08-04-2009, to Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment

No. 32-79/2008-Disability Division III, dated 08-05-2009

 No. 6-24/2009-DD-IV dated 02-06-2009, from MSJE

This is with regard to your letter No. 32-79/2008-DD.III dated 12 January 2009 as response to our RTI query dated 16 December 2008. The responses given do not answer the questions posed, so I am restating the questions in greater detail. Kindly provide separate answers to each, unless the questions are identical.

Question 1 Does the UN Convention for Rights of Persons with Disabilities apply to persons with autism?

As per UNCRPD, persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation ion society on an equal basis with others. The UNCRPD does not mention any particular disability. However, the definition of Autism is included under National Trust Act, 1999. Suggestion received for defining Autism under the PWD Act, 1995 is under consideration.

 With reference to your application dated 08-04-2009 and this Ministry's letter No. No. 32-79/2008-Disability Division III, dated 08-05-2009. It is informed that the question No.2 pertains to PWD Act, 1995 and the section concerned i.e. DD-III Section has already replied to you vide their letter dated 8the May, 2009, a copy of which is enclosed for ready reference.

Question 2. The current PWD Act does not include  Autism as a disability. What are the steps the government is taking to bring the PWD Act in consonance with the above mentioned UN Convention, and in how much time will this exercise be completed. Please note that since India is bound by the terms of the Convention, compliance is mandatory.

There was a nationwide consultation with stakeholders regarding amendment to The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. The provisions of the UNCRPD are also being kept in view. The suggestions have been compiled and are being examined. No time frame has been fixed for completion of the exercise, though it is a priority matter.


Questions 3 to 5 pertain to setting-up of a independent monitoring mechanism in compliance to the abovesaid UN convention. Information was sought on whether such an independent monitoring mechanism was set-up. Your answer does not address this question at all. Please tell us what steps have been taken towards setting up such a mechanism.

Question 6 asks if the mechanism is not yet established by which date it will so be established.

Question 7 asks for the next date of meeting of the body if established.

 This Ministry is the nodal Ministry for implementation and monitoring of the UNCRPD.

This Ministry is monitoring the progress and implementation of the United Nation Convention on Rights for Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)

All State Governments and UT Administrations have been requested by this Ministry to bring the provisions of the Convention and the resultant obligations to the notice of all concerned, especially Government Departments, District Collectors and Local Bodies, for suitable action. It has been requested that NGOs and the civil society, in general should be associated in the effort to empower persons with disabilities.

All the Ministries/Departments of the Central Government, including attached and subordinate offices and autonomous organizations have been advised that their offices under their administrative control, should ensure expeditious implementation of the provisions of the Convention in so far as it concerns them including through appropriate laws, rules and orders etc.


Question 8 asks names of members from the civil society who are part of the monitoring mechanism.

An independent monitoring mechanism has not yet been established. However, the National Human Rights Commission. New Delhi has Suo Moto taken up monitoring.


Question 9 and 10 asks, related to your letter dated 8 December 2003, F.No. 16-117/2003-DD.III from the M/oSJ&E which states "A considerate view has been taken that the list of disabilities considered under the PWD Act, 1995 should not be expanded, as doing so would shift attention and resources away from those whose need is greatest." The question was "on what basis do you compare disabilities to decide which disability has greater need", which remained unanswered in your response. Please provide the factual basis on which you decide which disability has greater needs.

Suggestions have been received for expanding the list of disabilities under the PWD Act, 1995, which are under consideration in the Ministry. Decision on inclusion of more disabilities or amending the coverage of existing categories of disabilities can only be taken after consultation with concerned Central and State Governments/ Ministries/ Departments, all other stakeholders, including persons with disabilities and organizations working for their empowerment. Disability experts and medical experts are also consulted. Legal advice is also taken.