According to census 2011, there are 26.8 million Persons with Disabilities in India,which constitutes 2.21% of our population. These include Persons with Hearing Disability, Locomotor Disability, Visual Disability, Speech Disability, Intellectual Disability, Mental Illness, Multiple Disabilities and other unspecified categories of Disabilities.
India is a signatory to the UNCRPD which came into the effect from May 2018. The Government of India has enacted the RPwD act which came into force from 19.04.2017 and is aligned with the spirit of the UNCRDP.
A “National Workshop on Skill Development for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan)”was organised by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on 3 July 2018. The day long workshop was organised with a view to provide a platform to all stakeholders ranging from training partners to the policy makers as well as employers.
Thaawarchand Gehlot, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment inaugurated the workshop and Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship was the Guest of Honour. Shakuntala D. Gamlin, Secretary, DEPwD, senior officers of DEPwD, Representatives from Corporate Sectors (both in Private and Public), State Governments and Empanelled Training Centres of DEPwD participated in the workshop.
In his inaugural address, Thaawarchand Gehlot said that employment is the key to empowerment. The Right of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPwD), 2016 which came into force last year mandates the Government to frame schemes to promote Skill Development of Persons with Disabilities so as to enhance their scope of employability.
DEPwD in collaboration with Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship launched the National Action Plan for Skill Development of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in March, 2015. DEPwD implements an umbrella scheme namely Scheme for Implementation of Right of Persons with Disabilities Act (SIPDA) which has a component for Skill Development of PwDs.
Under NAP, 75640 PwDs have been trained since 2016-17 and this year the target is to impart skill training to 90,000 PwDs. The Skill Development programme for PwDs is implemented through the Training Partners empanelled with this department and also through its National Institutes, their Composite Regional Centres and also through National Handicapped Finance & Development Corporation (NHFDC).
He said that till Date, 258 training partners spread across 28 States and 1 UT have been empanelled with DEPwD for imparting skill training to PwDs comprising of 26 Government Organisations and 232 Non-Government Organisations. During the last 4 years about 1.4 lakh PwDs have been imparted skill training under the Skill Development /Vocation Training program of the Department.
Gehlot said that Persons with Disabilities are one of the most marginalised segments in the society. Most of them do not have access to education, training and thus remains deprived of gainful employment. Every category of Disability has unique ability. Similarly, different regions/areas in the country have different market demand. Each industry/corporate has its own requirement, for example, the requirement of apparel industry and retail sector would be entirely different. Bringing a synergy among all these 3 components i.e. ability of a particular category of PwD, Local market demand and industry requirement is also a challenge while devising course curriculum for PwDs.
In his keynote address, Dharmendra Pradhan said that so far as the Emerging challenges are concerned, efforts are to create adequate Placement opportunity, which is the biggest challenge for effective implementation of the skill development program. He assured full help and cooperation of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Ministry of Skill development and Entrepreneurship for the betterment of the lives of the Persons with Disabilities.
Shakuntala D. Gamlin in her address said that economic empowerment is one of the key element of independent living and it comes through gainful wage employment or through self-employment. With a view to create a society inclusive of Persons with Disabilities, it is imperative to develop schemes and programs to enhance skills of Persons with Disabilities to enable them to meet job requirements.
The Workshop dwelt upon all the issues involved in the skill development for Persons with disabilities and come out with workable solution in identifying core areas for skill development in the context of PwDs, mechanism for appropriate mapping of categories of Disabilities viz. a viz. industrial requirement and also promoting positive attitude in the private sector to consider PwDs as one of their valuable workforce. Apart from the Inaugural Session, the Workshop had three technical sessions and an Interactive session.