In yesterday’s session of the National Council, some members of the house suggested measures that would ensure people living with disabilities have access to employment opportunities. The members also raised concerns regarding inclusivity, equity, and financial assistance for people living with disabilities. Members started deliberations on the matter after the foreign minister introduced the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the House for ratification.
Following the introduction of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a few members started questioning the inclusivity of policies when it comes to employment and access to loans without interest for people living with disabilities.
Bumthang’s Member of Parliament said that persons with disabilities often face difficulty while seeking employment as they do not fulfil the physical fitness criteria.
“The ground reality is different from what is being presented here. For instance, despite being talented, a person with a disability often does not get jobs as they have to pass the physical fitness check,” said Kencho Tshering, Bumthang MP.
Similarly, Dagana’s Member of Parliament suggested the government to provide financial assistance for people living with disabilities.
“Individuals with disabilities are indeed very talented such as in painting and sculpting. If the banks could provide loans without interest for them, it would greatly support them,” said Berindra Chimoria, Dagana MP.
In response, the foreign minister said that there is a possibility to address the issue of persons with disabilities requiring a physical fitness check.
With regard to financial assistance, the minister said the government is currently discussing the possibilities of providing loans at reduced interest rates for persons with disabilities.
“I agree that we can support persons with disabilities with reduced interest loans. I think all five parties will have this clause in their manifesto. The government is currently discussing the matter and I personally agree that we should provide loans at reduced interest rates for persons with disabilities,” said Dr Tandi Dorji, Foreign Affairs and External Trade Minister.
The National Assembly ratified the convention during the summer session with 41 members voting in favor of the convention.
Bhutan signed the convention in September 2010 but could not introduce it in the parliament for deliberation as there were concerns regarding investments required for developing expertise and improving infrastructure as per the convention.
The National Council will continue deliberations on the international human rights treaty of the United Nations on Friday.