Thursday, 30 January 2014

Bill on Quota for Differently Abled in Coming Session

Bill on quota for Disabled in coming session

The government will table for passage in the upcoming Parliament session a new bill for the disabled persons that provides for five per cent reservation in public sector jobs.

Inaugurating ‘Samarth-2014’, a programme organised by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on Wednesday, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi said the Disability Act of 1995 was being amended to meet the norms of the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. “Union Cabinet has given its nod to the amendments. I have full faith that we will be able to pass it in the next session,” she said.

The Union Cabinet had approved last month the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill to replace the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunity Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act of 1995.

The bill covers a variety of issues relating to the disabled persons such as physical, mental and multiple disabilities.

Ms. Gandhi said there was a need to link the issues of the disabled with the mainstream of the society and the government and make their development a key component of policies. “It is the solidarity of the disabled that should be given credit if the government and society has made some progress providing the disabled people opportunities,” she added.

"There is a need to develop self confidence among the disabled... we have to still make a lot of efforts to ensure their human rights and freedom," she said, while noting that the issues of the disabled are now treated only as medical issues.
Pointing out that the social model had now replaced the medical model of disability, Ms Gandhi said the disabled persons should not be kept aloof from the society. “We will have to ensure that they make their place within the mainstream of the society and become its integral part."

In her address, Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Kumari Selja underlined the role of media in creating awareness on disability issues.

The Minister added that it has been our experience that persons with disabilities given proper support and right environment have excelled in various fields, like education, employment, art, painting, music and dance. “If we look at people like Rajeev Bagga (Hearing/Speech Impaired), a National Badminton Champion in the early 1990s, Garimella Subramanium (Visually Impaired), a senior journalist with the Hindu, Prabha Shah (Hearing/Speech Impaired), a painter/artist, Sudha Chandran (Orthopedically Challenged), a dancer/actress, we are compelled to think differently.”

There is hope, there is ability, there are pathways that can take us forward, there are solutions that can help us break free of the strangehold of challenges. Disability is thus a matter of culture, attitude and not physical impairment, the Minister said. 

More than 280 participants with disabilities from all over India will perform in the various events organized, such as National Programme of Dance and Music in which 95 items will be presented, a day-long Film Festival of 21 films on 16th January on Disability related themes and 5 exhibitions titled Colours of Ability displaying 60 art works, 9 Abilympics Champions, 21 ‘Disabled Artisans and craftsman in action’, and products made by them along with enabling aids and assistive devices for PwDs.

Source :

Monday, 27 January 2014

Candlelight Vigil Demands PWD Rights Bill 2013 Enactment in India

Candlelight Vigil Demands 
PWD Rights 
Bill Enactment

A candlelight vigil was held at Bisra Chowk here on Sunday evening demanding enactment of Rights of Persons with Disability (PWD) Bill under the leadership of Manoj Kumar Biswal.

Biswal said that for the last six years disability right activists and groups across the country have been fighting to get the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill passed in the Parliament. But no tangible has happened as yet.

The Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment had assured us that the Bill would be introduced in the winter session of Parliament but the abrupt end of the Parliament session on December 18 prevented the Bill from being tabled, rued Biswal.

Biswal further urged all the political parties to come together and show political will in reconvening the Parliament January last or February fast and pass the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill in the two houses.


Right to Education has failed to enable the disabled in India: Study

RTE Has Failed To Enable The Disabled: Study

65% schools in PMC limits not RTE-compliant, says survey

Three years after the RTE Act came into effect promising free and compulsory education to children aged six to 14 years and special focus on admission and retention of children with disabilities, an NCERT study has found that disabled children in schools across states still face serious infrastructure and pedagogy handicaps.

Apart from absence of ramps and friendly toilets in schools, the larger problem that almost all disabled children face in the classroom is the absence of special teaching material and sensitive trained teachers.

In Gujarat’s Kheda district, a child with locomotor disability said he never leaves his wheelchair due to non-availability of a friendly toilet in his school.

The NCERT report — ‘Status of Implementation of RTE Act in context of disadvantaged children at elementary stage’ — says that “poor infrastructure, non-availability of appropriate furniture for children with disabilities, non-availability of special aids and appliances, poor quality of aids and appliances for children with locomotor disabilities are major challenges in the fulfilment of RTE to these children”.

The study adds that “educational materials for children with disabilities were non-existent in most sample schools. States/ UTs have very limited vision of arranging different types of educational materials for children with various disabilities”.

The 2012-13 study on children with disabilities had revealed that while 99 per cent of these children liked attending regular schools but 57 per cent of teachers were not trained to understand their special needs.

The study was conducted by the NCERT’s department of elementary education in Andhra Pradesh, Kerala, Jharkhand, Orissa, Gujarat, Uttarakhand and the Union Territories of Puducherry and Andaman & Nicobar islands through questionnaires and interviews with school teachers, parents of disabled children and disabled students.

Respondents in Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts said there were no Braille books, no assistive devices, no educational materials and no full-time special teachers making it extremely difficult to ensure RTE to children with visual impairments. In Visakhapatnam district, ramps and friendly toilets for children with locomotors disabilities were not appropriate.

Almost all respondents in Almora district of Uttarakhand said their schools did not have facilities and the hilly terrain further complicated their movements. In Orissa, the NCERT study says, there is unhappiness over poor quality of wheelchairs and non-supply of Braille aids despite repeated reminders.

“Wheelchairs and tricycles are supplied to children with locomotors disabilities, though these cannot be used by them due to difficult terrain in Almora district”.

“Special shoes are supplied after one year of assessment, resulting in inappropriate sizes due to growth of feet. Complaint was sent but no satisfactory action was taken,” respondents are quoted in the NCERT study.

In Kerala, children have not been provided teaching-learning materials individually despite the fact that the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has a provision for Rs 3,000 per disabled child per year.

The report notes that functionaries and teachers at state-, district- and block-levels were aware of provisions of the RTE Act to a great extent but “orientation of teachers for RTE (except in Orissa) did not include information about disadvantaged and children with disabilities”.

In Jharkhand, respondents pointed out how “there were no special teachers at school level to help children with disabilities; teachers have not been trained to teach children with disabilities; and parents do not bring their children with disabilities to school regularly”.

Sixteen of 25 head teachers/teachers in four districts of Gujarat maintained that it was extremely difficult to teach children with severe mental challenges and multiple disabilities in the classroom.

In Andhra Pradesh, teachers said that “it is difficult to ensure RTE to children with mental disabilities due to behaviour problems and very limited ability to learn. They maintained that these children should be sent to special schools. Respondents in Visakhapatnam and East Godavari districts said there were no Braille books, no assistive devices, no educational materials and no full-time special teachers”.

The report notes that in Kerala “almost all respondents in both the districts said they encountered difficulties in teaching different categories of children with disabilities. They said that behaviour problem of children with mental disabilities (challenges) makes it difficult to manage classroom teaching.

These teachers do not have any special training and they find themselves helpless in dealing with children with mental challenges. Two of the teachers said that in a class of 50 children, it is extremely difficult to pay attention to children with a mental challenge and they try to help these children by explaining to them personally”.


Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Toast to Technology

Toast to Technology

On Louis Braille’s birthday, three Visually-challenged youngsters tell Neeraja Murthy how technology brought light into their lives

With right spirit

It was not easy for Nagababu J. to get a B. Tech degree. It involved a few writ petitions and saying no to a suggestion that he learn typewriting. “Like a movie story, my student life had problems, but the ending is happy,” smiles Nagababu. He was born blind but that was hardly a deterrent for this academically brilliant and competitive student. “I knew my goal and I was willing to work hard towards it. At every step, there were hurdles but my parents and friends gave me moral support and encouraged me to compete with them. I owe a lot to Swarnalatha and her husband Gunashekar at Samanvai (a rehabilitation centre), who pushed my case and helped me join B.Tech,” says Nagababu.

An alumni of Gudlavalleru Engineering College, his college placement fetched him a job at Wipro as a project engineer. “My college practical exams were fun as the authorities were thrilled to see a visually challenged person connect electronic circuits so easily,” he says with a laugh.

He worked at Wipro for three years before moving on to his current job at Infosys as a technology analyst. “I work like any other software guy handling software development, maintenance, design and analysis,” he says.

“If we set a goal and work towards it with a positive attitude, regardless of the problems, we will have a happy ending,” he asserts.

Spirited Sportsman

Mahender Vaishnav is an all rounder in every sense. He is a member of the Indian blind cricket team and has played 42 matches for the country and also handles facility management at A 2 Z Infra Management that works for G.E. Global Services Site. Mahender was six when he was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson Sydrome (SJS) a rare disorder due to a medical reaction. “I did not lose my confidence,” he smiles and continues, “I was passionate about cricket and used to regularly participate in different cultural programmes.” He got selected for Andhra Pradesh Ranji blind team and went to Goa to play his first match against Kerala. “My only disappointment has been that I could not participate in the World Cup twice because of my exams,” he recalls.

Working with multiple applications has made his job easy. He works in three shifts and handles security arrangements, housekeeping and building management among other things. “We read with Braille at the entry level. Now with technology, we are able put our best foot forward with confidence,” he says.

Married with two children, Mahender has his finger crossed for the Pakistan series to take place next month.

Banking with elan

For customers seeking loans at the Bank of Baroda branch at Lakdi-ka-Pul, it was a pleasant surprise to encounter a visually-challenged staffer, Kali Shekar. “I would perform all my duties like any other person and my colleagues were helpful,” remembers Kali Shekar. Except cash, he dealt with issues related to loans in retail. Now, he works as a probationary officer in State Bank of India in Narasannapet in Srikakulam and is happy to be there as it is his home town. He was visually-challenged by birth but that was never a deterrent to work towards his dream. “My blessing was that I could travel to different places as my father was in the Army and that exposure boosted my confidence,” he says. He plays chess and while in school represented India at the World Junior Chess Championship held in 2003.

Initially, Shekar was interested in media and studied journalism at the University of Hyderabad. He even did his internship at The Hindu before shifting gears and moving to a different profession. “I took up banking as a profession as it is one of the stable jobs and I could showcase my skills,” says the 27-year-old. When not working, he spends time browsing Facebook.