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Parliament passes Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2014, with Lok Sabha giving its nod to the Legislation

When the electronic voting was done, 121 members voted against the amendment in comparison to 43 members who favoured it

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Parliament,, Wikimedia

New Delhi, Dec 16, 2016: Parliament on Friday passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014, with the Lok Sabha giving its nod to the legislation. It was the first bill in the winter session to be passed amid comparative bonhomie between the government and the opposition in both houses.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi was present in the Lok Sabha as the bill was passed on the last day of the session.

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The bill, which replaces the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, has been brought in to comply with the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which India signed in 2007.

The legislation was pending in the Rajya Sabha since February 2014 as the term of the erstwhile UPA government ended soon after the bill was introduced. It was passed by the upper house earlier this week.

Piloting the bill in the lower house, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot said the bill will increase reservations for the disabled persons to 4 per cent.

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“There will be 21 categories instead of seven earlier to cover all disabilities. Medical and education facilities are also given. No Divyangs (disabled) will be left out,” he said.

Most Congress members, including the party leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, were missing from the house as the bill was tabled as they went for a meeting with President Pranab Mukherjee on the demonetisation issue.

Congress member K.C. Venugopal, who was present in the house and participated in the debate, also used it as an opportunity to speak on demonetisation.

“Since 16th (November) we are trying to discuss the issue of demonetisation, but government is not interested,” he said.

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He then welcomed the bill but highlighted the the draft legislation did not compel private firms to give reservation to disabled persons, and it only said this should be done if it is economically viable.

As the bill was taken up for passage, amendments brought by opposition members were defeated one after the other.

However, in one of the amendments, Congress members insisted for a division.

When the electronic voting was done, 121 members voted against the amendment in comparison to 43 members who favoured it.

However, the giant screens in the Lok Sabha which were supposed to display the members’ votes according to the seating plan faced a malfunction, and could not display the result.

This was used by the opposition as an opportunity to take a dig at the ruling party.

As the Prime Minister was sitting in the house, members from the Congress said that “Digital India has failed”, and “it failed in front of Mr. Digital”.

Another member from the opposition benches said: “It’s condition has become like an ATM.”

The bill was finally passed by voice vote, soon after which the house was adjourned sine die. (IANS)

Next Story

Ukraine’s New Leader Gets Sworn In, Immediately Dissolves Parliament

The 41-year-old Zelenskiy had upended the traditions of Ukrainian politics

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Ukraine's New Leader, Parliament
Ukrainian President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy greets supporters before inauguration ceremony in Kyiv, Ukraine, May 20, 2019. VOA

Ukrainian TV star Volodymyr Zelenskiy was sworn in as the country’s new president on Monday, promised to stop the war in the country’s east against Russian-backed separatists and immediately disbanded parliament, which he has branded as a group only interested in self-enrichment.

Even before he disbanded the Supreme Rada, which had been one of his campaign promises, the 41-year-old Zelenskiy had upended the traditions of Ukrainian politics.

He ditched the idea of a traditional motorcade to his inauguration, walking to the parliament through a park packed with people. Flanked by four bodyguards, he was giving high-fives to some spectators and even stopped to take a selfie with one of them.

Before he made the announcement, Zelenskiy asked the Supreme Rada to adopt a bill against illegal enrichment and support his motions to fire the country’s defense minister, the head of the Ukrainian Security Service and the Prosecutor General. All of them are allies of former President Petro Poroshenko, who lost the presidential election in a landslide to the comedian with no previous political experience.

Ukraine's New Leader, Parliament
Ukrainian TV star Volodymyr Zelenskiy was sworn in as the country’s new president on Monday. Flickr

In a feisty speech after his inauguration, Zelenskiy told the Rada that his main goal for the presidency is to bring peace to eastern Ukraine, where government troops have been fighting Russia-backed separatists for five years.

“I’m ready to do everything so that our heroes don’t die there,” he said. “I’m ready to lose my popularity and, if necessary, I’m ready to lose my post so that we have peace.”

Zelenskiy garnered 73% of the vote at the presidential election last month in a victory that reflected Ukrainians’ exhaustion with politics-as-usual. For years, he has played the Ukrainian president in a popular television show.

The new president wrapped up his speech at parliament by referring to his career as a comedian.

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“Throughout all of my life, I tried to do everything to make Ukrainians laugh,” he said with a smile. “In the next five years I will do everything so that Ukrainians don’t cry.” (VOA)