The Pres­i­dent of In­dia, Ram Nath Kovind

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The Pres­i­dent of In­dia Shri Ram Nath Kovind pre­sented the “Na­tional Award for Em­pow­er­ment of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties (Divyang­jan)-2017” at a func­tion or­ga­nized by De­part­ment of Em­pow­er­ment of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties (Divyang­jan) un­der the Min­istry of So­cial Jus­tice and Em­pow­er­ment on the oc­ca­sion of In­ter­na­tional Day of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties here to­day. On this oc­ca­sion, Min­is­ter for So­cial Jus­tice and Em­pow­er­ment, Shri Thaawarc­hand Gehlot, Min­is­ter of States for So­cial Jus­tice and Em­pow­er­ment, Shri Kr­is­han Pal Gur­jar and Shri Ram­das Athawale also graced the oc­ca­sion. On In­ter­na­tional Day of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties i.e. 3rd De­cem­ber, the De­part­ment of Em­pow­er­ment of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties (Divyang­jan), Min­istry of So­cial Jus­tice and Em­pow­er­ment presents Na­tional Awards to In­di­vid­u­als, In­sti­tu­tions, Or­gan­i­sa­tions, State/ Dis­trict etc for their out­stand­ing achieve­ments and work done to­wards em­pow­er­ment of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties. The Na­tional Awards were pre­sented in 14 main cat­e­gories. Within stip­u­lated date, out of these 14 cat­e­gories, 984 ap­pli­ca­tions were re­ceived from 13 cat­e­gories. Four Scru­tiny Com­mit­tees con­sti­tuted by the De­part­ment as per the rules had scru­ti­nized the nom­i­na­tions and their rec­om­men­da­tions were con­sid­ered by the Na­tional Se­lec­tion Com­mit­tee. The Na­tional Se­lec­tion Com­mit­tee met on 10th and 16th Novem­ber and rec­om­mended 52 per­sons / in­sti­tu­tions for the awards. Ad­dress­ing the gath­er­ing, the Pres­i­dent said that the fu­ture of the coun­try de­pends on en­sur­ing all cit­i­zens have the ca­pac­ity to re­alise their full po­ten­tial. To achieve this goal, we have to cre­ate a sen­si­tive and har­mo­nious so­ci­ety, where every per­son feels em­pow­ered – and a so­ci­ety of em­pa­thy, where one per­son feels the pain of an­other. He said that our Con­sti­tu­tion guar­an­tees equal­ity, free­dom, jus­tice and dig­nity to all cit­i­zens, in­clud­ing the Divyang. The Gov­ern­ment has en­acted laws for the em­pow­er­ment, in­clu­sion and main­stream­ing of dif­fer­ently-abled per­sons. No Divyang per­son should be eval­u­ated by his or her phys­i­cal abil­ity, but by his or her in­tel­lect, knowl­edge and

courage. The Pres­i­dent con­grat­u­lated the award win­ners and said he was op­ti­mistic they would in­spire other dif­fer­entlyabled per­sons to strive to reach new heights. He also ex­pressed con­fi­dence that cit­i­zens of our coun­try will build an in­clu­sive New In­dia, with an ap­pro­pri­ate and sen­si­tive ap­proach to our Divyang fel­low In­di­ans. In his ad­dress, Shri Thaawarc­hand Gehlot said that In­dia has achieved his­toric achieve­ments dur­ing past three and half years and many Gui­ness Book World Records have been es­tab­lished by our Divyang­jans. 8589 ADIP camps were or­ga­nized and more than 9 lakhs Divyang­jans have been pro­vided Equip­ments and As­sis­tive de­vices and 4000 Mo­tor­ized Tri­cy­cles have also been pro­vided. Dur­ing the same pe­riod, the amount of schol­ar­ships and aids to Divyang­jans has also been raised. He opined that Divyang­jans are very tal­ented. In the field of Sports, they have made re­mark­able achieve­ments. He called upon peo­ple to ac­tively par­tic­i­pate in the prop­a­ga­tion and pub­lic­ity of sev­eral use­ful schemes of the gov­ern­ment meant for Divyang­jans. Un­der the able guid­ance of the Prime Min­ster, the De­part­ment of Em­pow­er­ment of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties (Divyang­jan) un­der the Min­istry of So­cial Jus­tice and Em­pow­er­ment has be­come pop­u­lar world­wide. Ac­cord­ing to Cen­sus 2011, there are 2.68 crore per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties in our coun­try who ex­hibit great di­ver­sity in terms of quan­tum of dis­abil­ity as well as types of dis­abil­i­ties. To give fo­cussed at­ten­tion to the schemes and pro­grammes for em­pow­er­ment of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties, a new De­part­ment un­der the Min­istry of So­cial Jus­tice & Em­pow­er­ment came into ex­is­tence dur­ing the year 2012. Since then, a num­ber of new schemes and pro­grammes for the em­pow­er­ment of per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties have been added. On the other hand, the fi­nan­cial out­lay for the de­part­ment is also go­ing up every year. The ex­ist­ing schemes of the de­part­ment have been re­viewed and in case of many mod­i­fi­ca­tions have been made. Re­ceiv­ing of ap­pli­ca­tions un­der two ma­jor scheme is on-line and the same are pro­cessed, funds sanc­tioned through the elec­tronic mode. The his­tory of Na­tional Awards goes back to 1969, when Awards in only two cat­e­gories were in­sti­tuted by the Gov­ern­ment of In­dia with the ob­jec­tive to fo­cus pub­lic at­ten­tion on is­sues con­cern­ing per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties and to pro­mote their main­stream­ing in so­ci­ety. The Na­tional Awards for em­pow­er­ment of per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties have been no­ti­fied in the year 2013. Now there are 14 broad cat­e­gories for in­di­vid­u­als and in­sti­tu­tions con­sist­ing of 58 awards. This year, an ad­ver­tise­ment was is­sued by the De­part­ment in July 2017 with the last date up to 15th Au­gust. How­ever, on re­ceipt of rep­re­sen­ta­tions the last date was ex­tended up to 10th Septem­ber. 984 ap­pli­ca­tions were re­ceived which were short­listed by Four screen­ing com­mit­tees con­sti­tuted for the pur­pose. The Na­tional Se­lec­tion Com­mit­tee met on two dates i.e. 10th Novem­ber, and 16th Novem­ber, 2017 to fi­nalise the list. This year, 52 awards to in­di­vid­u­als and in­sti­tu­tions are be­ing con­ferred. The awards con­sist of a cer­tifi­cate to each and medal or shield in some cat­e­gories as also with cash com­po­nent amount­ing to Rs. 43.50 Lakhs.

Shri Thaawarc­hand Gehlot prom­ises com­mit­ment to Em­power per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties at High Level In­terGovern­men­tal Mid-point Re­view Meet­ing of Asia and Pa­cific Decade for Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties, 2013-2022 in Bei­jing, China

Union Min­is­ter for So­cial Jus­tice & Em­pow­er­ment Shri Thaawarc­hand Gehlot has headed the coun­try’s

del­e­ga­tion to at­tend the High Level In­ter-Gov­ern­men­tal Mid-point Re­view Meet­ing of Asia and Pa­cific Decade for Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties, 2013-2022 in Bei­jing from 27th Novem­ber to 1st De­cem­ber, 2017. The del­e­ga­tion in­cludes Sec­re­tary of the De­part­ment and other se­nior of­fi­cers. This meet­ing is be­ing or­ga­nized by United Na­tions Eco­nomic and So­cial Com­mis­sion for Asia and the Pa­cific (UNESCAP) in co­op­er­a­tion with Gov­ern­ment of China. The main ob­jec­tive of the meet­ing is to re­view the progress made by the mem­ber States dur­ing the decade at the mid-point in 2017 with re­gard to In­cheon Strat­egy ‘to make the right real’ for per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties in Asia and Pa­cific. In­cheon Strat­egy has been adopted to achieve the goals men­tioned in UN Con­ven­tion on Rights of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties. An­other ob­jec­tive of the meet­ing is to dis­cuss the fu­ture pol­icy ac­tion for build­ing dis­abil­i­ties-in­clu­sive so­ci­eties in the re­gion, bear­ing in mind the syn­er­gies be­tween the In­cheon Strat­egy and 2030 Agenda for Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment. The Union Min­is­ter, while mak­ing In­dia’s state­ment at the Mid-Point Re­view Meet­ing, stated that In­dia is com­mit­ted to the prin­ci­ple of unity in di­ver­sity and the goal of in­clu­sive de­vel­op­ment en­com­pass­ing all seg­ments of so­ci­ety in­clud­ing per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties. He in­voked pro­vi­sions of In­dian Con­sti­tu­tion which guar­an­tees free­dom, jus­tice and equal­ity to all in­di­vid­u­als. He men­tioned that In­dia has en­acted a new law namely ‘Rights of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties Act, 2016’ in line with the pro­vi­sions of UN Con­ven­tion on Rights of Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties. The law guar­an­tees a num­ber of rights and entitlements such as right to equal­ity and non-dis­crim­i­na­tion, com­mu­nity life, pro­tec­tion from vi­o­lence and in­hu­man treat­ment, ac­cess to jus­tice, home and fam­ily and re­pro­duc­tive rights. It man­dates the pro­vin­cial Gov­ern­ments to take ap­pro­pri­ate mea­sures to en­sure that per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties en­joy their rights equally with others. Some of the im­por­tant af­fir­ma­tive ac­tions un­der the said law in­clude four per cent reser­va­tion in Gov­ern­ment-aided higher ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tutes and five per cent reser­va­tion in poverty al­le­vi­a­tion schemes and al­lot­ment of land for hous­ing, set­ting up of busi­ness at con­ces­sional rate of in­ter­est, etc. Shri Gehlot also men­tioned that the Prime Min­is­ter of In­dia has coined the word “Divyang­jan”, i.e., “Per­sons with Di­vine Abil­i­ties” to ad­dress “Per­sons with Dis­abil­i­ties”. Use of the word “Divyang­jan” aims at up­lift­ing so­ci­etal sta­tus, pro­mot­ing non-dis­crim­i­na­tion and in­still­ing a pos­i­tive at­ti­tude about their lives and ca­pa­bil­i­ties in the so­ci­ety. He also spoke about Ac­ces­si­ble In­dia Cam­paign which is a flag­ship pro­gramme launched to cre­ate bar­rier-free en­vi­ron­ment for per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties. The cam­paign tar­gets cre­ation of phys­i­cal and vir­tual in­fra­struc­ture truly ac­ces­si­ble to and in­clu­sive of the per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties, and mak­ing pub­lic build­ings, trans­port sys­tem and in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nolo­gies ac­ces­si­ble on a wide scale. The Gov­ern­ment is pur­su­ing the pro­gramme with the States so as to achieve the tar­get within a given time­frame. The Union Min­is­ter stated that In­dia re­mains com­mit­ted to build­ing an en­abling en­vi­ron­ment for the per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties, to en­able them to en­joy their rights equally with others, and to re­al­ize their full po­ten­tial. We are open to shar­ing best prac­tices and in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion for em­pow­er­ment and in­clu­sion of per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties. He urged the mem­ber States to uti­lize this op­por­tu­nity of mid-point re­view of the Asia Pa­cific Decade for per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties and come out with prac­ti­ca­ble Na­tional and Re­gional ac­tion plans to achieve the goal of in­clu­sion of per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties in the main­stream so­ci­ety. In­dia would stand with the ef­forts made in this re­gard. In con­clu­sion, Shri Gehlot that he is look­ing for­ward to fi­nal­iza­tion of Bei­jing Dec­la­ra­tion which will pave the way for bet­ter im­ple­men­ta­tion to achieve em­pow­er­ment and in­clu­sion of per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties.

The Pres­i­dent of In­dia, Ram Nath Kovind

Min­is­ter for So­cial Jus­tice and Em­pow­er­ment, Shri Thaawarc­hand Gehlot

Min­is­ter of States for So­cial Jus­tice and Em­pow­er­ment, Shri Kr­is­han Pal Gur­jar

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