Earlier in the year, it was the Tamil Nadu government’s tabled bill that allowed deaf, mute and persons affected with leprosy to contest in elections for the posts of village panchayat ward councillors, district and union ward councillors. Before that, the state’s legislation prevented persons with disabilities to contest the elections. Now following the directives of the Government of India on the legislation of 2016, that directed all the states and union territories to give 4% reservations to persons with disabilities, the latest move for inclusion and representation comes from Rajasthan.
Following the petition in this regard filed by Hemant Bhai Goyal, the national vice-president of Divyang Adhikar Mahasangh, Rajasthan, the government of the state has taken steps to ensure 4% reservation for persons with disabilities (PwDs) in Panchayati raj and other local body elections. In a letter to the principal secretaries of all states and union territories, the director of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) KVS Rao, stated, “I am directed to forward herewith a copy of the representation received from Hemant Bhai Goyal, deputy chairperson, Divyang Adhikar Mahasangh Rajasthan, which is self-explanatory for appropriate action.”
It further added, “You are requested to look into the matter and action deemed appropriate may be taken to address these issues raised by the applicant. Action in this regard may be intimated directly to the applicant.”
After amendments in the Rajasthan Municipal Act, now it has become mandatory to keep one post vacant for PwDs in all urban local bodies. The state government had amended the act to introduce this provision of nominating PwDs to the ULBs as members, making it the first in the country.