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Rajya Sabha clears crucial Disabilities Bill unanimously
The Disability Bill has been passed by the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday, December 14, with a punishment provision for discriminating against differently abled persons or Divyangs. Now, the discrimination against differently abled persons can lead to a punishment consisting of two-year imprisonment and a maximum fine of Rs 5 lakhs.

The new bill, moved in Rajya Sabha recently by Social Justice Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot, draws its strength from the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The bill has been passed unanimously since the opposition benches favoured the immediate passage of the 'crucial legislation' with stipulated amendments to safeguard the rights of the persons with disability.

However, the issue about the authority to interpret the definition of disability, whether physical or mental such as speech impairment, language deficit, mental illness and intellectual capability was brought to the notice of the House. Consequently, it has been agreed to constitute a Medical Board to define disability.

The house was informed the bill now includes disabilities such as mental illness, autism spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and chronic neurological conditions.

Moreover, the office of chief commissioner and state commissioners for Persons with Disabilities will act as regulatory bodies.

It was demanded by the members of the Upper House that procedure for obtaining disability certificate needed to be simplified and eased out and all the vacancies against the quota of disabilities should be filled.

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