Government is in the process of bringing a new bill in the ongoing budget session to include dyslexia and autism as disability and increase the number of categories under the Diabilities Act from seven to 19, Rajya Sabha was informed on Thursday.
"Dyslexia is not included in the categorised diabilities under the Act. We have prepared a new draft bill where the number of disability categories are being sought to be increased from the present seven to 19. This will include dyslexia, down syndrome, autism etc.
"An Inter-Ministerial sub-group has been set up under the chairmanship of Home Minister Rajnath Singh, which is likely to meet again later this month. Our attempt is to have 19 categories of diabilities to be included in the Act so that all get the benefits. We are trying to bring this new bill in the second part of the current session," Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot said.
Replying to supplementaries, he said the government has also set up committees of doctors and state ministers to identify disabilities like dyslexia and treat it early.
BJP member Tarun Vijay pointed out that the issue should not be seen through politics and that dyslexic children are not treated as mentally retarded.
He also pointed out the lack of educational facilities for around one crore dyslexic children especially in Uttarakhand and sought more facilities for them.
Jaya Bachchan (SP) and Anand Sharma (Cong) also said such children should not be treated as mentally retarded as they can be cured if the problem is detected early. They also sought launching of a nationwide campaign to detect children with dyslexia.
Bachchan also pointed out that some members could be dyslexic but are not aware of it.
To a supplementary on whether the mapping of such children was being done, the Minister said government is identifying all children with disabilities through mapping in the next three years which is underway. Government was also providing universal identity cards to such children.
On objections by certain members on categorising dyslexic children as mentally retarded, Chairman Hamid Ansari suggested that "I think if the vocabulary is to be corrected, the concerned members should formally write to the government and draw the attention to the issue.