Consensus Paper

Part V: Capability Development

In this segment the sub-groups deliberations on socio-economic rights have been recorded. In relation to education; employment and social security this document informs what the broad substantive structure of the chapters in the new law would look like and especially zeroes in on issues on which the full Committee needs to deliberate.

In converting the base documents into the proposed chapter the sub-group was alert to the need to include within the legislations those principles which need to have the force of law. Those suggestions which require flexibility of operation have been segregated as the policy recommendations of the Committee.

The sub-group has also not included in the chapter those detailed suggestions which should be incorporated in the rules and regulations but should not find place in the legislation. The reason for doing so is that very often these details need to be in accordance with local conditions hence it is not appropriate to mention them in a uniform central legislation. The other reason is that often these details need to be changed frequently. Since rules and regulations are easier to amend than legislations it is considered more appropriate to induct these matters of detail in rules and regulations.

This segment primarily addresses those rights which are traditionally categorized as socio-economic rights. Programmatic interventions are the way in which these rights are generally realized. Programmatic interventions are by their nature flexible whereas rights are concepts of non negotiability; in order to ensure that the law does not dilute the non-negotiability of the rights the sub-group has opted for the devise of mandatory programs to address these entitlements. The strategy of mandatory programs has also been used to ensure the positive component of civil political rights.

Education

The sub-group on education has settled the following broad format for the chapter on education.

The first part of this chapter shall outline the significance of the right to education. In order to underscore the importance of education in the life of persons with disabilities, the legal text shall draw upon the principles stated in Art 24(1) of CRPD supplemented with the jurisprudence developed by the Indian Supreme Court. The text shall be so formulated that it brings out the point that only if an educational intervention achieves for the person with disability the outcome specified in article 24 (1) of the CRPD can the educational intervention be considered as a fulfillment of the right to education.

The chapter shall next lay down that persons with disabilities must be guaranteed the right to education on an equal basis with others without being discriminated on the ground of disability.

The sub-group next requires that there is governance and values parity between the education chapter and the RTEA. This strategy has been proposed by the sub-group to ensure that irrespective of which way the amendment to the RTEA goes persons with disabilities are not short changed. Also whatever aspects of education are addressed by the new law there is no compromise on the issue of standards; quality; participative functioning.

The group also decided that the non ambitious nature of the amendments in the RTEA needed to be questioned and at a very minimum the CRPD definition of discrimination on the ground of disability and reasonable accommodation needs to find place in the RTEA.

The sub-group was in agreement on the need for equality of opportunity in Higher education and how affirmative action measures such as reservations and scholarships and assistive devices needed to continue. In the wake of the decision on definitions the Committee would need to consider whether link between entitlements and enumeration of disabilities needed to be made in this chapter? If yes then which disabilities other than ones identified for reservation in employment should find mention?

The sub-group may also wish to examine the various suggestions which have come from civil society in the 29th Sep-1st Oct and make their recommendations for the consideration of the full Committee.

(Those suggestions have been outlined in the Minutes of that meeting).

This suggestion of the sub-group has primarily come from the insight that most discussions around the education rights of persons with disability were informed by the deficit perspective towards disability. Persons with disabilities were not seen as integral members of the humanity who bring their own perspective to knowledge creation, dissemination etc. As a result of that discussion the suggestion for establishing an Education Reform Commission was made. In order to stress upon the immediacy of the task and to employ the terms of reference of this Commission to influence the existing approach on the Education Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the sub-group decided to both set up the Commission in the existing law and to specify its broad terms of reference.

In execution of the sub-groups mandate the following first research effort is being presented for the consideration of the Committee: