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  Home >> Mental Illness >>Mental Illness - NATIONAL DRAFT POLICY


Formulations from ACMI , Action For Mental Illness, Bangalore 

ANNEXURE I Amendments to PWD Act for Mental Illness

The responsibility towards persons with disabilities is unequivocally enshrined in our constitution. Article 41 of the Directive Principles of the State Policy, inter alia calls upon the State to make effective provisions for the welfare of persons with disabilities. Further the Persons with Disabilities  Act 1995 ( hereafter known as PWD Act 1995 ) outlines the official commitment to capitalize on the 2% human resources  of the Indian  population that constitutes the disabled census of our country.  “ The National  Policy on Disability is a response to the objectives enshrined in the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995 and is evolved to expedite the implementation of the Act through a synergy of action by all concerned stake holders, NGOs , govt. Departments and Agencies and the Private Corporate Sector as well”.  We endorse the principle of Special But Equal status of all disabled citizens of the Union Of India. We also believe in the principles of equal opportunities for disabled Indians in economic, civil and political domains of public life.  

The conceptual framework of rests on the triadic principles of   Rights / Needs / Care   as  the cornerstone of  our   National Policy on Disability. Appropriate distinctions between  Physical and Mental  Disabilities  shall be made through  systemic enablers of the Action Plan such that there is no discrimination amongst the disabled persons themselves.  The unique nature of each and every disability  within the framework of universal disabilities will be taken into account before formulating the Action plan.. Social variables like  poverty, rural setting,  besides gender issues shall be given importance in the Action Plan especially with regard to rehabilitation aspects.  

Care of the  disabled persons will include components of rehabilitation through appropriate technologies , facilities and services.   Above all, it shall include the safety and dignity of disabled persons especially for those whose natural care givers are no longer living .Accordingly, Self Help Group of disabled persons and their family care givers will be given adequate support and training to take care of life long issues.  

Performance standards , service accountability , minimum standards and norms , besides  monitoring quality will merit serious attention in the course of implementation.  Finally, in view of the rapid socio economic changes , growth of  science and technology especially in the field of  bio-medical research  besides changes in the size of the disabled population the policy shall provide enough scope for  review and amendment of the Act as and when the situation demands the same.  Click here to read the entire Act  

ANNEXURE II Amendments to PWD Act for Mental Illness

Introduction :

PWD Act was passed in 1995 – almost a decade of its life has been completed. Now that  MSJE is proposing to embark on a National Policy for Disability , it is but logical to review and make necessary amendments to the Act such that it reflects the spirit and vision enshrined in the said legislation. Secondly,  at the time of enactment of the PWD Act, awareness about the rights , needs and care of the MI persons was inadequate if not nil. Probably, the omission was largely due to the fact that NIMHANS , Bangalore was not among the empanelled institutes for expert advice. Nor did  representations from NGOs, Family Support and Self Help groups  caring for MI  persons was solicited. As a result, the Ministry was denied the benefit of   state of the art information about developments pertaining to the illness and disability of persons with MI. Perceptions of MI as MR or worse still MI persons as “lunatics” still dominates official thinking in many parts of the country. The resultant ignorance has led to a series of lacuna for the benefit of persons with MI especially when compared to the physically disabled persons. In certain provisions, one wonders if the Law itself  unwittingly denies equal opportunities to them. 


Facts about MI and disability :  

Probably, MI is the only mental disability wherein the illness and disability can co-exist , at times even overlapping each other. Hence it is significant to identify the major characteristics of the disabilities of MI persons. These may be broadly classified into Emotional ( capacity to express emotions appropriate  to the situation )  Social ( Interpersonal skills) and Cognitive ( such as attention span, memory and information uptake etc). Another interesting feature is the differences in degree and kind from person to person with respect to both illness profile and its disability fall outs. Hence , rehabilitation services and facilities have to be designed in a manner that suits the needs of the individuals. The complexity of the matter to a large extent is minimized by planning an appropriate treatment and rehabilitation regimen for the affected person; education for family members is a major part of this treatment package because a supportive family environment reduces relapse and increases periods of remission   as  a general rule.

Suggested Amendments, click here 

It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. --Charles Dudley Warner