The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind
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