Almost two years after Prime Minister Narendra Modi suggested to address persons with disabilities as ‘divyang’ (divine bodies), the Railways has decided to make changes in this regard in the concession certificates issued to such people. The national transporter has changed the nomenclature from “viklang” to “divyang” in the concession forms offered by it to people with special needs. According to an order by the railway ministry, the word ‘blind’ be replaced with persons with visual impairment with total absence of sight, ‘deaf and dumb’ be replaced with persons with hearing and speech impairment, and ‘physically-challenged’ as persons with disabilities (divyangjan). The ministry has asked the departments concerned to make necessary changes in the proforma for concession certificates. The order will come into being from February 1. “These words were derogatory and needed change. Now the performa is being changed,” an official said.
The Indian Railways offers 53 concessions to passengers in various categories like divyang, senior citizens, students, defence personnel among others, amounting to Rs 1,600 crore annually. The hearing and speech impaired get 50 per cent concession in second, sleeper and first class, while the visually impaired get 75 per cent discount in second sleeper, first class, AC chair car & AC 3-tier, and 50 per cent in AC 2-tier and AC first classes.
Others with disability get 75 per cent concession in second, sleeper, first, AC chair car and AC 3-tier, and 50 per cent in AC 2-tier and AC first classes.