Sort out differences between govt, oppn over autism bill: RS Chairman


Chairman Venkaiah Naidu in Rajya Sabha. PTI/RSTV

File Photo: Chairman Venkaiah Naidu in Rajya Sabha.

Rajya Sabha Chairman M Venkiah Naidu on Thursday urged members to sort out differences over a bill related to persons with autism and multiple disabilities to the Select Committee, within a couple of days saying it was a sensitive issue.

Naidu’s remarks came after opposition members objected to certain provisions of the bill to amend the 1999 National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, which was moved for consideration and passage by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawarchand Gehlot.

Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma said the issue concerned millions and alleged that the government was not serious.

Questioning how the government was not able to select a suitable chairperson for the Trust for four years, Sharma said many eligible and eminent persons had applied for the post but they were not called for interview.

He also said that none of the concerned institutions were consulted before bringing the amendement.

Objecting to a clause in the amendment that in the absence of suitable candidate, officials could be directed to perform as the Chairperson, he said the bill should be sent to a Select Committee.

Satish Chandra Misra, Ram Gopal Yadav (SP), D Raja (CPI), TK Rangarajan and others demanded that the consideration of the bill be deferred and it should be sent to Select Committee.

The members said the Trust should not become a tool in the hands of any IAS officer.

However, Gehlot urged the House to consider the Bill, saying the Act came in 1999 and such tough rules were framed that despite seeking applications for the post of Chairperosn four times, no eligible candidate came foward.

He said there was a provision in the Act that the chairperson will continue till a successor comes.

The rules could be amended only through Parliament’s, he said and assured the House that once the law was amended, a suitable candidate will be appointed.

He countered the Congress charge and said no one could be appointed even during the UPA tenure.

Chairman Naidu then remarked: “This is an important bill and the issues should be sorted out in a day or two.”

The Bill has already been passed by Lok Sabha.