New rules guarantee rights of differently-abled persons

Kathmandu, August 23

The government has issued ‘Rules Relating to Rights of Persons with Disabilities-2020’, under the Act Relating to Rights of Persons with Disabilities-2017, to facilitate differently-abled persons to enjoy their constitutional and legal rights.

The rules make it mandatory for the concerned authorities to provide differently-abled persons with assistive devices free of cost as per the nature and condition of their disability. Assistive devices include stylus, slate, braille paper, braille memo, braille displayer, screen reading software, white cane, light indicator, object indicator, wheelchair, crutch, walker, special chair, prosthetic legs and hands, diaper air cushion, special commode, audio induction loop system, infrared system, frequency modulation system, communication access real time translation, automatic speech recognition, magnifying glass, air mattress and jelly cushion.

As per the rules published in the Nepal Gazette on August 17, the government shall make necessary arrangements for distributing assistive devices to the beneficiaries through concerned local level.

The rules stipulate provision of providing community support service to the persons with complete disability (‘A’ category) and severe disability (‘B’ category). ‘ A’ category and ‘B’ category persons have been included under red and blue colour ID card holders.

Complete disability involves a condition where there is difficulty in carrying out daily activities even with continuous assistance and support of others while severe disability is the condition of having to continuously take other people’s assistance to carry out individual daily activities and take part in social activities.

“The community support services like personal assistant free of cost shall help them for their daily needs. They shall also be entitled to clinical counselling, referral service and peer counselling service” read the rules.

As per the rules, differently-abled persons will also enjoy 50 per cent discount in transport fare on the basis of their ID cards.

The rules also stipulate a provision of providing scholarship to the children of differently-abled persons, while making arrangements of special protection for women and children with disabilities.

“Persons with disabilities shall be entitled to free education with residential facility, skill development training, financial package, loan from banks and financial institutions for operating business, reservation in government offices, free health service, rehabilitation and social security allowance,” read the rules.

Earlier, the National Human Rights Commission had urged all three levels of the government to specify their obligations to protect the rights of persons with disabilities clearly in their laws and ensure an environment that would enable them to lead a dignified life.

It had also urged the government to ensure participation of disabled persons in policy-making and development activities without any discrimination.

Other recommendations included promotion of compulsory rehabilitation programme, distribution of assistive devices to persons with complete and severe disability; issuance of disability identity cards; investigation into the alleged misuse of identity cards, which is exclusively meant for persons with disabilities; transformation of existing public vehicles into disabled-friendly design; issuance of driving licences to persons with disabilities; ending violence against women and girls with disabilities, who have been subjected to sexual violence, rape and domestic violence, divorce and social ostracism and ensure the means of livelihood.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 24, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.