Legislation and Policy
Historically, persons with disabilities have been denied fundamental human and civil rights. It is a history marked by institutionalization, abuse and neglect. In India, the twentieth century signaled a turning point with the passage of PwD Act (1995), NT Act (1999), RCI Act (1992), Mental Health Act (1987); and ratification of international convention CRC. The twenty first century brought a paradigm shift in disability thinking by way of CRPD (2007) ratification; passage of RTI (2005) & RTE Act (2009); and the recent acceptance of Agenda 2030 – SDGs (2015). Despite the great strides toward expanding the rights of persons with disabilities, many obstacles still stand in the way of their living fully inclusive lives.
Swabhiman has been a part of all these movements to create rights based environment in India for persons with disabilities. Ensuring inclusion of priorities of persons with disabilities in the various policies and practices of GoO and GoI is another priority area.
The first draft of Chhattisgarh State disability Policy (2005), first policy by a state in India for disability, was written by Swabhiman. We contributed to National Policy for Women (2016 – ongoing), developed the draft of Odisha State Disability Policy (2016 - under consultation), were actively involved in drafting and regional/state/national consultations for The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill (2014), successfully advocated for inclusion of disability in Odisha State Youth Policy (2013) and drafted National Trust’s Vision Document (2009). We have also contributed to World Bank’s Report on disability (2007) and Odisha Primary Education Policy document (Vision 2020).
In policy level advocacy of our many achievements, significant was setting up of “Office of State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities”, “Directorate of Disability Affairs”, designation of a minister as “Minister Disability” and “Setting up of “Independent Department.” Under the dynamic leadership of Dr. Sruti Mohapatra, from 21 districts, more than 220 persons with disability, their family members and organizations assembled for a one day training and intense engagement which saw the formation of a Independent Disability Commission with a full time Disability Commissioner in Orissa on 27th of March 2010. This was United Voices for Disability Equity I. Similarly United Voices for Disability Equity II & III led to Directorate of Disability Affairs and Independent Department.
CRPD compliant budget analysis was carried out in many countries to assess and analyse state level and national level budget from a disability rights perspective. In India, in two states, Odisha and Tamilnadu, it was done and results became part of the parallel report on CRPD implementation in India. Swabhiman conducted the analysis of public expenditures including tax expenditures and public procurement, policy gaps, fiscal decentralization, and impact of disability related gate-keeping mechanisms. The costing component and deeper analysis of expenditures effectiveness will be carried out in a second phase.