PwDs and COVID-19
- 28 Mar 2020
- 2 min read
Why in News
- The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has issued “Comprehensive Disability Inclusive Guidelines” to States and Union territories.
- This is for the protection and safety of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) in light of Pandemic COVID19.
- Due to lockdown, persons with disabilities, who depend on caregivers for their daily needs, are suffering.
- However, the government has announced cash transfers to diableds under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
- Section 8 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 guarantees equal protection and safety for persons with disabilities in human emergencies and natural disasters.
- The Government of India has declared the situation arising out of COVID 19 as a National Disaster.
- In September 2019, National Disaster Management Authority, Union Ministry of Home Affairs issued National Disaster Management Guidelines on Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction (DiDRR).
Highlights from the Guidelines
- Training: All persons responsible for handling emergency response services should be trained on
- the rights of persons with disabilities.
- the risks associated with additional problems for persons having specific impairments.
- Ensuring Essentials to PwDs: All states and UTs should ensure services like caregiver support, supplies and medical aid at the doorstep of PwDs.
- It is sought that caregivers should be allowed to reach PwDs by exempting them from restrictions during lockdown or providing passes in a simplified manner on priority.
- Helpline Number: States should set-up 24x7 helplines for persons with disabilities.
- Information: All video-graphic awareness material related to COVID 19 should be with subtitles and there should be sign language interpretation for persons with hearing impairment.
- For Resolving Disability Specific Issues: The states should make the State Commissioner for PwDs the nodal officer to resolve disability specific issues during the crisis period.