Overview of the RPWD Act

The Rights of Person with Disabilities (RPWD) act/ Divyangjan Adhikaar Kanoon, was enacted on 27th, December 2016. It promotes and protects the rights and dignity of people with disabilities while also empowering them.


This law is seen as a game-changer for the estimated 30 million disabled citizens of India, which is about 2.21% of the total population of India (as per Census 2011), and will help move the discourse away from ‘charity’ to one that is the ‘rights’ based with provisions to enforce implementation. United Nations General Assembly adopted its convention on the rights of persons with disabilities on the 13th of December 2006. India ratified the same convention on 1st October 2007 and became a signatory to it. However, it was enacted by the parliament only in the 67th Year of the Republic of India.


The Gazette of India published on the 28th of December 2016, states that the RPWD Act gives effect to the same United Nations convention on the rights of persons with Disabilities and for matters connected with or incidental to it.


The major highlight of this act is that it recognizes more disabilities than the previous act. It recognizes 21 Disabilities as compared to the previous 7 categories under the 1995 Act.


1. Blindness


2. Low Vision


3. Leprosy cured persons


4. Hearing impairment


5. Locomotive disability


6. Dwarfism


7. Intellectual Disability


8. Mental Illness