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Thursday, 26 December 2013

Bill For The Rights Of Disabled People Hanging Midway: Why Is India Not Talking About It?

We pride ourselves on the fact that we are a very tolerant and welcoming country for people from everywhere and there is room for everyone, but this notion of India is fast fading among our own people. Differently abled people who already lead a hard life due to their medical issues also face social stigma and prying stares from everyone around them but their determination and will to succeed is what we never fail to see and celebrate.

disabled people rights

They are the ones who have done so much in spite of being lesser privileged than most of us and they are the ones whom we should help get up and rise to glory instead of playing them down or ignoring them as a section of people that doesn’t matter to us. Recent developments support the latter view of ignorance and apathy though.

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2013 was finally approved by the cabinet after sustained efforts of the disabled rights groups all across the country but right before it was being tabled in Rajya Sabha, both houses were adjourned sine die. This comes as a shock to the whole disabled rights community since they have burned the midnight oil to get this done through various protests, consultations and meetings with apathetic ministers. The winter session is now over and the budget session is on its way which will have nothing to do with the bill. General elections in 2014 will happen afterwards, which will wash off any hope of getting the bill passed because the new government might just scrap it right off.

Interacting with one such differently abled activist Mr. Pradeep Raj, I discovered how important it is to them and they have lost all hope of it getting cleared by the next government so the time is now or never for them. “There are 70 million differently abled people in India and the clearance of it affects more people than Section 377 does but media constantly chooses to ignore us as non-existent and we have never been able to get our efforts through”. He is a famous activist and responsible for many corruption disclosures in Paralympic Committee of India and his dissent is not towards the LGBTQ community which but towards the mainstream media for whom a movie’s earnings or its reviews mean a lot more than the need of differently abled people among us.

In that short discussion he told his story of struggle and how he has led protests all across Delhi and outside many minister’s office but to no avail. All the community wants right now is a special session of Parliament to be called and the bill should be tabled. This is not much of a ask if we look at the number of people getting affected but the only reason it didn’t happen sooner is that the elite society doesn’t think of them as their own people and media fails to highlight such issues until they make a news through protesting or activism.

What we can all do to support Pradeep and millions of others with him is to just raise our voices and amplify this issue to the decision making authorities to give them a chance to be heard so that they also get their fair share of rights. Is that too much to ask for?

Source : Youth Ki Awaz , 26th Dec 2013

‘Millions of disabled people left heartbroken, cheated’ : New Delhi

Javed Abidi, the honorary director of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment of Disabled People, is sad that all the hard work done by representatives of the Disabled Rights Group over the past four years has not yielded results as the new disability rights bill has not been tabled in Parliament.

“In the new law, the rights of disabled people are expansive. It gave a comprehensive definition of disability and includes learning disabilities, deaf blindness, haemophilia and thalassemia. For the benefit of persons with disability, the new law sought an increase in reservation from three to five per cent and accountability on the part of the private sector. The bill was cleared by the Cabinet but it has yet not been tabled in Parliament.”

Describing the new law as a rights-based legislation, Mr. Abidi said it firmly moved away from charity and pity. Mr. Abidi said had Parliament functioned till December 20, the new bill would have been introduced in Rajya Sabha. The sudden adjournment of the Upper House left millions of disabled people heartbroken and cheated, he added.

Noting the new law would have brought a paradigm shift, the activist said if today he wants to do a course in a private university he would not be able to do it.

“It must be remembered by all that disabled persons are not asking for monetary benefits but other benefits like curriculum in Braille and infrastructure like ramps . So many hotels, cinema halls and multiplexes are mushrooming across the country but they are not being built in a way that persons with disabilities can access them easily,” he told The Hindu .

According to Mr. Abidi, about five to six per cent of our country’s population comprising persons with disabilities has been denied employment in government as well as private sectors.

“The presence of persons with disabilities in private jobs is miniscule. Even after graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology and the Indian Institute of Marketing, they are being denied jobs. Imagine the plight of a visually impaired person who after clearing the IAS mains is turned down by a babu in the interview,” he said.

“I am proud to be an Indian but sadly the truth is that India is lagging behind countries like South Africa and Malaysia where disabled persons are not being denied the right to work,” added Mr. Abidi.


 ~Disability rights bill gives a comprehensive definition of disability, includes learning disabilities, deaf blindness

~Seeks an increase in reservation from three to five per cent and accountability on the part of the private sector

Source: The Hindu , 26th Dec 2013

Loans worth crores distributed to minority and physically handicapped beneficiaries : Himachal Pradesh

Himachal Pradesh Minorities Finance and Development Corporation distributed loans amounting to Rs. 1.67 crore to 86 persons belonging to minority families whereas loans worth  Rs. 2.11 crore were disbursed to the physically disabled as financial assistance during this year.

This was disclosed by Social Justice & Empowerment Minister Dr. (Col.) Dhani Ram Shandil while presiding over a meeting of the Board of Directors of the H.P Minorities Finance and Development Corporation here, today. He expressed hope that loans amounting to Rs. 2.50 crore would be further distributed during next three months to the both beneficiary categories.

He said that the Corporation has so far provided Rs. 36.10 crore loans since 1997 to 2820 people belonging to minority community and the handicapped beneficiaries.  The Corporation was also ensuring proper publicity of the various schemes and programmes being implemented for the welfare of minority community so that maximum beneficiaries could be benefited.

The Minister said that the Corporation would also organise entrepreneur's development training programme for the beneficiaries. He also appreciated the efforts of the Corporation management and employees in effective implementation of the programmes and decisions.

The non-official members of the BoD and senior officers of the Corporation and Child and Female Welfare department were present in the meeting.

Source : India Education Diary , 25th Dec 2013

Disability programme being used to reach out to the needy in border areas : New Delhi

The Mission Ability beyond Disability, launched in 2005 by Anupama Singh, an accomplished painter, socialite and wife of then Army chief General J. J. Singh, is being used by the armed forces for reaching out to persons with disability (PwD) in far flung border districts of the country. As part of the mission, camps have been organized for distributing various devices to the PwD in Kargil, the border regions of Jammu and Kashmir as well as Tamenglong in Manipur, and Tawang,  Seppa and Zero in Arunachal Pradesh . The Mission has also held a camp at the remote Little Andaman Island.

Col. Tapash Chatterjee, who has been closely associated with the mission since its inception and is its first Modal Officer, said “knitting people and organisations together to promote a good cause not just helps the country’s PwD but also arouses a sense of belonging in the increasingly fragmented society.”

To reach out to more and more people in the target areas, the Mission has also roped in the Heritage Foundation, which was established in 1989 with the aim to promote India’s heritage of community consciousness. “It is a connecting agency linking people with the desired resources,” said Col. Chatterjee adding that the Foundation today focuses on connecting  community workers and rehabilitation professionals  with  those  in need and in particular the most marginalised sections of PwD.

The mission has from this year also started using religious events to reach out to the PwDs. At the Durga Puja in Chackberia, a small town in south Bengal, this year, a special distribution camp was organized for  PwD in which mobility aids such as tricycles, wheel chairs, crutches and walking sticks were given away.

Speaking about the innovative scheme, Col. Chatterjee said he got the idea of using the Durga Puja celebrations to reach out to the disabled in the locality after witnessing  the extent of community  participation at one of the mega Free Assistive Devices Camp  in North  Bengal.

The Chackberia puja event has since helped PwD from the lesser served regions of  Kakdweep and Sunderbans in leading a better life. “There was a tendency to remove the disabled from social spaces”, Col. Chatterjee explained, “but now we have started a new trend and helped make society more responsive and receptive to disabled persons.”

The Mission Ability beyond Disability is being conducted under a collaborative arrangement by ALIMCO (under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment), the Heritage Foundation, various State governments, non-governmental organisations and other institutions.

Source : The Hindu , 25th Dec 2013

Nasser Bin Hamad Creativity Award for the Disabled distribution ceremony held : Manama

Ministry of Social Development held a distribution ceremony of the ‘Nasser Bin Hamad Creativity Award for the Disabled in the GCC’ yesterday. The event was opened by its patron Supreme Council for Youth and Sport Chairman, Bahrain Olympic Committee President and Royal Charity Organisation (RCO) Board of Trustees Chairman Shaikh Nasser bin Hamad Al Khalifa.

Shaikh Nasser stated that the award comes in line with the directives of His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and the wise leadership to integrate the disabled in all aspects of life, especially in unified GCC events.

He also confirmed that their participation in such events enriches their competence and sharing spirits. "The award contributes in supporting the talents of the disabled, as well as encouraging them to excel in all fields," said Shaikh Nasser.

Social Development Minister Dr. Fatima Al Balooshi praised the event’s patron for launching the award, which is locally organised for the second time and the first time at the GCC level.

The Minister explained that the award is divided into 10 categories of creative disabled persons, including mental, physical and visual disabilities, in addition to autistic persons.

"More than 51 persons with disabilities from 10 disabled care establishments in Bahrain and the GCC competed for the award," she said. She also affirmed that Bahrain’s law ensures the rights of people with disabilities, in compatibility with similar international pacts.

Shaikh Nasser honoured the winners, stressing his support to this important segment of the society. Winners included Bahrain Children Society, Talal Ali and Mohammed Hassan from Bahrain, as well as Omran Al Rahby from Oman, Ahmed Al Hammady from the UAE and Hassan Al Nowaiser from Saudi Arabia.

Source : Bahrain News Agency , 25th Dec 2013

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

India to get polio-free tag from WHO : New Delhi

Almost two years after India was struck off the list of polio-endemic countries, it will soon achieve another feat.

Having successfully completed almost three polio-free years, and if no polio virus is identified till January 2014, India will receive the coveted “polio-free” tag from the World Health Organisation early next year. The last polio case was reported in 2011.

Health ministry officials warn that India runs a grave risk of  importing the polio virus as it is circulating at a higher speed in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan, as well as in Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, which saw a resurgence of the wild virus.

To intensify surveillance, the external affairs ministry recently issued a travel advisory for those coming from polio-affected nations, making it mandatory for them to get vaccinated before entering India. There are plans to set up polio vaccination booths at international airports to ensure visitors get duly vaccinated before entering the country.

"We don’t want to leave any stone unturned. We spent Rs 15,000 crores and have reached a stage where we cannot afford to get reinfected," an official said. It is mandatory for adults and children from infected areas to get prior vaccination before coming to India.

The Indian advisory is in line with a recent WHO directive on keeping a strict vigil on the air route. The polio eradication programme in India has so far been well on track as a result of which India achieved a significant feat in 2012 after the WHO struck off India from the list of polio endemic countries, an indication that India has stopped indigenous polio transmission.

The number of polio cases in India saw a steep fall with once case so far in 2011, 42 cases in 2010 and 741 in 2009. If the progress continues India will be certified polio-free in early February 2014.
“We have a lot at stake. In fact the World has a lot at stake. These are all such countries which remained polio free and this sudden re-infection has taken adults also in its grip. If this comes to India the control will be very difficult as India is a large country and it will affect the threaten the whole polio status,” the official further said.

Source : Deccan Chronicle , 23rd Dec 2013 

Physically challenged woman molested in bus : Kolkata

A bus driver and conductor were arrested today for allegedly molesting a physically challenged woman inside a minibus.

Kamal Dolui, the conductor, and Ajit Bhunia, the driver, were arrested this afternoon for molesting the woman and trying to extract fare from her, which is illegal, as physically challenged people get a relaxation in bus fare during travel, the police said.

The incident happened on a minibus of Picnic Garden-Howrah route. The woman boarded the bus at Beniapukur and was about to get down at Netaji Indoor Stadium.

But the driver and conductor did not let her get down and pulled her by her hand and demanded that she had to pay the full fare, the police said.

The other passengers of the bus did not protest, sources said.

Later, the woman informed the police over mobile phone and the police stopped the bus, rescued her and arrested the duo.

Source : Business Standard Via  PTI, 24th Dec 2013

Disabled teacher won awards for commitment : CHENNAI

 Polio crippled both his legs at childhood, yet Tamil teacher Manickam did not flinch at the several transfers to far-flung schools in the state through his career, dragging himself on crutches. It was only after his retirement in 2004 that he ‘graduated’ to the more comfortable wheelchair because of age.


Now 67, the teacher keeps travelling on work related to the TARATDAC (Tamil Nadu association for all types of disabled persons and caregivers) in different parts of the state, taking his wife along for support. It was during one such long hop from native Sivaganga to Tirupur last Saturday that Manickam suffered the humiliation of the bus crews.

“I had to change four buses to reach my final destination. A conductor at Dindigul would not allow me to board his bus saying my wheelchair would take space. I waited for an hour to catch the next bus, in which the conductor forced me to pay Rs 73 as luggage for the wheelchair. It hurt me a lot”, said Manickam, showing the tickets  who had won the government’s best teacher award in 2002 and received an award for his short stories in 2006.

S Namburajan of TARATDAC said the state transport secretary B K Prasad had, during their meeting on December 3, assured that the disabled commuters would be treated kindly by the bus crews and they would not be charged extra for carrying their support gear. Despite the top official’s concern for the disabled, most of the drivers and conductors remained insensitive, Namburajan said, adding, “It’s high time the transport corporation authorities sensitise their crews to treat us better”.

A recent state survey found 22 lakh disabled people in Tamil Nadu, almost half of them women. The Jayalalithaa government has been concerned about their special needs and initiated several measures to help them—Manickam nee­ds to pay only 25 per cent bus fare—but it seems that the officials down the line remain indifferent.

Source : Deccan Chronicle , 24th Dec 2013

Mumbai: Number of unauthorised travellers in coaches for the disabled up by 18%

Despite stern action by the Railway Protection Force (RPF), the number of unauthorised persons travelling in coaches specially reserved for the handicapped on Mumbai suburban (Central and Western) railways has gone up by 18 per cent in 2013 as compared to 2012. 

The figures provided by the RPF showed that in 2013, they have arrested 43,349 people for traveling in disabled coaches and had collected a total fine of Rs1.62 crore from the offenders. In 2012, the RPF had booked 36,798 people and the railway court had recovered a total fine of Rs91 lakh from them. This means, the RPF have arrested 6551 more offenders in the current year as compared to the previous year.

At the same time, the court sent 160 offenders to jail in 2013 for not paying the fine whereas in 2012, as many as 130 offenders were sent to jail. 

Jeetendra Karelia, president of Advocacy Group of India, said, “To curb this menace, the Railway Board should increase the fine amount from Rs500 to Rs2000.” Karelia said that he had written to the Railway Board and both the general managers of CR and WR in June 2013 with a request to hike the fine amount.

Karelia also observed that many personnel of Mumbai police in mufti travel in coaches reserved for the disabled and bully those handicapped commuters, who object to their presence.  The RPF must take stern action against these cops who illegally travel in coaches meant for handicapped commuters, he demanded.

The activist also said that often women, who are only one or two months pregnant, travel in the coaches for disabled with their husband or relative for their comfort. He said a pregnant womn must carry a certificate from a government hospital, showing that her she pregnancy is in the advance stage. The railway authority should check such certificates, he added. 

Rajendra Rupnavar, senior divisional security commissioner, RPF, WR, said, “We have been conducting drives against unauthorised persons traveling in coaches reserved for the disabled.”

He added that their aim was to educate and create awareness among the physically fit commuters.

Source : DNA , 23rd Dec 2013

Mute War Cry

In a scene from the documentary Goonga Pehelwan, based on the speech and hearing impaired wrestler Virendra Singh, the directors ask Singh what it's like to be deaf. He flashes a wide smile, and in almost cinematic sign language tells us how women like him better because he's quiet and they empathise with him. He beams at his witty response, and then signals, "God has made me like this, I'm very content with who I am". Singh holds India's first Gold medal for wrestling in the Deaflympics, held in 2005 in Melbourne and he is popularly known in wrestling circles as Goonga Pehelwan. The film, which was screened in Delhi last week, at the India Habitat Centre, is made by three Ahmedabad-based students —Prateek Gupta, Mit Jani and Vivek Chaudhry. It follows Singh as he prepares for his third Deaflympics.

A collage of celebrated sportspeople and athletes, such as Sachin Tendulkar, Kapil Dev and Leander Peas, greet us at the beginning of the film. There's a silence as we're shown Virendra Singh's winning point at Melbourne, but the film is quick to set a jovial tone with colourful opening credits. Goonga Pehelwan was never going to be a film about sympathy. We are given a proper introduction to Singh - through his life before the training and interviews with his uncle and father (where we learn he wasn't born deaf and he kept running back to his village in Haryana as a child). "I barely go out anywhere. While my roommates talk, crack jokes and play cards I sit and watch them grudgingly. But when the wrestling begins, I put all this behind me," Singh says to the camera in sign language. He then flashes  a smile and narrates several humorous anecdotes about his training in Chhatrasal Stadium in Model Town.

Goonga Pehelwan began as a biopic on an unknown athlete, but has now become the carrier for a much larger issue. In September 2012, the three students started researching on Singh and began shooting in January this year.

After 110 days of shadowing him around his tournaments in Rajasthan, UP and Bihar, they approached his family for a more personal insight on Singh. "The film is not just a biopic, it's a campaign against systematic exclusion in various sporting fields. With continued screenings of our film, we hope to start a dialogue," says 23-year-old Gupta, who is a  chartered accounting student. Through the film, the trio have begun a campaign titled Mission Rio16, with the help of their producers, an Ahmedabad-based media organisation called Drishti that deals with social rights. Mission Rio16 aims to help Singh in his quest to reach the Rio Olympics 2016 by fighting the bureaucracy through a Public Interest Litigation filed in the Delhi High Court.

"While filming, we realised through the personal admission of Sushil Kumar and Singh's coach as well, that he is good enough to participate in the Rio Olympics. The reason for his exclusion is only that he cannot hear the beginning whistle to commence the wrestling. There are other cues that are recognised by sports federations abroad, such as a tap on the shoulder, and we want to introduce that in India in time for Singh's participation," says Gupta.

Noted sports lawyer Rahul Mehra has agreed to fight the case pro-bono, and was vocal about his support for the film. "Write about him, watch him, make him part of folklore. People should know what it's like to be Virendra Singh," he said, at the film screening. All this while, Singh sat in a corner, suited and booted, flashing his smile. When we asked him how he felt about a film that was being made on him, he responded, "I'm ecstatic, doesn't it show?

Source : The  Indian Express ,  23rd  Dec 2013

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Minister calls for protection of marginalised‚ disabled children : Lalitpur ( Nepal )

Minister for Women, Children and Social Welfare Riddhi Baba Pradhan has stressed the need to prioritise the protection of physically-challenged children and children from marginalised, indigenous and Dalit communities.

Releasing a preliminary report on the condition of children and responsibility of the state that the Early Childhood Development caucus of the erstwhile Constituent Assembly had prepared four years ago, Minister Pradhan pledged to implement the suggestions that the caucus has made.

She pointed that investment made for children today will produce good citizens tomorrow. On the occasion, former secretary at the Ministry of Education, Jayram Giri, said the report has drawn policymakers’ attention. He added that the government has acknowledged the need for early childhood development.

Joint Secretary at the education ministry, Mahashram Sharma, said child development programmes should also cover the gestation period.

Coordinator of the ECD caucus, Sita Poudel, informed that the caucus had prepared the report by conducting
studies and researches even after the dissolution of the erstwhile CA.

During the report-releasing programme, former lawmakers Angdawa Sherpa, Kunti Shahi, Arbinda Sah and others spoke about current problems, challenges and possibilities of reforms in the field of children’s development.

The caucus had prepared the report with help from Save the Children and Seto Guras Child Development Service.

Source : The Himalayan , 21st Dec 2013 

Puzzles May Offer a Clue to Understanding Autism

People with autism will often enjoy doing puzzles. Their love of puzzles may take many different forms. In fact, the autistic love of puzzles may offer a clue to understanding autism. Many parents of children with autism believe that until and unless medical research finds a cure for autism it is important for us to continue trying to understand autism. The more paths we have to understanding autism, or at least appreciating it, the more parents and teachers will be able to help students and children with autism to feel comfortable.


Today is the 100th anniversary of the crossword puzzle. On this day, journalist, Arthur Wynne, introduced the world to crossword puzzles on the puzzles page of the New York World. So on this day, the birthday of the crossword puzzle, it is appropriate to stop and contemplate the puzzle of autistic perception.

The use of the puzzle piece as a logo for the cause of autism has British origins. It was introduced by the National Autistic Society of the UK in 1963. One interpretation of this logo suggests that autism is a puzzle that needs to be solved. Another interpretation might simply be that people with autism love doing puzzles. Like all phenomena associated with autism, the penchant for working puzzles cannot be strictly defined. It will manifest in different ways among different people. In other words, just because a person has been diagnosed with autism does not mean they will automatically love doing crossword puzzles.

However, if you know someone with autism, then there is a good chance that you might be able to strengthen your bond with them by finding out what kinds of puzzles they might enjoy doing. In some larger sense, the act of playing video games may be considered as a form of puzzle solving. There is certainly a predilection for playing video games among children with autism.
Everything about video gaming requires one to find the best path of action, solve relevant clues, and pursue the challenge with focus. People with autism may often have the ability to go into hyper-focus. If a child with autism goes into hyper-focus to ‘solve’ a video game, a fire truck could ride right by them and they would not notice. Thus, hyper-focus is a common trait among people with autism that lends a great advantage to being able to solve even the most difficult puzzles. Parents and teachers of children with autism would do well to consider that solving puzzles comes naturally to many people with autism. In this way, the act of solving puzzles may actually offer us a clue to understanding autism. At the very least, providing puzzles to, or working puzzles with, people with autism may provide a pleasurable avenue for bonding.

In fact, the more difficult the puzzle is, the more a person with autism might enjoy doing it. There is an amazing characteristic found among people with autism from time to time. While many of us may have enjoyed working a jigsaw puzzle at some time in our lives, there are people with autism who love to do jigsaw puzzles, too. However, they like to turn the puzzle over and solve the blank cardboard side. With no social pictures or themes to get in their way, the blank backside of a jigsaw puzzle provides the kind of thrill a real autistic puzzle master cannot resist.

So, parents and teachers of people with autism might try turning over the jigsaw puzzle pieces to see if that sparks the autistic imagination. If the child likes it, and if they go into hyper-focus to solve it, then it might even be difficult to get them to stop. At the same time, if they like it, the parent or teacher now supplying endless blank jigsaw puzzles in the child’s life may come to be perceived as more of an ally and a genuine part of their support system.

Another version of autistic puzzle mastery can be found in the phenomenon of the autistic savant. The term appeared in print for the first time in a 1978 article in Psychology Today written by Bernard Rimland, Ph.D. Rimland was one of the expert consultants for the movie Rain Man, and he is largely considered to be the grandfather of the modern scientific approach to understanding autism.

Rimland talked about the high fidelity perception of people with autism, and how they had much more difficulty generalizing their perception to navigate social life. This appears at its height in the autistic savants. These people often display uncanny abilities to solve puzzles that no social person could even attempt. For example, there are autistic savants who can instantly tell the day of the week for any date given – even a century ago.

What is difficult for social people to understand is that the more social the puzzle becomes, the more difficult it may become for the person with autism to solve. If autism is a puzzle for social people, it may also be said that social life is a puzzle for people with autism.  Recall that in Rain Man, Dustin Hoffman played Kim Peek, an autistic savant who was able to multiply numbers as fast as a computer and give the correct answer, no matter how large the numbers were. However, he was unable to make change on a dollar. Why could he do one and not the other?

Making change on a dollar is a more complex social transaction that requires more than mathematical computation. It also requires the ability to perform on command, and that kind of social expectation may elude the person with autism. In fact, the stronger the autistic perception, the more difficulty will be encountered in social, transactional, performance-on-command activities.

Research indicates that people with autism tend to excel at, or favor, tasks requiring deductive reasoning. Indeed, their talent for deductive reasoning might be what underlies the phenomenal ability among people with autism to work puzzles. This penchant for deductive thinking may make people with autism seem more like computers than people sometimes. Indeed, an autistic person with super-computer thinking might just be the biggest puzzle master in a parent or teacher’s life. And that’s why puzzles may offer a clue to understanding autism.

By: Alex Durig-------
 Alex is a Ph.D., author of numerous books about autism, experienced as a ghostwriter, business consultant, college professor, in sales and management, and a business owner.

Source : Guardian-Liberty Voice , 21st Dec 2013

Activities bat for facilities for disabled : Bhubaneshwar

With the capital city's markets, parks and public places yet to have facilities for disabled persons, social leaders and urban planners are of the view that the new corporators of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) should begin a drive to ensure the facilities.

The new team of representatives can raise the issue at the corporation meeting and make effort in every ward to create facilities for disabled persons.

"May it be crossing a road, accessing a public office, market or park, the city is yet to be friendly for the disabled. While there is hardly any Braille signage for the blind, there are very few ramps for the wheel-chair bound in government offices and markets," said chairman of Indian Institute of Architect Sanjib Guru.

Although many big government offices have lifts, they don't have a ramp at the entrance, said Sannyash Behera of Odisha Disabled People's Network.

"We had a discussion with BMC official regarding disabled-friendly facilities. BMC had promised to create auditory signals at various places for visually impaired persons. But that has not been implemented. Second, the state government has also not invested enough funds for creating exclusive facilities. Third, the town planning rules are obsolete. They need to be changed so that it is made mandatory to have barrier free access of all disabled person to the public places," said Behera. He said that no traffic signal had a voice guidance system or tactile zebra crossing to negotiate the path by a blind person.

Disabled rights activist Sruti Mohapatra said every ward in the city should have a guide and facilitation centre for the disabled. "Even in private buildings, we should ensure that these have lifts, signage and approach path," said Mohapatra.

Two national highways crisscross the city but the new decongestion plan has nothing for the disabled, said urban planer Piyush Rout. "Though around four underpasses will come up on the highway in city, none will have ramps. These will have steps. There is no special consideration for the disabled but the footpaths being developed along side the NH can be user-friendly to all categories of people," said Rout.

Source : TOI, 22nd Dec 2013

Protecting the Rights of the Disabled : Kochi

Times are changing. The disability rights movement has sunk deep roots in many countries including India, especially over the past decade. It is in many ways a ‘visibility project’. Its prime message is to remind us that people with disabilities are human beings and therefore share the same human rights as everybody else.

Visibility and revaluing the difference of disability

A human rights approach should now be used to restore full civil rights, including adequate safeguards, to persons with disabilities. In other words, they should enjoy all the protections of private freedom that most others in society enjoy. Its goal is to secure acknowledgement that persons with disabilities have a rightful place in the mainstream of life. The achievement of independence and participation on equal terms is not only a desirable goal but also a right.

 Visibility and human rights violations

The next question is how best to characterise human rights violations in the context of disability. It is possible to focus on specific violations like the right to vote, to a fair trial, to education or the right to work, or physical and sexual abuse in institutions. Focusing on violations makes sense, especially when a culprit can be identified and an effective remedy found.

It also makes sense to examine patterns of violations. It is possible to characterise specific violations in terms of the over arching problem of the invisibility of people with disabilities and the need to use rights to counter that legacy.

Visibility and the equal enjoyment of all human rights

More often than not, invisibility has meant that a universal right is simply not applied equally to persons with disabilities. For example, in the case of education, violations have as much to do with the right to an equal and effective education as with the right to education. Likewise, in the case of civil commitment, the relevant principles are not applied equally to persons with mental illness. A reform of the law on mental disability can be campaigned for as requiring restoration of equal rights and equal protection of the rule of law.

The answer to invisibility is an insistence on the equal application of all human rights to people with disabilities. This addresses the need to restore parity for people with disabilities in terms of private freedom and public freedom. It goes a long way towards explaining why the ‘equal opportunity model’ has been the dominant rights model in the context of disability for the last twenty years or so, especially since the adoption of the United Nations Standard Rules on the Equalisation of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities in 1993. The Standard Rules define the notion of equal rights as follows:

The principle of equal rights implies that the needs of each and every individual are of equal importance, that those needs must be made the basis for the planning of societies and that all resources must be employed in such a way as to ensure that every individual has equal opportunity for participation. Persons with disabilities are members of society and have the right to remain within their local communities. They should receive the support they need within the ordinary structures of education, health, employment and social services.

The ‘equal opportunity’ model rests on the assumption that people with disabilities share all human rights - civil, political, economic, social and cultural - with others. While it focuses on the need to increase levels of public freedom, it also has a great deal to say about private freedom and appropriate social support. It places the accent where it should be - on the capacity and willingness of people with disabilities to lead independent lives and play active and productive roles in society.

The answer to invisibility is an insistence on the equal application of all human rights to persons with disabilities.

Human rights should be available to disabled people also The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) is an international instrument that provides persons with disabilities the same human rights that everyone else enjoys. It marks a radical shift in defining and understanding disability. It moves from a medical and social perspective to a human-rights based approach.

The UNCRPD is the first legally binding international instrument which sets out the rights of people with disabilities. It aims to ‘promote, protect and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by all persons with disabilities and to promote respect for their inherent dignity.’ The UNCRPD was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 13, 2006. India ratified the UNCRPD on  October 1, 2007. India was the seventh country and the first significant one to do so, and it came into force on May 3, 2008.

General Principles

Article 3 sets out general principles which should guide the implementation of all articles of the UN CRPD. Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy, including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons; non-discrimination; full and effective participation and inclusion in society; respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity; equality of opportunity; accessibility; equality between men and women; respect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities.

Source : The New  Indian Express , 22nd Dec 2013 

The differently abled demand their space : Sri Lanka

Being politically correct takes so much effort! We call them ‘disabled’, ‘differently abled’, ‘special’, ‘handicapped’, ‘physically challenged’ and even ‘handicapable’! But what do people with disabilities prefer to be called? This question was thrown at the panellists at ‘Kuppiya’- the second panel discussion hosted by the Rotaract Club of the Faculty of Arts of the University of Colombo.

Kuppiya is a Sinhala slang that exists within the Sri Lankan university vernacular, which, more often than not, is only used (and understood) by university students and the alumni. The word which, in its literal sense translates directly to ‘small bottle’ or a ‘small lamp’, is used to refer to an informal self-help group, where one or several students who are better informed of a certain subject area teach the same to the others in the group free of charge. Earlier this month, on the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, another edition of the Kuppiya was hosted under the theme- ‘the disability label.’

Ishan Jalil was born blind. But today he is a Champion of Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Ishan thinks that the term ‘differently-abled’ is just sugar-coating reality. ‘If you really think about it, aren’t we all differently-abled? He asked the audience. Some of us can sing, others can dance or play cricket- we’re all differently abled! We aren’t any different. The term ‘differently-abled, suggests exactly the opposite- it suggests that we’re different, or alien. People with disabilities are not socially disabled. What is important to understand is that disability is simply a part of human diversity and society should learn to accept us for who we are’.

Ishan has almost completed in Bachelor of Arts Degree in International Relations at the Faculty of Arts. He is the President of Young Voices- Sri Lanka an organization advocating for rights of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) supported by Leonard Cheshire Disability. Ishan is also a Senator in the Sri Lanka Youth Parliament a youth activist and a Rotaractor. Many also found out at the Kuppiya- that Ishan is the world’s first born blind oarsman!

The term ‘differently abled’ was first proposed (in the 1980s) as an alternative to terms such as ‘disabled’, handicapped, etc. on the grounds that it gave a more positive message and thus avoided discrimination towards people with disabilities. Since then, the term has gained little currency and has been criticized as both euphemistic and condescending. Ishan says that the phrase was introduced due to the influence of faith-based organizations as a good faith label, but is actually counterproductive and its implications are misleading.

Samitha Samanmali is a practicing doctor at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka who is a wheelchair user. Unlike Ishan, she wasn’t born with her disability. On February 15 (2008), Samitha, then, a 24-year-old 4th year undergraduate of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Colombo, met with an accident while preparing for the Dayata Kirula Exhibition at the BMICH.  She rushed into a temporary steel tent away from the pouring rain when the structure unexpectedly collapsed above her. Samitha was trapped between the iron rods and one pole hit her head causing severe damage to her spinal cord. Her lower body was paralyzed for life. But three years later she successfully completed her MBBS degree and assumed duties as a doctor.

Dr. Samitha thinks that terminology is not important. It’s up to people to decide what they prefer to be called. She thinks that what is actually important is to ensure that people with disabilities are included in all aspects of society. She reiterated that if one is determined to do something they could do anything despite disability.

Having heard from the BA graduate and the MBBS graduate we turned to the science graduate in the panel! Isuru Saminda is a recent graduate of the Faculty of Science of the University of Colombo. Isuru has hearing impairment. Talking to us in sign language Isuru spoke about the need to ensure that individuals with hearing impairment can access services that all citizens are entitled to such as education and employment. He also spoke about the importance of ensuring that there are sign language TV shows, insurance schemes for persons with disabilities etc.. He added ‘it is imperative that at least some doctors, police officers are taught sign language, so they are able to communicate with deaf people’.

Having heard from the three young people in the panel (all products of different faculties of the University of Colombo) we turned to our experts. Cyril Siriwardane was working in the Sri Lanka Air Force when he met with an accident that made him wheelchair bound.  Today he is a renowned activist advocating for the inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Sri Lanka. He spoke about the importance of ensuring that all buildings are accessible to wheelchair users. While, there is a law in place, since the historic Supreme Court verdict in 2009 following the petition filed by Dr. Ajith Perera, the law is often not put into practice. He also spoke about how books/films need to be made available in braille and sign language to benefit those with disabilities.

Most buildings do not have ramps in place to support wheelchair users. Also, washrooms in most buildings are no disable-friendly. People with disabilities have needs, like anyone else. They want to go shopping, use ATMs and occasionally like to go to a cricket match or to the movies- but building constructors often tend to (conveniently) forget this.

Dr. Subhangi Herath who is the Head of the Department of Sociology at the Faculty of Arts disagrees with Dr. Samitha that terminology is not important. She believes that the words used by one to address or refer to another person are important aspects of how you feel about them. She also highlighted that the education sector needs to be more sensitive to the needs of students with disabilities; bringing light to the constraints faced by undergraduates with disabilities in Sri Lankan universities.

Finally, Commissioner of Human Rights Dr. Prathibha Mahanamahewa spoke about the various steps taken by the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka to guarantee the rights of persons with disabilities. However, he highlighted that, even though the de jure law exists, there are many loopholes in terms of implementation.  He pointed out that although the rights of persons with disabilities have been guaranteed by law, these rights are often neglected. ‘We should take steps to demolish all buildings that do not follow the necessary steps to make them accessible to persons with disabilities!’ he said.

While Sri Lanka has signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, it hasn’t been ratified due to the absence of the local law to give effect to it. People with disabilities include senior citizens, (soon a fifth of our population), pregnant mothers, those recovering after surgery or illnesses and injured war heroes. Groups such as women with disabilities, or a PWD belonging to an ethnic minority maybe doubly discriminated.

In India, following historic court ruling, PWDs were guaranteed the right to vote- which is perhaps the most fundamental of all political rights. This means that ramps were installed in polling stations, braille numbers were in place at polling booths, and members of the electoral staff were trained. Sri Lanka, however, is far behind. All important publications- including the Constitution the country should be available in braille and sign language interpretation be made available at all national events.

People with disabilities are not passive recipients of services – they are an integral component of the workforce. Our panel at Kuppiya which featured some amazing speakers bore witness to this very fact.

Source : The Nation , 22nd Dec 2013

AIF begins vocational training for differently abled : COIMBATORE


Training is imparted in seven States, including Tamil Nadu, Karnataka besides New Delhi.


American India Foundation (AIF), made of India diaspora in the United States, is imparting vocational training for differently abled youth in seven States, including Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, besides New Delhi. With the training curriculum being framed after consulting local industries, the placement rate was nearly 74 per cent.

M.A.Ravi Kumar, CEO of American India Foundation, interacting with students of Corporation High School for Deaf in Coimbatore.

M.A.Ravi Kumar, CEO of American India Foundation, interacting with students of Corporation High School for Deaf in Coimbatore


The foundation that was currently running five major initiatives had benefited 1.7 million disadvantaged persons in 22 States, according to its Chief Executive Officer M.A. Ravi Kumar, who was in India for the past few days to review ongoing projects.

In an interview to The Hindu here on Friday, he said that around 6,000 differently abled persons in the age group of 18 to 25 have already been trained in recent months.

Despite an initial reluctance, companies were now willing to recruit differently abled youngsters, due to their high levels of concentration and lower attrition levels. The initiative was part of the Market Aligned Skills Training programme, in which the foundation went to the urban slums and identified socially and economically disadvantaged youth such as school dropouts. A market survey was carried out in the locality to identify the industries and ascertain their job requirements. Following this, local community leaders and Government departments identified candidates and the Foundation gave them a 90-day training in vocations such as tailoring, automobiles mechanical works, computer skills or hospitality.

A 30-day internship was also arranged followed by a placement drive. More than one lakh youngsters have been trained under this initiative so far.

*  The initiative was part of the Market Aligned Skills Training programme of the AIF.
*Around 6,000 differently abled persons in the age group of 18 to 25 have already been trained in recent months.

  • Source : The Hindu , 22nd Dec 2013

    Campaign against polio begins in Valley : Kathmandu

    The government in partnership with national and international partners launched a two-day 15th National Polio Immunisation Campaign today.

    The anti-polio campaign will cover 68 districts, including Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur in the Kathmandu Valley, in the first phase. The second phase will be conducted on January 25-26, 2014. In the seven remaining districts, the first phase of the campaign will be held on March 22-23, 2014 and the second phase on April 26-27. The campaign aims to cover 42, 26,996 children throughout the country by setting up 40,447 vaccination centres and mobilising 80,948 volunteers. The government has set up more than 300 vaccination centres for the purpose in the Kathmandu Valley. The programme covered all VDCs, municipalities, wards, and high-risk areas today.

    Tomorrow, the volunteers will conduct a door-to-door campaign to make sure that no child is left out. Left-out children will get oral polio drops at home. The government doesn’t want any under-fives to miss out the campaign.

    According to the Child Health Division, Nepal is close to becoming a polio-free country. If all goes well, Nepal may be declared a polio-free country in February, 2014. The last polio outbreak in the country was reported in Mahottari in February 2010, followed by a second outbreak in Rautahat, and the most recent case was reported on August 30, 2010.

    Source : The Himalayan , 22nd Dec 2013

    Still in good humour after a long wait : Bangalore

    It was a programme organised by the Karnataka Voice of Physically Handicapped (KVPH) to extend support to the All India Congress Committee (AICC) vice-president Rahul Gandhi and start “Mission Rahul Gandhi for Prime Minister” campaign.

    People with disabilities arriving at the Karnataka Voice of Physically Handicapped awareness campaign in Bangalore on Saturday. Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

    People with disabilities arriving at the Karnataka Voice of Physically Handicapped awareness campaign in Bangalore on Saturday


    However, Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president G. Parameshwara, who was to launch the campaign, kept them waiting for nearly three hours. He finally did not even turn up for the event. Congress Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao, who was initially not scheduled to attend the programme, inaugurated it at around 2 p.m.

    However, people with disabilities did not waste the empty dais. They used it to showcase their talent and keep themselves engaged. While some sang songs, others played instruments to entertain the audience.

    N. Sudhindra, KVPH State president, who submitted a memorandum to Mr. Gundu Rao, said there was a need to set up a separate ministry and a development board for the welfare of the disabled.

    He appealed to the government to ensure that 5 per cent of the budgetary allocation in each department be spent for the welfare of the disabled. The other demands included recruiting more among them in various departments, boards and corporations. They also demanded a separate ration card for disabled persons, extending the existing bus pass facility to the disabled for travelling across the State. He also urged the government to regularise services of disabled persons who have been appointed on a contract basis. 

    Source : The Hindu , 22nd Dec 2013 

    Intruder caught, handed over to Pakistani rangers : JAISALMER

    In a humane gesture, BSF jawans, who caught a physically challenged and speech impaired Pakistani intruder at the international border adjoining Ganganagar on Friday evening, and handed him over to the Pakistani rangers.

    According to BSF officials, jawans of the 112th battalion at Kohli border post at the international border adjoining Karanpur in Sriganganagar district saw a Pakistani intruder entering India on Friday evening. Despite stern warnings from jawans, the intruder entered into the Indian territory.

    The intruder was picked up and up on inquiry, he was found to be speech impaired and illiterate. He could not even write his name or address. He was also physically challenged and on medical check up he was found to be speech impaired, and it was decided to hand him back to Pakistan.

    Source : TOI, 22nd Dec 2013

    Saturday, 21 December 2013

    With autism on the rise in India, Applied Behaviour Analysis brings hope : Chennai

    At a hotel in Chennai, parents of autistic children are busy taking lessons on a new child-friendly teaching methodology. The Applied Behaviour Analysis, ABA as it's called, is internationally known for shaping behaviour and developing functional skills among autistic children in a scientific and measurable way.

    Chennai: With autism on the rise in India, Applied Behaviour Analysis brings hope

    Ms Smita Awasthi, founder of the ABA Association, told NDTV "As a behaviour analyst, I would demonstrate to parents how to deal with behaviour and how to develop good behaviour among children with autism".

    India is witnessing a drastic rise in autism - from one among every 10,000 newborns, the number has now risen to one in every 150. But modern interventions like Applied Behaviour Analysis are only restricted to cities; thousands of autistic children remain undiagnosed in rural India.

    Ms Gita Srikant, Director of We Can, a school for children with autism, says, "Here is where we need a huge support from the government. They have access to the remotest villages and their primary health centres to reach out to parents".

    Parents who have observed the impact of the new methodology on their children welcome it. "Before ABA came into our life we could not find out what motivation helped my child to learn," says Ms Anupriya Sinha, a parent.

    Through a short film, popular star couple Surya and Jyotika have been raising awareness on autism. Celebrated singer Bombay Jayashri too has joined hands. "Children with autism are so honest. Whenever I have had the opportunity to give music classes to autistic children, I feel fulfilled. I feel music has reached where it belongs". 

    Source : ND TV , 21st Dec 2013 

    Man gets 10 yr's RI for raping deaf and dumb athlete - ( RAIGANJ , West Bengal )

    A North Dinajpur district court today sentenced a 28-year-old man to 10 years rigorous imprisonment for raping a deaf and dumb athlete in June.

    Fast track court judge T K Mandal convicted Ranjit Das, an auto rickshaw driver, and awarded the punishment to him.

    According to the prosecution, the 25-year-old athlete was was going to Hemtabad from Raiganj by Das' auto rickshaw on June 23.

    When all other passengers of the auto rickshaw got down, Das took her near a forest and raped her. Thereafter he took her to his house at Hemtabad and raped her again.

    The victim, a state level athlete, filed a written complaint to the police and he was arrested the next day.

    Source : Business Standard , 21st Dec 2013 

    Manas Sangam's 45th annual fest on Dec 29 : KANPUR

    Renowned authors and poets from across the world would be participating in the 45th annual festival of literary organisation Manas Sangam here on December 29.

    The event would also see mountaineer Arunima Sinha, the first female amputee to summit Mount Everest, being honoured.

    Badrinarayan Tiwary, founder of Manas Sangam, today said that this year, the institution will present Manas Sangam Sahitya Award 2013 and Manas Sangam Lalit Kala Award 2013.

    Union Minister Sriprakash Jaiswal would be the chief guest.

    Source :  Business Standard , 20th Dec 2013

    Research suggests nasal spray hormone treatment effective for autism

    Nasal spray containing oxytocin, an empathy hormone, may lessen the severity of symptoms in people suffering from a mild form of autism, a study by researchers at the University of Tokyo has found.

    A therapist talks with a child at a facility for children with a developmental disorder and other disabilities in Saitama Prefecture. (Asahi Shimbun file photo)
    A therapist talks with a child at a facility for children with a developmental disorder and other disabilities in Saitama Prefecture.


    The research using the nasal spray to treat adults with mild autism who do not have any other form of mental disability found improved communication skills among the subjects, the researchers said.

    The research was published in the online U.S. medical journal JAMA Psychiatry on Dec. 19.

    The researchers hope to see continued benefits from prolonged treatment and check on any side effects so it can be used for improving symptoms in an autism patient's daily life.

    “It is significant that the effectiveness of a medicinal treatment was confirmed," said Masanari Itokawa, who heads a project for schizophrenia and affective disorders research at the Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Medical Science. "This could be a step to finding a drug for treatment.”
    He added, “Still, there is room for further research as to the effectiveness of the treatment for mentally disabled patients."

    It is estimated that at least one in 100 Japanese suffer from some form of an autism spectrum disorder, which include Asperger's syndrome and autism.

    Being a developmental disorder, it often causes problems with social skills and communication, and makes patients unable to understand and recognize other people's feelings.

    A research team led by Hidenori Yamasue, professor of neuropsychiatry at the university, studied the benefits of oxytocin, a hormone with powerful effects on brain activity linked to the formation of social bonds.

    Researchers applied nasal spray containing the hormone to 40 adult males with mild autism who do not suffer from any other form of mental disability. Immediately following the application, they conducted a psychological test to assess to what degree the subject identified the emotions of others--through language, facial expressions and tone of voice.

    They found the subjects’ emotion recognition levels improved by about 6 percent shortly after the nasal spray was given.

    While the number that could identify emotions before nasal spraying was about 84 percent of the healthy adults, it increased to about 94 percent after the application was given.

    An MRI brain scan found increased activity of the medial prefrontal area of the subject's brain, which is related to understanding emotions, compared with the state of the brain before the nasal spray was given.

    Source : The Asahi Shimbum , 21st Dec 2013

    Friday, 20 December 2013

    12 students of blind school shortlisted for treatment at Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Memorial Medical College : KANPUR

    The district health department and the department of ophthalmology, Ganesh Shankar Vidyarthi Memorial Medical College (GSVM) conducted free eye check of the students of blind school in Nehrunagar on Friday. The eye specialists checked 66 students suffering from total blindness while 12 students with signs of recovery were shortlisted by the doctors who will be given special treatment at the medical college.

    Headed by HoD (ophthalmology), GSVM, Dr RC Gupta, the camp was conducted by eye specialist Dr Priya Gupta, Dr Saumya Pandey and Dr Shipra Singh. The doctors checked the blindness level of the students and also treated various other problems related to their eyes.

    The experts shortlisted 12 students who can recover with proper treatment. The GSVM team decided to give special treatment to the selected students.

    The health department issued visually impaired certificates to 16 students of the blind school. The blindness certificates were issued by Dr RC Arya, nodal officer, Viklang Board and Dr S Mohanti.

    Indrajeet Singh, Principal Blind School appreciated the initiative. The students thanked the team and also promised them to take proper care of their eyes as recommended by experts.

    Source : TOI , 21st Dec 2013

    Differently abled people arrested : ERODE

    Seventeen persons with disabilities were arrested on Thursday when they attempted to move into the Railway Junction as a group shouting slogans demanding that the Southern Railway hold talks with representatives of the Federation of Differently Abled Associations, who had staged a demonstration at the Chennai Central Railway Station on Wednesday, protesting against encroachment of an exclusive parking space meant for the disabled people.

    The protestors led by S. Durairaj, president of Erode District Disabled Welfare Association, demanded provision of basic facilities, including lavatories and parking lots for the disabled in all stations.

    They wanted stringent action against able-bodied people who occupied seats in coaches meant for the disabled. Seats must be earmarked for the disabled in three compartments in every train: the coach behind the engine, and the other two in the centre part and last compartment.

    The position of compartments in each train must be announced through the public address system or indicated on the notice board. Others utilising the earmarked seats must be fined, the protestors said and sought priority for the disabled at reservation counters.
    The arrested persons were released later in the day.

    Source : The Hindu , 20th Dec 2013

    ORBIT shows it can deliver : TIRUCHI

    For the first time, the organisation has put together a mounting structure..

    Members of ORBIT demonstrating fabrication of a mounting structure for solar-powered street light, in Tiruchi on Monday. Photo: R.M. Rajarathinam

    Members of ORBIT demonstrating fabrication of a mounting structure for solar-powered street light, in Tiruchi on Monday


    The Organisation for Rehabilitation of Blind in Tiruchi (ORBIT), a factory run by the visually-challenged and hearing impaired persons, has proven its mettle in fabricating the mounting structure for solar-powered street lights.

    Workers of ORBIT have recently fabricated a mounting structure based on the design suggested by Supertech Enterprises, Tiruchi, a green energy appliances dealer.

    “This is the first time that the ORBIT had obtained orders for making such support structure. We hope we would get more orders from solar-powered equipment firms,” said I. Raja Mohamed, manager of ORBIT.

    “This is a pilot project entrusted upon ORBIT and the work was up to industrial standards. And we have decided to use the mounting structure, ” says T. Vivek Murali, Head — Business Operations of Supertech Enterprises.

    He chanced to visit the factory, founded decades ago, and noticed the extraordinary skills possessed by the workers in producing industrial appliances.

    There was a growing awareness about green energy, added Mr. Murali.

    “We understood the requirement and, using our expertise, we completed the work within three days,” says S. Saravanan, R. Ramkumar, and R. Karthick Kumar, the team involved in fabricating the structure. 

    Source : The Hindu , 17th Dec 2013 

    8000 persons with mental retardation registered every year : NEW DELHI

    On an average, 8,000 persons with mental retardation from across the country are registered every year at the National Institute for the Mentally Handicapped Headquarters and its three regional centres, government said today.

    "On an average in a year, 8,000 persons with mental retardation, including mentally retarded women with children, from across the country are registered at NIMH Secunderabad and its three regional centres and Model Special Education centre at New Delhi," Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment P Balram Naik said in a written reply in Rajya Sabha.

    The three regional centres are in Navi Mumbai, New Delhi and Kolkata. The minister also said around 35 per cent of registered cases were that of women.

    Naik said the service provided to them included detailed diagnostic assessment by a multi-disciplinary team consisting of doctors, clinical psychologists, special educators, speech therapists and others.

    "The department of Disability Affairs under its Deendayal Disability Rehabilitation Scheme also provides financial support to voluntary organisation extending various services, including those to mentally retarded persons," Naik said.

    As per figures presented in Rajya Sabha, Rs 3.91 crore has been released to NIMH under plan head under DDRS in 2012-13 in comparison to Rs 7.54 crore in 2011-12 and Rs 11.67 crore in 2010-11.

    Similarly, Rs 45.99 crore has been released to different NGOs for 2012-13, the minister said.

    Source : Business Standard Via PTI , 18th Dec 2013 

    Children with special needs seek 'inclusive Christmas' : LAMKA

    Students and teachers of The Malsawm Initiative, a school for children with special needs today greeted the people, 'Merry Christmas' announcing that it is Christmas time � a time for celebration but with a reminder of their wish for an 'inclusive Christmas' .

    Sitting atop a customised jeeps and vans, donning the Santa Clause cap, students of the special school alongside their teachers � three of which are volunteers deputed by the United Nations, played Christmas songs even as they delivered their Christmas greetings along the streets.

    Escorted by two men dressed as Santa, the students on carol gifted sweets to children and onlookers, calling on them that their Christmas be an inclusive one.

    Children with special needs seek 'inclusive Christmas'
    Children with special needs seek 'inclusive Christmas'

    With the advent of Christmas, street carols have begun to make its way into the streets here at night but today's Carol by the special school has raised the pitch a step higher crossing every nook and corner of the town.

    Though still sort in having its own building, TMI has scaled numerable heights in a few months of its inception, drawing the recognition of many, including that of the United Nations.

    Just weeks back, it has started an extensive survey to collect details of persons with disabilities in all villages across the district with completion target in two years.

    Meanwhile, the district administration Churachandpur yesterday began the process for granting 14 days wages for all Job Card holders in the district prior to Christmas.

    The wages which will stand a couple of thousand comes at a time when the Christian community prepares to celebrate their biggest festival, much to the relief of the poverty ridden families.

    Source : E-Pao , 18th Dec 2013

    Pregnant woman assaulted by handicapped female inside Mumbai local train

    Eight months pregnant Seema Gupta  was assaulted by a handicapped female passenger for traveling in a compartment reserved for the physically disabled people on the Virar-bound local on December 5.

    Pregnant woman assaulted by handicapped female inside Mumbai local train

    25-year old Seema, a physiotherapist by profession, boarded Virar-bound train from Bandra station for work.

    The victim alleged  she was standing inside the compartment when a lady asked her to stand properly as she was taking support of the seat after experiencing some pain.

    The same lady first punched Seema and then slapped her after getting up from her seat. Seema collapsed after the slap.

    When Seema protested, the handicapped lady told her she was  not supposed to travel in a coach reserved for the handicapped.

    The co-passengers of the compartment informed the railway police who turned up and took Seema with them.

    She was given medical attention. The complaint has been forwarded to Bandra Police Station. 

    Source : India TV News , 18th Dec 2013