Shri Prasanna Kumar Pincha writes to Hon’ble Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, on Social Audit of schemes and programmes as mandated under RPD Act, 2016.

To

The Hon’ble Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment,

Govt. of India,

Shastri Bhavan,

New Delhi

Dated 13th Feb, 2019

Subject: Social Audit of schemes and programmes as mandated under RPD Act, 2016.

Respected sir!

Warm greetings from New Delhi!

This is to impress upon you the need for taking appropriate and urgent action on a matter which has significant implications on the lives of persons with disabilities. I do sincerely hope that this communication of mine does not meet the same fate as its predecesors, i.e., my earlier communications containing my humble suggestions on important matters as they all went unresponded.

I am sure you will see eye to eye with me when I submit that the benign Govt. may agree or disabree; or for that matter, accept or reject any or all of my suggestions, but they certainly merit response. I do have an open mind; and, I am always willing to be convinced otherwise if there is good reason and solid justification for doing so. Likewise, I do hope that the govt. is also willing to be convinced about my submissions appreciating the merit inherent in them.

Sir! Having said as above, I wish to draw your kind attention to Section 48 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 which runs as follows:

48. The appropriate Government shall undertake social audit of all general schemes and programmes involving the persons with disabilities to ensure that the scheme and programmes do not have an adverse impact upon the persons with disabilities and need the requirements and concerns of persons with disabilities.

Sir! You may so kindly be pleased to appreciate that both the parent Act, i.e., the RPD Act, and also the central Govt. Rules framed thereunder are ominously silent about the modus operandi of Section 48; i.e., that is, neither the RPD Act nor the rules framed thereunder envisage any implementation mechanism with regard to this highly crucial and critical provision on social audit of schemes and programmes implemented by the govt. of India in general, and, by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities in particular for the benefit and well-being of persons with disabilities. The same goes in respect of the state Govts and the concerned departments. To my knowledge, even the corresponding rules of the state govts which have notified such rules also do not contain the modus operandi of the provision relating to social audit.

In the above view of the matter, I would suggest that the corresponding RPD rules be suitably amended in particular to devise appropriate and effective mechanism for implementing this important provision relating to social audit. The proposed mechanism should, inter alia, include the following: Modus operandi; details of eligible participants, periodicity, and follow-up action on the social audit report, ETC. All the state Govts must also be asked to follow suit. The primary stakeholders, i.e., persons with disabilities themselves must form integral part of social audit exercise.

I am putting this communication in the public domain in the fervent hope to generate constructive discussion and reflection of matters of this ilk.

With very warm regards,

Prasanna Kumar Pincha

Former Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities,

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment,

govt. of India, New Delhi.

Former chairperson

National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation, and Multiple Disabilities,

Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment,

Govt. of India, New Delhi.

Author: Deepa Palaniappan

Disability Inclusive Development practitioner (Bihar State Rural Livelihoods Mission, BRLPS India), passionate about strengthening data archiving/documentation capabilities of Disabled People's Organisations (DPOs) and community based initiatives.

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