination. 24 Mar 2017

13.IMPACT: The Wire. Only Specifically Trained Doctors to Treat Children with Disabilities, Says MCI. 29 Mar 2017

April 2017

14.The Pioneer. Activists express concern over gaping loopholes. 11 Apr 2017

15.Navbharat Times. 'दिव्यांगों के अधिकार' से जुडे़ कानून के नियमों पर विवाद 14 Apr 2017

16.The Lancet. Accounting for polio survivors in the post-polio world. 15 April 2017

17.NDTV. Access is right of people with disabilities. 18 Apr 2017

18.The Wire. UP Minister Could Become First to Be Tried Under New Disability Law. 21 Apr 2017

19.Times of India. Delhi University doctor stands up for UP government employee’s rights. 23 Apr 2017

20.The Wire. Activists Slam Modi Government’s Plan for Central University for Persons with Disabilities. 27 Apr 2017

May 2017

21.Times of India. Activists against ‘exclusive’ varsity. 1 MAY 2017

22.Singh S. Perseverance Pays. In:  Halder, S and Assaf, L (Eds.), Inclusion, Disability and Culture: an Ethnographic Approach Traversing Abilities and Challenges. Springer; 2017 (in press). ISBN 978-3-319-55223-1

June 2017

23.The Wire. Disability Activist Slams Termination of New Recruit Over Partial Visual Impairment. 7 Jun 2017

24.Foreword in ‘Defying Deviance’ (Handbook on Sexuality and Disability) by Raajendra Maurya of Cross the hurdles.

25.The Wire. Para-Athlete’s Ordeal a Reminder of How Disabled-Unfriendly the Railways Is. 12 Jun 2017

26.The Pioneer. Activists term tax cut on divyang devices eyewash. 22 Jun 2017

27. National Herald. GST: Jaitley’s tax on physical disability raises eyebrows. 29 Jun 2017.

July 2017

28.IMPACT: Times of India. HC asks railways why it’s insensitive to plight of disabled.8 Jul 2017

29.The Economic Times. Government claim on GST benefit on disability aids incorrect, misleading: Disability organisations. 10 Jul 2017

30.The Hindu. ‘Colour blindness shouldn’t kill dream of being a doctor’. 17 Jul 2017

31.The Pioneer. PMR depts still non-existent or scanty 30 Jul 2017

August 2017

32.Times of India. Poor facilities for disabled at station: Tweet prompts probe. 13 Aug 2017

33.The Wire. Despite Clear Guidelines, University Denies Medical Course Admission to Student with Disability 31 Aug 2017

September 2017

34.Indian Express. At Teachers’ Day event, no ramp for differently abled to reach stage. 6 Sept 2017

IMPACT: Access audit ordered by DEPwD

35.The Wire. Student Who Fought Muscular Dystrophy to Become MD May Lose Government Job to Colour Blindness. 18 Sept 2017

October 2017

36.Indian Express. Delhi govt hospitals have no physical medicine and rehab department, reveals RTI. 12 Oct 2017.

37.The Wire. Bureau of Civil Aviation and Security Allows for X-Ray Scanning for PwDs as Measure of Last Resort. 13 Oct 2017

38.Times of India. Student with blood disorder to wait longer for MBBS seat as university challenges HC order. 24 Oct 2017

November 2017

39.Times of India. Delhi’s UT status coming in way of disability rights.

December 2017

40.India Today. Indian doctor honoured with disability service award in US. 5 Dec 2017

41.Business Standard. Indian doctor honoured with disability service award in US. 5 Dec 2017

42.NDTV. Doctor Who Helped People with Disabilities In 2014 Election Wins Prestigious US Award. 5 Dec 2017

43.Punjab Kesari. अमेरिका में भारतीय डॉक्टर को विकलांगता सेवा पुरस्कार 5 Dec 2017

44.NRI Khabar. Indian Doctor Received Disability Service Award in USA. 6 Dec 2017

45.Times of India. Disability Rights Activist awarded in US. 7 Dec 2017

46.Medical Dialogues. First: UCMS Physiology Associate Professor honoured with disability service award in US. 7 Dec 2017

47.Dainik Bhaskar. दिव्यांगों की बेहतरी के लिए अमेरिका में सम्मानित 9 Dec 2017

48.Prabhat Khabar. Dhanbad: 3 साल की बिटिया के लिए सुमित ने छेड़ी जंग, सीएम ने दिव्यांग बच्ची को दिलाया सम्मान 9 Dec 2017

49.Newz Hook. Indian disabled right activist gets prestigious award in the United States.

50.IMPACT: दैनिक आवाज़: डि-नोबिली में हुआ नामांकन, मुख्यमंत्री रघुवर दास ने कहा- झारखण्ड की बेटी 10 Dec 2017

51.Youth Ki Awaaz. How Twitter Advocacy Led to The School Admission of a Child With Disability. 11 Dec 2017.

52.Viscardi Center. 2017 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards

53.Global Accessibility News. 2017 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards Announced.

54.Youth Ki Awaaz. Nine Leaders in Global Disability Sector Receive 2017 Henry Viscardi Achievement Award. 11 Dec 2017

55.The Island Now. Viscardi Center honors 9 leaders with achievement awards. 12 Dec 2017

56. Navbharat Times. अमेरिका में भारतीय डॉक्टर को मिला दिव्यांग सेवा पुरस्कार

57.Reflective MedEd. Be the Light – A Chanukah (and Medical Education) Reflection. 14 Dec 2017

58.Business Standard. Disability activist Dr Satendra Singh is putting up a good fight. 22 Dec 2017

59.Indian Express. Haj guidelines say lunatic and cripple, show bias: Activists. 28 Dec 2017

60.Youth Ki Awaaz. This New ‘Rule’ Prohibits Academic Research On Persons With Disabilities. 29 Dec 2017.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Twitter Advocacy Led to Admission of a Child with Disability #जीत_जीतिशा_की

Impact of Twitter Advocacy
Nothing can be as gratifying as the 'thank you' on phone from the three-year old little Jitisha. The happiness of Sumit Khaitan and his wife was palpable as they called me. Special mention to Mr Deepak Ambastha, Editor of Awaz with whom I was in touch constantly as we fought for the right of Jitisha to get admission into DeNobili, CMRI, Dhanbad.. Thank you Hon'ble minister of Jharkhand Raghubar Das ji for swift action. Hope the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities Rules 2017 will be drafted and implemented soon by the Govt.

This is the best gift on the #HumanRightsDay as we mark 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration of Human Rights #UDHR today. Article 26 of the UDHR clearly states that 'Everyone has the right to education.' The most significant human right treaty for the people with disabilities (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) #UNCRPD also mentions our rights in article 5 (Equality and non-discrimination) and article 7 (Children with disabilities).

Read full coverage on my post on Youth ki Awaaz

अमेरिका में भारतीय डॉक्टर को विकलांगता सेवा पुरस्कार

Dainik Bhaskar

न्यूयॉर्क। शारीरिक रूप से अशक्त लोगों के अधिकारों को लेकर जागरूकता फैलाने और उनकी जीवन की गुणवत्ता सुधारने के लिए एक भारतीय डॉक्टर एवं विकलांगता अधिकार कार्यकर्ता को मंगलवार को अमेरिका में प्रतिष्ठित हेनरी विस्कार्डी अचीवमेंट अवॉर्ड दिया गया। 40 साल के डॉ. सत्येन्द्र सिंह नई दिल्ली स्थित यूनिवर्सिटी कॉलेज ऑफ मेडिकल साइंसेज में फिजियोलॉजी (शरीर विज्ञान) के एसोसिएट प्रोफेसर हैं। वे यह सम्मान हासिल करने वाले पहले भारतीय हैं। यह अंतरराष्ट्रीय पुरस्कार पहली बार मार्च 2013 में दिया गया था। विस्कार्डी सेंटर ने एक बयान में कहा कि अमेरिकी विकलांगता अधिकार नेता और विस्कार्डी सेंटर एवं न्यूयॉर्क के हेनरी विस्कार्डी सेंटर के अध्यक्ष एवं मुख्य कार्यकारी जॉन डी केंप ने पुरस्कार दिए।

2014 के भारतीय लोकसभा चुनाव को शारीरिक रूप से अशक्त लोगों के लिए सुगम्य बनाने में महत्वपूर्ण भूमिका निभाने वाले सिंह ने कहा कि मैं यह पुरस्कार दुनियाभर में भेदभाव से लड़ रहे शारीरिक रूप से अशक्त हर व्यक्ति के दृढ़ संकल्प को समर्पित करता हूं। मुझे यहां अमेरिका में यह पुरस्कार हासिल करते समय अपने सीने पर भारतीय झंडे का बैज लगाते हुए बेहद गर्व महसूस हुआ। (भाषा)


2017 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards Announced

NEW YORK, NY: The Viscardi Center — an Albertson-based non-profit organization providing a lifespan of services that educate, employ, and empower people with disabilities — announced nine recipients of the 2017 Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards at a special ceremony held on December 4 at the Mutual of America building in New York City.

First bestowed in 2013, the awards honor exemplary leaders in the disability community who, through the example of their professional accomplishments and advocacy efforts, are reshaping societal perceptions and making significant changes in the quality of life of people with disabilities.
Drawing nominations from cities throughout the U.S. and countries around the world, this year’s cohort are an accomplished and diverse group representing Bangladesh, India, Israel, Pakistan, South Africa, and the United States. Recipients come from a variety of distinguished backgrounds, including academia, healthcare, sports, government, technology, non-profit, and corporate sectors.
“Tonight, we recognize nine individuals from around the globe who we believe not only motivate all of us to reach higher, but who are today’s leaders, mentors, and role models for their peers and our next generations,” said John D. Kemp, President and CEO of The Viscardi Center. “These individuals have been catalysts for change and are making a positive impact on how people with disabilities view themselves and the world.”
The Henry Viscardi Achievements Awards were established to commemorate the vision of the Center’s founder, Dr. Henry Viscardi, Jr., who himself wore prosthetic legs. As a premier disability advocate, he served as an advisor to eight presidents, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to Jimmy Carter, and implemented groundbreaking employment and education programs for people with disabilities.
The 2017 Selection Committee was co-chaired for the fifth consecutive year by Robert Dole, former U.S. Senator, along with Sherwood “Woody” Goldberg, Esq., retired U.S. Army Colonel and current Senior Advisor for Asian Affairs at the Center for Naval Analysis.
The 2017 Award Recipients

Vashkar Bhattacharjee, Access to Information (a2i) Program, Bangladesh

Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, Ministry of Social Development, South Africa

Justin Constantine, The Constantine Group, New York, NY

Col. Gregory D. Gadson, U.S Army Veteran/Patriot Strategies, Alexandria, VA

Matt King, Facebook, Menlo Park, CA

Dr. Satendra Singh, University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi, India

Yuval Wagner, Access Israel, Israel

Thomas J. Wlodkowski, Comcast, Philadelphia, PA

Asim Zafar, Saaya Association/Community Based Inclusive Development Network, Pakistan

For more information, go to

Doctor Who Helped People With Disabilities In 2014 Election Wins Prestigious US Award

Dr Satendra Singh, 40, has become the first Indian to get the international award.
The Henry Viscardi Achievement Awards, first bestowed in 2013, recognise exemplary leaders within the disability community and their extraordinary societal contributions, while remembering the spirit and legacy of The Viscardi Center's founder, Dr Henry Viscardi, Jr, who himself wore prosthetic legs.

"I dedicate this award to the perseverance and the resilience of each and every person with disability around the globe who is fighting discrimination," Dr Singh told news agency Press Trust of India.

He has become the first Indian to get the international award.

Full report at:

As a first Indian Satendra Singh received Henry Viscardi Achievement Award

New Delhi: A Delhi University doctor and disability rights activist was honoured on Tuesday with the prestigious Henry Viscardi Achievement Award in the US for raising awareness and improving the quality of life of people with disabilities. Dr Satendra Singh, associate professor of physiology at the University College of Medical Sciences in New Delhi, become the first Indian to get the international award which was first bestowed in March 2013 in the US.

John D Kemp, the American disability rights leader and the president and chief executive of the Viscardi centre and the Henry Viscardi School in New York gave away the awards. Singh, who played an integral role in making India's 2014 general elections in New Delhi accessible to people with disabilities, said: "I dedicate this award to the perseverance and the resilience of each and every person with disability around the globe who is fighting discrimination. I felt very proud to sport the Indian flag badge on my chest while receiving the award here in the US."

The Viscardi awards are given to exemplary leaders within the disability community and their extraordinary contributions to the society.

Source: Times of India, 7 Dec 2017

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Thalassemic student to wait longer for MBBS seat as University challenges HC order

23 June: Candidate cleared the NEET exam
06 July: Name included in PwD Category
16 July: Status of the candidate changed from the general category to PwD category
23 July: Participated in the first round of counseling
12 Aug: Participated in the second round of counseling (Still, his name did not appear)
18 Aug: SC granted MBBS admission to Sruchi Rathore, a similarly placed candidate with thalassemia, without subjecting to counseling
26 Aug: Petition filed in Delhi High Court
27 Aug: Participated in the third round of counseling (Mop Up round) 
31 Aug: Last date of counseling as per SC order
19 Sept: Judgment delivered to grant him MBBS seat in any of the three colleges of IP Univ.

TOI News dated 24 Oct 2017

NEW DELHI: For an 18-year-old suffering from thalassaemia, a September 19 Delhi high court judgment was no less than a blessing. After all, his struggle to secure admission to an MBBS course in any of the three colleges of Indraprashta University had finally been given legal sanctity.

But to his shock, the university chose to challenge the order before a larger bench. The student's father says the struggle is far from over even though his son's medical condition has been recognised under a law that safeguards the rights of disabled people.

The law he is referring to here is the newly notified Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, which now includes 21 disabilities (including thalassaemia) as opposed to seven in the earlier Act. The new law, which has also increased the reservation of seats for people with disability from 3% to 5%, was notified on April 19, 2017.

In March 2017, the student had applied for the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) under the general category. On realising that the new Act including the blood disorder as a disability had been notified, the student made a representation to change his category from general to people with disabilities (PwD) before the university on July 5 — after his NEET result was out.

He sat for two consecutive counselling sessions — on July 23 and August 12. "If he had not made it in the first round itself, why was he allowed to sit for a second round of counselling?" he asks.

HC judge Indermeet Kaur, had in the judgment, recorded that IP University's argument — that on August 9, 2017, it had notified that all seats that had remained vacant in the PwD or physically handicapped category were reverted to the parent category — did not hold water. "The status of the PWD/PH category had not changed. The additional affidavit of respondent No. 1 (IP University) reflecting the status of seats in their medical colleges on August 12 reflected no category of PWD/PH. Why and how was the petitioner permitted participation in this counselling when there was no such category available with them, is not answered," the judgment states.

And despite his win before the single judge, the youngster is now anxious about the division bench's judgment slated to come out on November 9.

As a disability rights activist points out, this is the first case from Delhi where a thalassaemic is trying to secure admission to an MBBS course under the disability quota. "It can set a precedent, if he is given admission," says Dr Satendra Singh, a doctor with disability at University College of Medical Sciences and a disability rights activist .

Singh claims none of the MCI committees have doctors with disabilities. "I have myself petitioned the ministry of social justice and empowerment regarding this. One of the past secretaries of department of empowerment of PwD was a medical doctor, but there has been no action. The MCI's outdated curriculum treats disability as a purely medical issue, instead of a human rights issue," he asserts.

The student's father, on the other hand, believes that if aspiring medical practitioners like his son are encouraged, they could treat patients with similar disorders in a better manner as they recognise the same hardships.

While the IP university's joint registrar Dr Nitin Malik chose to not comment on the issue, saying it was sub-judice, MCI joint secretary Dr Rajendra Wabale referred to the process of regulation of admissions under the PwD category, saying a disability committee was set up and was scheduled to submit a related report before an executive committee on Wednesday.

"The report will then go to the general body," he said, suggesting that only then a decision on such admissions would be taken. Wabale, however, chose not to comment on the student's case, saying it was sub-judice.


#Thalassemia #DisabilityAct 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

UP Minister Could Become First to Be Tried Under New Disability Law

A complaint against a minister in the Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, who had publicly ridiculed a disabled employee during a surprise visit to an office in Lucknow, could become the first to be covered by the new disability law, which came into effect on Thursday (April 20).

Delhi-based disability rights activist Satendra Singh filed the case under Section 92(a) of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016:
  “...whoever intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a person with disability in any place within public view” shall be “punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years and with fine”.

Singh also pointed out that the incident occurred in Lucknow in the same month when a person with disability was elected president in another country. Lenin Moreno, who is a wheelchair user, was elected president of Ecuador on April 2. 

Read the full report at The Wire here.

Another report by TOI

New Disability Law: Doctor files case against UP Minister

NEW DELHI: A Delhi University doctor associated with the University College of Medical Science (UCMS) on Thursday filed the first case under the new disability law against Uttar Pradesh minister of khadi and village industries, Satyadev Pachauri for publicly ridiculing a disabled employee.

Dr Satendra Singh lodged a complaint with the state commissioner for persons with disabilities in Lucknow, under Section 92 (a) of the Rights of Persons with Disability Act 2016. In his complaint, Singh, a disability rights activist, alleged that Pachauri humiliated a Class IV employee during his visit to an office in Lucknow on April 19.    


According to Singh, "Section 92 (a) of the Disability Act states that anyone who intentionally insults or intimidates with intent to humiliate a person with disability in any place within public view shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years with fine."
In his complaint, Singh attached five media reports, including visual links from private news channels about the incident. "The minister ridiculed the entire (disabled) community, and as a disabled person and a resident of Uttar Pradesh, I am pursuing this case," said Singh.

On whether action can be taken on the minister under the new disability law, Singh didn't sound too optimistic. "As I said earlier, we will have to see what this new law has to offer. We all know it's a paper tiger," he added.

Pachauri, during his visit to the Khadi and Village Industries Board office in Lucknow on April 19 found that over one-third of the employees were absent. After ordering a day's salary cut, he started counting the number of staffers present.

While taking count of the employees, he questioned a disabled Class IV staff whether he was a permanent employee. When the disabled employee told Pachauri that he was a contractual staffer, the minister turned towards the chief executive officer and said: "Lulay langdon ko samvida par rakh liya hai, yeh kya kaam karega." (You have kept those suffering from disability of the limbs on contract, what work will he do).

Times of India: 23 April 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

'दिव्यांगों के अधिकार' से जुडे़ कानून के नियमों पर विवाद

पीएम नरेंद्र मोदी ने दिव्यांगों को उनका सम्मान और गरिमा देने के मकसद से संसद के पिछले शीतकालीन सत्र में आनन फानन में 'दिव्यांगों के अधिकार' से जुड़ा बिल पास करा कर उसके कानून की शक्ल तो दे दी, लेकिन जब उसकी कानून के नियमों को बनाने की बात आई तो उसमें ऐसे नियमों काे रखा जा रहा है, जो दिव्यांगों की मदद करने की बजाय उनके लिए अवरोध की वजह बन सकते हैं। जिसे लेकर दिव्यांगों से जुड़े तमाम स्टेक होल्डर्स के बीच से विरोध हो रहा है। हालांकि, विरोध के बाद हाल ही में इसके एक नियम में बदलाव किया।
उल्लेखनीय है कि गत 10 मार्च को सरकार ने इस कानून से जुडे़ नियमों का ड्राफ्ट पब्लिक डोमेन में डालकर आम जनता व स्टेक होल्डर्स के बीच रायशुमारी की कवायद की। एक महीने के भीतर लोगों को अपनी राय देनी थी। लेकिन इन नियमों के ड्राफ्ट को लेकर कई पक्षों से विरोध व आपत्तियां सामने आने लगीं। इन ड्राफ्ट में जिन तीन मुद्दों पर खासा विरोध और विवाद है, वह कानून की नियम 3(3) को लेकर है, जो दिव्यांगों के साथ होने वाले भेदभाव से जुड़ा है।
अधिकार से जुडा़ कानून कहता है कि किसी भी दिव्यांग के साथ दिव्यांगता को लेकर भेदभाव नहीं किया जा सकता, लेकिन इस धारा में कहा गया है कि कानूनी या उचित मकसद का हवाला देकर दिव्यांग काे किसी अधिकार या सुविधा से मना भी किया जा सकता है। नियमों में जुड़े ड्राफ्ट में इस धारा में सिर्फ सरकार को शामिल किया गया था, जबकि प्राइवेट को इससे बाहर रखा गया था। इसी मुद्दे को लेकर स्टेक होल्डर्स की ओर से खासा विरोध हुआ। उनका कहना था कि यह दिव्यांगों के साथ भेदभाव या सुविधा से जुड़ा मुद्दा सिर्फ सरकार से जुड़ा ही नहीं होना चाहिए, प्राइवेट संस्थानों में इसे लागू होना चाहिए। दरअसल, स्टेक होल्डर्स का मानना है कि इससे कहीं न कहीं प्राइवेट पक्षों को बचने का रास्ता मिलता है।
उल्लेखनीय है कि इस कानून के बनने के बाद सामाजिक अधिकारिता मंत्रालय ने कानून के नियमों को बनाने के लिए मंत्रालय के सीनियर अधिकारी की अध्यक्षता में एक चार सदस्यीय कमिटी का गठन किया था। इसी कमिटी ने ने कानून से नियमों का ड्राफ्ट तैयार किया। जिसे रायशुमारी के लिए पब्लिक डोमेन में डाला गया था। सूत्रों के मुताबिक, इसके नियम 3(3) को लेकर सामने आए विरोध व विवाद के बाद कमिटि ने इसमें बदलाव करते हुए इस नियम में प्राइवेट संस्थानों को शामिल कर लिया। गुरुवार को कमिटि की हुई मीटिंग में यह फैसला लिया गया।
इस नियमों में पक्षकारों और दिव्यांगों के अधकारों के लिए काम कर रही संस्थाओं की आपत्ति दिव्यांगों की सहज पहुंच या एक्सेसिबिलिटी से जुड़े नियम को लेकर भी है। नियम में कहा गया है कि किसी भी बिल्डिंग को बनाते समय दिव्यांगों की सुविधा का ख्याल रखते समय बिल्डिंग बाइलाॅज की गाइडलाइन काे आधार माना जाए। जबकि दिव्यांगों के लिए काम कर रहे लोगों को कहना है कि बिल्डिंग बाइलाॅज की गाइडलाइन नैशनल बिल्डिंग कोड के स्टैंडर्ड को माना जाए। इन लोगों का तर्क है कि हर राज्य में बिल्डिंग बाइलाॅज अलग-अलग हो सकते हैं, लेकिन नैशनल बिल्डिंग कोड एक ही होगा। इस बारे में जीटीबी हॉस्पिटल के असोसिएट प्रफेसर डॉ सतेंद्र सिंह का कहना था कि इस अाधार पर विकलांगो के हितों को बेहतर तरीके से देखा जा सकता है।
इतना ही नहीं तमाम पक्षकारों का मानना है कि दिव्यांगता विभाग के चीफ कमिश्नर को स्वायत्त शक्तियां दी जाएं। दरअसल, कानून में उसे अडवाइजरी पावर दी गई हैं। इन लोगों का मानना है कि चीफ कमिश्नर के साथ अडवाइजरी पावर का लेबल चिपका कर उसे एक कागजी शेर बना दिया गया है।

~ मंजरी चतुर्वेदी, नवभारत टाइम्स १५ अप्रैल २०१७

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Activists slams discriminatory clause in new Disability Act

The Wire reports that the contentious clause allows establishments to discriminate against persons with disabilities if there is a “legitimate aim”.

Even before it has been implemented, the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2016, which was notified by the parliament in the winter session, has run into a major controversy with the primary stakeholders – persons with disabilities – questioning the clause that allows establishments to discriminate against them provided there is a “legitimate aim” and for taking the private sector out of the purview of the Act. Moreover, while the Centre had promised to address the issue while framing the rules under the Act, the same has not been reflected in the draft rules circulated earlier this month.
Read the complete story here.

Activists express concern over gaping loopholes in RPwD Rules

    Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules 2017

Source: The Pioneer 11 April 2017

Sunday, February 26, 2017

No Rehabilitation Medicine specialist (Physiatrist) HoD in PGI Chandigarh since 2009

 No Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (Physiatrist) specialist HoD in PGI Chandigarh since 2009

If you have suffered from a stroke and need proper rehabilitation, PGI is not your place of care, as there is no physical medicine and medical rehabilitation specialist (PMR)­ HoD physiatrist since 2009. There is an orthopaedician instead. What kind of wheelchair or braces is required can only be recommended by a physiatrist, say experts.

 In fact, the institute had placed an advertisement for the post of professor in the PMR department on April 24 last year and changed the recruitment rules. These rules allowed orthopaedicians with less experience in PMR to join.The recruitment rules were changed after four months on August 6 and the advertisement was withdrawn subsequently .

PGI is not only disabled-unfriendly institute, the rehabilitation services for the disabled has been compromised with new recruitment rules which were accepted in 2016. “There are few physiatrists with requisite experience required all over the country . I had applied for the post of the professor and despite the fact that there was no other such specialists who had over 14 years of experience as I had, the post was left vacant,“ said professor V S Gogia, Dr Ram Manohar Lohia Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow.

As per the MCI and the UPSC rules (a copy of which is with the TOI), which the AIIMS follows, priority is given to a physiatrist with an experience of 14 years. However, if the specialist is not available, MD in surgery , orthopaedics or medicine may apply with same years of experience in PMR. The PGI's new advertisement has relaxed six years for non PMR, while for a qualified PMR, the experience remains 14 years for the post of professor.

Recently , a health activist based in New Delhi, Dr Satendra Singh, had been invited by the Ministry of health and family welfare (GNCTD) after he proposed setting up of a department of physical medicine and medical rehabilitation in all government colleges in Delhi. “The institute in its advertisement has equated physiotherapist with a PMR. The recruitment rules have been reshaped, which is against MCI norms and smacks of vested interests,“ said Dr Satendra. However, PGI officiating director Dr Subash Varma said, “These recruitment rules have been changed before I occupied this post. Even AIIMS has the same rules as we have."
Times of India, Chandigarh, 16 Feb 2017

Following my Facebook post where I wrote an open letter to Health Minister on the neglect of Rehabilitation services in the PGI Chandigarh, TOI Chandigarh carried the above story and also highlighted how there advertisement equated paramedical physiotherapists with MD/DNB Physiatrists. Full letter is reproduced below:

An Open Letter to Health Minister on the PMR mess at PGI
Shri J.P.Nadda ji
The Honorable Health Minister
Government of India
New Delhi

Rehabilitation is a process aimed at enabling persons with disabilities to attain and maintain optimal, physical, sensory, intellectual, psychological environmental or social function levels. At the outset, I declare that I have no conflict of interest. I am a MD Physiology and have no relation to Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation (PMR) or Orthopedic specialty. However, as a doctor with disability and a disability rights activist, I have petitioned State Commissioner (Disabilities), to direct Health Department of the Govt of the Delhi to instruct Medical Directors of the three hospitals under them to set up PMR department at the earliest. I have also written to Medical Council of India (MCI) to start Disability Medicine in medical curriculum and petitioned National Human Rights Commission on the accessibility of medical institutions in the Country.

The Department of PMR at PGIMER Chandigarh was created in 2008 to fulfill the Institute’s mandate of providing skilled manpower in this medical specialty, besides catering to the Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and patients of functionally debilitating conditions from north India in the PGIMER catchment areas. This had become necessary after, in the back-drop of Persons with Disabilities Act 1995, India became one of the signatories to United Nations Conventions on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (#UNCRPD) and it became a duty of the state to provide Rehabilitation Services to PwDs.

In March 2009, then Professor & Head of the Department repatriated back to his parent Institute (All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Delhi). The Department of PMR at PGIMER has been under part-time, care-taker Head of the department since April 2009. The incumbent part-time, care-taker head of the Department is neither a PMR specialist nor has any previous PMR experience. The department therefore is without full time PMR Specialist HoD since April 2009 and has reduced to just a glorified physiotherapy service only. Even Neurology dept at PGI has been referring patients to PMR Dept of CMC Ludhiana.

The Court of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities has earlier instructed MCI vide CCPD No.9-3/CCD/2007 dated 15 May 2008 that “doctors not trained on rehabilitation should restrict their treatment of children with disabilities to their medical illness/disease or else action be initiated against such practices under relevant section of MCI.”

The interviews were held for the post of Professor of PMR in 2015 and 2016 but the only candidate having the required PMR qualification and requisite experience was not selected. Moreover, the faculty recruitment rules were changed during the recruitment process last August, as the post was withdrawn (06 October 2016) and re-advertised (07 October 2016) incorporating arbitrary and illogical eligibility criteria against MCI norms for non-PMR specialists.

In the new recruitment rules, for faculty in PMR, MS (Orthopedics) was also added as one of the eligibility qualifications. The experience criteria for MS (Ortho) candidates were also relaxed. A PMR Specialist needs to have 14, 10, 6 and 3 years of experience for the posts of Professor, Additional Professor, Associate Professor and Assistant Professor in PMR respectively, while a non-PMR Specialist (read MS Orthopedics) candidate needs only 8, 5, 3 and 2 years of experience in PMR out of 14, 10, 6 and 3 years for the same posts.

In fact, AIIMS Delhi, UPSC and MCl of India require 2 years of additional PMR training for non-PMR specialists (MS Orthopedics, MD General Medicine, MS General Surgery) to be considered for PMR faculty/consultant posts.

With the passage of the new Disability Act, it has become all the more important that strong PMR Dept be there to cater to the obligations of the state as provided under the RPWD Act 2016 and Article 25,26 of the UNCRPD. It is therefore requested to revive the rehab services at PGI Chandigarh by:
a) Appointing a full time PMR Specialist as Professor and Head of the Department; and
If at all the PMR faculty recruitment rules are to be revisited and modified, the inputs should be from PMR Specialists in other National Institutes (AIIMS/JIPMER/NIMHANS)/medical colleges with PMR teaching departments, and Doctors with Disabilities.

#Disability #CRPD #RPWD #Rehabilitation #Physiatry #PMR