Success Story:  Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs)

Success Story: Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs)

December 2016 stands as a landmark month in India’s disability sector history. The persistent efforts of various NGOs culminated in a significant achievement: the enactment of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act by the Indian Parliament. This act, aligning with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, marked a profound shift in empowering individuals with disabilities across the nation.

CORD, as an integral part of the National Disability Network (NDN), was instrumental in this advocacy, engaging with multiple stakeholders, including Members of Parliament. Despite challenges, including adjournments in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, their determination remained steadfast.

The National Disability Network’s members tirelessly advocated with local Members of Parliament, contributing significantly to the act’s realization. The RPwD Act of 2016 not only replaced the earlier Persons with Disabilities Act of 1995 but also expanded its coverage from seven to 21 types of disabilities, embracing a more inclusive approach.

This act signifies a paradigm shift towards a rights-based framework, empowering people with disabilities in India. According to the 2011 census, 2.21% of the Indian population had some form of disability, a number that is likely to increase under the act’s broader definition. This legislation enables people with disabilities to contribute significantly to India’s development and policy-making.

The enactment of the RPwD Act of 2016 has been a game-changer, fostering substantial improvements in the disability sector. It illustrates the impact of collective advocacy and the power of policy in transforming lives, paving the way for a more inclusive and equitable society.