The President mentioned that although, we, as a society have been conditioned by our religion and values to be especially mindful and sensitive to the needs of persons with disability and although our Government has taken a number of measures to systematically address the challenges that they face, still we have a lot to do to facilitate their daily life and comfortable functioning.
Besides refining our policy framework, it is essential for us to reinforce our efforts to have a better delivery mechanism for implementation of the schemes and progammes, including through effective partnership with the private sector and civil society- he mentioned. The President said that we must do, what we can to ensure the socio psychological and emotional well being of persons with disabilities with a aim to inclusive development to achieve their full potential.
The President emphasized that one of the key instruments for empowering persons with disabilities, is education. Children with disabilities should have access to same educational opportunities that will enable them to equally compete for gainful employment and lead a life of dignity. He emphasized that special training of teachers is essential to understand the needs of children with disability and to guide them effectively. He expressed happiness that Government of India has revised its ADIP (Assistance to disabled persons for purchasing/fitting of aids/appliances) scheme this year to increases the number of contemporary aids and devices that can be provided to students and persons with disability.
The President also inaugurated the first Interactive Web Portal Swavlamban.info made by the Department of Disability.
Extending a warm welcome to the President, the union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot said the Ministry is actively endeavouring to bring in a new Act to replace the existing PwD Act, 1995. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014 has been introduced in the Parliament in the beginning of this year. It envisages more rights and entitlements to all categories of persons with disabilities and would also provide for strong implementation mechanism. He said that the Ministry/Department to earmark 3% of their budget for the welfare of persons with disabilities. He urged the State Governments to facilitate issuance of disability certificates.
The Minister said that the Central Government is examining is examining the feasibility of issuance of Universal I.D., which is applicable across the country to overcome the difficulties faced by persons with disabilities, as presently certificate issued by one State is not applicable in other States or Central Government Departments.
The Minister with pleasure announced the Cochlear implant scheme which would benefit 500 children this year. The Minister also said that action is being taken for establishment of five Centers for disability sports all over in India, National Institute of Inclusive of Universal Design, Indian Sign Language and Research and Training Centre, National Institute for Mental Health Rehabilitation and Centre for Disability Research.
Present on the occasion were Shri Krishan Pal, Minister of State for Social Justice, Shri Vijay Sampla, Minister of State for Social Justice, Ms Stuti Kacker, Secretary, Department of Disability Affairs, Shri Sudhir Bargava, Secretary, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Prof. (Ms.) Sudesh Mukhopadhyay, Chairman, Rehabilitation Council of India, Shri Prasanna Kumar Pincha, Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabihlities and Shri Anoop Kumar Shriastava, Special Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment.