International Day of Persons with Disabilities turned out to be a special affair for eight people with disabilities who were felicitated by Delhi government for their achievements in various fields. Delhi Social Welfare Minister and Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia was the Chief Guest but in his absence Minister of Labour and Employment Mr Gopal Rai felicitated them for their exceptional achievements in the field of creativity, sports, entrepreneurship and social work as part of the State Awards for Persons with Disabilities, 2016.
Dr Satendra Singh got the award in the 'Social Work' category. His achievements are enlisted in the Times of India graphic on the left.
They Tell tales of a disabled system that hurt them. (Times of India, 3 Dec 2016)
NEW DELHI: Physically challenged people got a rare opportunity to share their grievances with the state government when they gathered at the Delhi Secretariat for a felicitation function on Friday. Delhi labour minister Gopal Rai rewarded them by hearing out their stories, among them tales of discrimination, inadequate Braille and educational materials for students and, above all, the lack of job opportunities. The minister nudged the officials of social welfare department present to respond to the complaints.
The programme had been organised by Delhi government's department of social welfare to honour exceptional achievers among the physically challenged on the eve of International Day for Persons with Disabilities.
Rai invited the persons with disabilities (PwDs) to talk of problems faced by them before the cultural and felicitation programme began. "I would like to learn about the issues that trouble PwDs," Rai said. "Perhaps then, by the time the next felicitation function is held next year, we will have been able to take these issues up as challenges for our government to address." He said Friday's function would prove more meaningful if the government got suggestions on how to help PwDs.
While Dr Satendra Singh, recipient of the award in the category of social work, highlighted the problem of accessibility of public spaces and the disability policies of the government, a student of a blind school drew the government's attention to some of the basic issues they confronted regularly, like lack of teachers and paucity of teaching-learning aids.
Dr Singh suggested that the first step for the government should be to have a separate 'department for disability'. He also pointed out that the post of commissioner of disability was lying vacant for over a year now and that state executive and state coordination committees had not been constituted in Delhi for over one and half years despite provisions for such panels in the Disability Act. "If these issues are addressed, no one can stop us from making Delhi disabled-friendly," concluded Singh.
The sportspersons among the PwDs present brought up the topic of job opportunities or the lack of them in the capital. R Kumar, a national-level table tennis player, said, "I have represented Delhi at various levels, but there is no provision for jobs for us under the sports quota here."
Mohammad Sahir, a blind student, talked of the difficulties that primary and middle school students at a government senior secondary for blind boys have been facing for three years.
"There are around 10 positions for teachers lying vacant in the school for the last three years," he said. "We even demonstrated against the vacancies not being filled. Besides, we also need Braille books and audio books. Because of the lack of audio devices, we have been struggling."
Responding to these complaints, the department officials promised that the vacancies would be dealt with temporarily by appointing guest teachers and efforts would be made for permanent appointments. They assured the students they would be provided audio books within a week.
Source: Times of India, 3 Dec 2016