Disability News India (DNI)
- Central Information Commission slaps Rs 25,000 fine on Government
- Autism father effect
- New two-rupee coin is confusing for the Visually Impaired
- Court comes to the rescue of visually Impaired
- Bus for disabled people
- A scheme for the visually impaired
- Health ministry offers hope for hearing-impaired
The Central Information Commission has slapped a Rs 25,000 fine on the
government and ordered compensation for a disabled civil service
candidate who had been deprived of a prestigious job despite clearing
The commission also wondered if the government's "inhuman" decision had something to do with a RTI request that Kumar Avikal Manu had filed.
The penalty was imposed by the commission in a stinging order on a public information officer at the Department of Personnel and Training this week for his failure to respond to Manu's request under the right to information law asking for the status of his appointment.
Manu had cleared the UPSC exams in 2004 but was never appointed, at the first instance presumably due to his disability. Manu moved under the RTI law last June but did not get a response.
Days after his case up for hearing at the CIC in December 2006, the commission's order noted, he was finally told that he could not be appointed "for want of the vacancy in any government department".
The DoPT action has "resulted in the deprivation of right to work/job of a physically handicapped person. This action is inhuman, besides being arbitrary and illogical," Information Commissioner Prof MM Ansari said, wondering if the denial was linked to his RTI application.
The compensation awarded to Manu would only run into a few thousand rupees. Javed Abidi, convenor of Disabled Rights Advocacy Group, however, hoped "the commission's order shames DoPT into taking some remedial action, for Manu and disabled as a whole".
"I find it unacceptable that the a disabled person qualifies the civil service and is then not given placement on one excuse or the other. It is gruesome," Abidi told HT. The CIC also spoke of victimisation.
"Unfortunately, the information-seeker has been victimisedEIs it because he resorted to the provision of the RTI Act for seeking information about the allotment of cadre?," Ansari asked, throwing out explanations for the six-month delay put forth by DoPT.
Three disabled candidates were last year allotted a service at the intervention of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh; Manu's name did not figure in this list either.
The commission also ordered compensation, equivalent to the salary and allowances already paid to the last candidate from his date of appointment till December 21 2006; when Manu was informed that there was no vacancy for him.
Source: The Hindustan Times
New Delhi, Jan. 24: In the first study of the genetics of autism in
India, scientists in Calcutta have found that some fathers may
transfer a version of a gene that makes their children susceptible to
The researchers at the Manovikas Biomedical Research and Diagnostic Centre and other city institutions have found what they describe as a "possible paternal effect" that may underlie susceptibility to autism ? a brain disorder marked by unusual behaviour and lack of communication abilities.
The scientists caution that their finding is based on a small sample of autistic children and will need to be verified through larger studies. "We don't want anyone to jump to conclusions about a paternal role in autism, but this study raises issues that need to be explored further," said Swagata Sinha, a psychiatrist at the Manovikas Centre and a member of the research team.
"We're seeking clues to unravel the cause of autism ? this is important for science and for parents with autistic children. Every parent wants to know the exact cause. And, at the moment, we have no answer to give them," Sinha told The Telegraph.
The findings have been published this month in the journal American Journal of Medical Genetics: Neuropsychiatric Genetics.
Medical researchers have long suspected that autism is a multiple gene disorder with several genes and perhaps other unknown factors in the environment leading to the disorder.
"But it is also a highly heritable disorder ? it can run in families," said Usha Rajamma, a geneticist and principal investigator in the study.
The Calcutta researchers analysed sequences of a gene called reelin ina group of 73 autistic children and 80 children with no neurologicaldisorders as well as their parents who volunteered for the study.
Six years ago, scientists in Italy had shown that reelin may have a role in susceptibility to autism.
"The reelin gene is known to play a role in the development of thebrain and has been suspected to be a candidate gene involved inautism," Rajamma said.
When Rajamma and her colleagues analysed reelin sequences in a group of 58 autistic children and their parents, they detected what they have described as "significant paternal transmission" of a particular variant of reelin.
"The reelin variant we've observed is very common in India, but byitself, it does not lead to autism," Rajamma said. Autism is a multi-factor disorder and only when the right combination of all the susceptibility genes and the environmental factors are present does a person get autism, she said.
While there are no statistics from India, international studies suggest that 1 in 500 to 1 in 1,000 people have autism, indicating that India may have nearly two million autistic persons.
Source: The Telegraph
The new two rupee coin introduced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI),
in December 2006, is causing a lot of hardship for the visually
challenged. The new stainless steel coin can be easily mistaken for a
one rupee coin, as it is round in shape and does not have sharper
edges like the old two rupee coin.
The new coin has the number '2' boldly embossed on one side and a symbol for 'Unity in Diversity' on the other.
Earlier, one could easily make out the difference between the one and two rupee coin on the basis of their edges ? one rupee coin had round edges while the two rupee coin had uneven edges. In many cases, when even people with normal eyesight have transacted the two rupee coin thinking it to be one rupee coin; the blind population is suitably upset with the use of this new coin becoming more common.
"Although the new coin is slightly bigger in size, there is negligible difference in the new two rupee coin and the one rupee coin. Even the general public gets confused, so we are bound to be," said Himanshu Kejriwal, a visually impaired bank employee.
"Anything that limits the independence of an individual is a sure no no," says Kanchan Pamnani, a visually impaired law practitioner. She added that the visually impaired have to pay Rs 1 in buses and trains as fair, all over India. Hence, it is likely that the visually challenged may give away a two rupee coin instead of a one rupee coin. When handed the new two rupee coin, Shanti Gawde, a blind woman who sells pass covers at Andheri Station said in disbelief, "No it can't be, I think you have given me a one rupee coin".
An RBI Spokesperson said, "While designing the coin this is kept in mind. The figure two is more sharply embossed on the new coin than it was in the old one. This ought to be an enabling factor". She added that the visually impaired persons are more alert and sensitive than the general public, so even if normal people get confused, the blind will not.
"We have started expressing our discontent through protest mails to the RBI and the feeling seems to be widespread all around the country," said Kejriwal.
The RBI, however, thinks that these are initial reactions. "We will wait for some more feedback and if the protest intensifies, we will consider taking some action in due course", the spokesperson added. "At this stage it is not really an agitation, we are requesting the RBI to stop the circulation of these coins. But if no action is taken, at a later stage we may think of moving the court", Pamnani said. DNAINDIA
NEW DELHI: In a rare departure from norms, the Supreme Court has asked
the Punjab and Haryana High Court, to examine afresh the plea of a
visually challenged ex-serviceman who filed a petition claiming
disability pension even though his service was terminated 23 years
ago. Though in normal circumstances under the ''doctrine of delays and
laches,'' courts do not entertain such petitions after the three-year
limitation period, the apex court asked the High Court to examine the
victim's plea in view of peculiar circumstances surrounding the case.
The petitioner Shiv Dass, who was enrolled with the Army Medical
Corps, Lucknow, from 1965 was relieved from service in 1983 after he
lost 80 per cent of his sight due to certain illness .
In the same year, Das claimed a disability pension from the authorities but it was rejected by the Chief Controller of Defence Accounts (pension), Allahabad. Das claimed he had subsequently filed an appeal before the appellate authority but did not receive any reply all these years forcing him to file a petition in 2005 in the state High Court which was however, dismissed. The High Court rejected his petition under the doctrine of delay and laches as it was filed more than two decades after his original claim was rejected by the authorities. In the apex court, Das took the plea that he had waited for long for the reply from the appellate authorities and hence cannot be faulted for the delay in filing the petition. - PTI
Source:Hindu, Jan 24, 2007
The transport department will run 10 low-floor buses in the city from
February 1 for the benefit of the disabled people.
Each bus, costing Rs 18 lakh, will seat 44 people and offer standing room to about 52 passengers.
The doors will be automatic and will permit wheelchairs to be rolled in and out.
The buses will initially touch BBD Bag, Chittaranjan Avenue, Sealdah, Rashbehari Avenue, Gariahat, Maniktala and the airport.
"We have shortlisted some busy routes for the initial run. The aim is to provide the maximum benefit to office-goers. We will later operate similar buses on other routes, too," said principal secretary of the department Sumantra Chowdhury.
The welfare department had called for the launch of low-floor buses about a year ago. Many states have already started running such buses. "The buses are designed keeping in mind the needs of the physically-challenged. Ordinary people, too, can enjoy the comfort of these special buses," added Chowdhury.
Calcutta State Transport Corporation (CSTC) will initially buy 10 low-floor buses from Tata Motors. More buses will be bought if the project turns out to be a success.
"The transport department will monitor the service. It will see to it that the buses serve the purpose for which they have been acquired," said a senior official of the department.
Transport minister Subhas Chakraborty is expected to inaugurate the service in January-end, said CSTC managing director Asok Bhattacharya.
After the launch of low-floor buses, the transport department will concentrate on revamping the service of the airconditioned 'white line' buses.
NEW DELHI: The Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) here has
approved a scheme of financial assistance to the visually impaired
teachers of the University.
All those teachers and academics who have been appointed under the visually impaired scheme are eligible for the assistance, said IGNOU Vice-Chancellor V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai.
The quantum of assistance has been pegged at Rs. 12,000 per annum that may be used for payment to reader, purchase of Braille books and equipment for research, teaching and learning.
NEW DELHI: It's a physical ailment that affects one out of every 12
Indians but has been long ignored.
Now, the Union health ministry has decided to address the menace of
deafness. India, where 25,000 children are born deaf every year, is
launching its first national programme for prevention and control of
With nearly 6.3% of the population suffering from progressive and acute hearing loss, the year-long pilot phase of the national programme will kick off this week in 25 districts across 12 states.
The ministry plans to train one ENT surgeon, audiologist and two doctors in a public and private hospital of each district under the programme. An ENT department will also be started in every district hospital coming under the pilot phase.
Over 40 doctors from primary district health centres will also be taught to identify, treat and refer patients with signs of progressive deafness. Experts say if diagnosed on time, 50% of the deafness cases can be prevented. Speaking to TOI, Dr A K Agarwal, dean of Maulana Azad Medical College, said,"The first major survey undertaken by ICMR in the late 1970s, in four cities ? Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram ? found the prevalence of hearing loss to be 10.8% in rural and 6.8% in urban India. WHO then put the deafness figure at 6.3% of the Indian population. The national programme will immensely help in lowering the cases. Deafness is never reported till it becomes acute."
According to Agarwal, a perforated eardrum hole or rupture in the eardrum, a thin membrane that separates the ear canal and the middle ear, is the most common in India followed by presbiacusis ? hearing loss caused due to ageing when the inner ear cells get damaged.
The pilot phase will be implemented by the Rehabilitation Council of India which aims to train over one lakh healthcare personnel from the district to grassroots level about prevention, promotion, early identification and rehabilitation of all types of ear diseases leading to deafness.
Source: The Times of India, 23 Jan 07Back to top