The Vice President stressed the need to change societal norms through intensive awareness campaigns to remove the stigma attached to disability. He further said that the society has a duty towards fellow human beings to make them lead good quality lives with dignity. One must learn to recognize the valuable human assets we have in persons with disabilities, he added.
Calling upon the people to rededicate to the cause of less fortunate, Naidu stressed the need to provide appropriate career and life-enhancing policies and measures to boost their self-confidence so that the people with special needs can lead a dignified life. He further said that a number of actions with speed and sincerity were needed to build an inclusive society. Government has taken a number of initiatives to systematically address the challenges that they face, there is still a long way to go, he added.
“It is indeed a pleasure for me to be present amidst you to present the National Awards on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The main objective of this world-wide initiative is to promote an understanding on the issues connected with disability. I think it is very important that all of us recognise the key issues and mobilise support and create a congenial environment for persons with disabilities They must be empowered to lead a dignified life and participate in political, social, economic, cultural and recreational activities without any discrimination,” shared Naidu.
It is, therefore, appropriate that we in India mark this date by honouring the selfless individuals, altruistic organizations and also provincial Governments for their contribution, and the time, resources and energies that they have dedicated to bring positive change in the lives of the persons with disabilities, he added.
“Undoubtedly, NGOs play a significant role for rehabilitation of persons with disabilities. I am glad that the NGOs are partnering with the Government in implementing various rehabilitation schemes. The Deendayal Rehabilitation Scheme is a major NGO-based scheme for providing project based financial assistance. I am aware that creating accessible environment for persons with disabilities has been a priority area for the Government since inception of Accessible India Campaign in 2015. I am given to understand that recently the Government has taken a decision to establish the National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation in Madhya Pradesh. This institute will be one of the first of its kind in the continent for rehabilitation of persons with mental illness and will also promote capacity building in the area of mental health rehabilitation. I hope the institute will be developed into a world class institute for rehabilitation of persons with mental illness,” explained Naidu.
“I am told that the Government is also in the process of implementing a Unique ID project to create a national database of all persons with disabilities in the country to ensure that the Government benefits reach every deserving person. It is heartening that the Government has also launched a National Action Plan for Skill Development to impart skill training to 25 lakh persons with disabilities by 2022, to enhance their employability,” informed Naidu.
Saying that the guarantees the equality, freedom, justice and dignity of all individuals, including Persons with Disabilities, Naidu said that legislations such as the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 focuses on various key elements of empowerment of persons with disabilities. He called upon the States and Union Territories to effectively implement the Act so that the persons with disabilities get the desired benefits at the earliest.
The Vice President said that early identification of disability and effective interventions are important in providing care to those in need. He stressed the need to harmonise the immunisation and disease-prevention programmes with appropriate rehabilitation models and added that children in the susceptible age groups should be given access to better health care and nutrition to prevent occurrence of disability.
Stressing the importance of Education in empowerment of every person including persons with disabilities,Naidu opined that the provisions of the Act have to be strictly implemented to ensure that children with disabilities have access to school education with proper pedagogical support. Our education system has to be re-invented to create inclusive educational opportunities and we have to use technology creatively to make this possible, he added.
Naidu said that policy makers and planners must be aware of the infrastructural requirements of persons with special needs and create accessible environment. He said that increasing access to public facilities must be priority area given the size of the existing infrastructure and added that such gigantic task require support of all stakeholders for developing barrier-free environment for the Persons with Disabilities be it in the physical infrastructure, transportation sector or the ICT ecosystem.
Naidu also urged the corporate and the private entities to include in their CSR activities the development of infrastructure accessible to persons with disabilities.