Members of the Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights for All Types of Differently-Abled and Caregivers have written to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa protesting the implementation of a new government order for issuing identity cards to persons with disabilities. They have pointed the discrepancies between the actual provisions of the GO and its implementation in Chennai.
The main point of contention of the disability rights lobby is that while the GO has allowed certification of disability by doctors, including those in Primary Health Centres, practically, persons with disabilities are required to turn up at the State Resource and Training Centre to obtain their certificate. Different days have been allotted to different disabilities and depending on the nature of their disability, the applications have to present themselves at the venue.
While the original GO did not mention it, it has been made mandatory that the certificate also needs to be attested by a District Disabled Rehabilitation Officer to be valid. “This means the person has to go to the doctor for the certificate and then also get it attested by the DDRO for him or her to actually use the certificate. While the GO meant to make it easy for the disabled persons, we find that its implementation frustrates the policy,” S. Namburajan of TARATDAC says.
Another inconvenience is allotting different days for different disabilities. Currently, particular days are allotted for the disabled to get their certificate and it is issued within a day. The new GO allows doctors to take up to 30 days for issuing certificates. “So, the disabled have to come at least twice to get their certificates. Some of them have restricted mobility and this becomes inconvenient. We are not sure in this case what the position of those with multiple disabilities is. Do they have to go multiple times, or just once?” asks M. Sahadevan, president, Indian Foundation for Differently Abled.
Disability rights groups have also urged the government to clarify the term ‘obvious’ disability and all the categories it covers. They have also urged the State to include certain types of visual disability within this category. The ‘non-obvious’ disabilities would have to be certified by specialists in each category.