Sunday, 28 August 2016
"I am not ready to live my life any lesser than others," Rejoy says.
As part of its cooperation with the Ministry of Social Development (MoSD), Oman India Fertiliser Company signed three agreements to provide prosthetic devices worth RO50,000 to physically challenged on Thursday.
The agreement was signed by Ahmed bin Saeed al Mahrubi, director of finance, Omifco and officials of three charities, Oman Association for the Disabled, Al Noor Association for the Blind and Omani Society for the Hearing Impaired. Mahrubi said the agreements will not only help people with disability, but also promote their integration into the society.
Sultan bin Nasser al Amiri, head of the Board of Directors of Omani Society for Hearing Impaired, said that the agreement was important for the association as it will help meet requirements of the hearing impaired, specially students who are pursuing higher education.
Sultan bin Ahmed al Sabahi, deputy chairman of Al Noor Association said that the grant will help provide prosthetic as well assistive devices for the blind. Yahya bin Abdullah al Amiri, head of the Board of Directors, Oman Association for the Disabled, thanked MoSD and the company for its continued support. H E Dr Yahya bin Badr al Maawali, Under Secretary in MoSD, represented the ministry at the signing.
Source : Muscat Daily , 28th Aug 2016
The disabled-friendly areas should be colour demarcated and texture demarcated so that even the visually impaired can have easy access, says Anjlee Agarwal
The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad is an inspiration when it comes to everything related to management and even architecture. But that can't be said of its 'disabled friendliness' if the speech of a keynote speaker at a Smart City Conclave held on the new campus is anything to go by. Speaking at the conclave on Universal Design and Accessibility in Smart City organised on the new IIMA campus, Anjlee Agarwal, who uses a wheel chair, said, "The new campus of IIMA is unsuitable for disabled like me." Agarwal, an executive director and access consultant of Samarthyam, pointed out that though the campus had ramps and special areas for the disabled, failure to colour and texture demarcate these sections made it difficult to access.
Samarthyam is a Delhi-based organization that promotes implementation of design accessibility. Recounting her experience at IIMA, she claimed that she barely escaped tumbling down a cemented platform on campus because she mistook the steps for the ramp as it merged with the flooring, making it difficult for her to distinguish it. She said, "On Friday, I was on campus and escaped falling down.
The ramp and the cement platform merged at a place and since they were of the same colour, I couldn't tell where the ramp started. This is why it is important to colour demarcate the areas for the physically challenged. I shouldn't have to hunt for it, it should be easily visible." The conclave supported by the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment focused on bringing together all stakeholders to discuss challenges and way forward for accessibility in Smart City. Parag Panchal, a participant, said, "Accessibility should be implemented, not just discussed.
I use crutches and I found the floors to be too slippery. One could easily fall if not extremely careful. It was difficult for me to balance myself on crutches." Agarwal said that having a symbolic ramp or making toilets that are accessible for the disabled doesn't make a place disabled-friendly. She said, "IIMA is a premier institute that has become a model for institutes across the country. It is astonishing and sad that the institute has failed to factor in accessibility for the visually impaired as well as the speech and hearing impaired.
The campus has some areas that are created for those with locomotive disabilities but it has a long way to go before it becomes disabled-friendly." She added that her organisation had audited buildings and conducted a workshop with architects on IIMA campus in 2008, suggesting ways to make buildings disabled-friendly. "It is sad that eight years later, nothing has changed." Agarwal suggested that apart from making ramps, the disabledfriendly areas should be colour demarcated and texture demarcated so that even the visually impaired can have easy access. "We will suggest these changes to the IIMA officials. Since it is a premier institute, it would be nice if it becomes a model for all the architects across the country."
Speaking on the issue, Professor Ashis Jalote Parmar who is the brain behind the conclave said, "The report that Anjlee is talking about is with the management. Restoration work is going on the old campus and it will take some time to implement the suggestions. But we have still made some temporary ramps on campus so that people with locomotive disabilities don't suffer." Parmar who spent three months setting up the event said, "Based on my research on accessibility, the Union Ministry of Social Justice invited me to comment on their accessibility policy.
I gave them my suggestions which were received favourably and Isought research grant. The ministry officials agreed and supported in conducting this conclave, bringing different ministries together." Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner Mukesh Kumar who delivered a talk in the second session of the conclave and interacted with the participants said, "Such conclaves are important to sensitise people about accessibility. I believe such conclaves help in understanding the difficulties that disabled face." Deepinder Singh, from Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology was also one of the speakers at the conclave.
Source : Ahmedabad Mirror , 28th Aug 2016
Accustomed to hand-held fans in his village in Bihar, Kumar now finds himself operating a giant, six-winged electric fan at New Delhi Railway Station. His new job profile, he says, makes him feel like a “hero”
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is planning to "update" its affiliation byelaws for schools to usher in more transparency and to bring them effectively in tune with legislations like Right to Education Act and Persons with Disabilities Act.
CBSE chairperson R K Chaturvedi told reporters here that there is a need to update the existing norms and bring them "in tune" with the existing laws.
"We are planning to look at the byelaws and make them more compatible with the existing legislations. The government will also bring in the New Education Policy in the coming days. We have to ensure that our norms are in consonance with the overall policy," Chaturvedi said at the sidelines of CBSE conference on "Examination reform for Inclusive Education."
He said the RTE Act allows children with special needs to pursue mainstream education, but most of them are forced to go to special schools.
"Inclusion", Chaturvedi emphasised, rejects the use of special schools or classrooms to segregate the differently abled children from other students.
"Generally, the schools use the inclusion model for selected students with mild to moderate special needs. Fully inclusive schools do not separate general education and special education curriculum, instead, education curriculum is restructured in such a way that all students learn," he said.
Chaturvedi also said that section 26 of 'The persons with Disabilities Act, 1995' mandates the provision of free and compulsory education to be offered to all children with disabilities up to minimum age of 18 years.
He also said that the affiliation bye-laws of the Board insists on making the school barrier-free, provisioning for ramps, lifts, etc and directs that every school shall promote inclusion of student with disabilities or special needs.
Officials also said that there are a issues ranging from inclusivity to complaints related to demands of capitation fees to issue related to heavy school bags and undue homework, etc which are being faced by the board.
Source : The New Indian Express,23rd Aug 2016
“While the entire smart cities (project) is data- driven project, there is no data on accessibility. Since there is no data, there is very less likelihood of including it into the indicators," said, Subhash Chandra Vashishth
Smart City Project.
“The IT infrastructure currently employed in corporates and banks etc that is usable by mainstream needs to be usable by all, which is where the gap really lies. For example, if you use a software in a bank, its usability by a blind person is not taken into consideration. And what it leads to is that no blind person is then placeable in that bank. Secondly, there are certain key building blocks for IT infrastructure and accessibility. One of them is this text to speech technology and it doesn’t work for us in Indian languages despite India becoming an IT hub of the world. Lots of research is happening through labs, but different models need to be brought in,” said Dipendra Manocha, managing trustee, Saksham Trust.
“The entire framework for smart cities is looking at how to provide IT infrastructure that is smarter, but who are the people going to use it? Especially children, old people, women etc, and people with disabilities who are not that smart. People creating these smart cities should also look at what unsmart people we are planning for in terms of programme, plan, delivery accessibility and usage. The smart cities mission misses out on the accessibility and inclusivity bit as many people who are not IT savvy, economically backward,” said Anjlee Agarwal, executive director, Samarthyam.
Source : The Indian Express, 28th Aug 2016
Of late, conversations on gender diversity have found their much deserved place in Indian corporate boardrooms. With the government mandating a woman director on company boards, organisations have made a beeline for capable women leaders who can add strategic value to an institution’s growth.
Barring a handful of organisations that have embraced diversity in its true spirit, the conversations on diversity in India are largely based on gender and focused on getting more women in the workforce. Pause for a second. Are we not being myopic? Why limit diversity to gender?
How many of us work in organisations where we have a colleague who is visually challenged or physically differently-abled on the autism spectrum or is dyslexic? Perhaps with the exception of a few IT companies and diversity champions such as Wipro and TCS which have 0.3 percent and 0.2 percent of their employee workforce with the differently-abled respectively, most organisations have a long way to go. What could be the reasons?
The underlying reason is our inability to understand and appreciate those who are different from us.
Yet, a few organisations, both large and small, have embedded diversity in their genetic coding. These organisations have hired those who are often rejected as they do not fit the definition of ‘normal’.
Mirakle Couriers, a for-profit social enterprise founded by Dhruv Lakra, a Saïd School-Oxford alumnus has 50 hearing challenged employees. The firm, with an impressive roster of clients such as Amazon, IDFC, Writer Corporation and Aditya Birla Group, competes with the big guns of the courier industry on efficiency and cost — not sympathy.
In an industry where appearance, impression and efficiency is table stakes, Lemon Tree Hotels and Costa Coffee have proven beyond doubt that workplace diversity can thrive in non-technology companies and in customer-facing roles too.
How then can we push the envelope and have a truly diverse workforce?
It begins by changing our mindset. It is important for us to respect diversity. We need to respect someone not only because he is smart or talented, but also if that person is different. We need to respect difference and move beyond traditional thinking. Organisations can do this by creating an environment of a shared language and values so that diverse people can communicate and exchange ideas with each other.
Organisations with diverse workforces rank high among job seekers as it is evident that these organizations do not practice employment discrimination. When an organisation has employees from a truly inclusive and diverse workforce, it enhances creativity, innovation and approach to problem-solving. No longer will the organisation be represented by a homogeneous group, but by people who will think different and have varied life experiences.
Globally, across industries, the most creative organisations are those that have moved beyond philanthropic endeavour or desirous of being seen as ‘doing good’ by hiring diverse folks. These organisations foster a culture of diversity of beliefs, experiences and don’t work to ‘normalise’ everyone. This helps in building the brand reputation of the employer as well as market competitiveness.
SAP Labs is committed to having 1 percent of their workforce with employees who are autistic. Indigo Airlines hired a paraplegic employee for a customer facing role and Mphasis has supported the Office of Disability Services at IIM Bangalore as a single point of contact for student with special needs.
Lacking in policy
Unfortunately, in India, the apathy towards the differently-abled starts right from school. Despite the Right To Education Act, most schools- government or private, find some or the other excuse to keep the differently-abled away. Either it is the lack of infrastructure or teachers who do not have the right training to deal with the differently-abled. The result is a huge population of children growing up as adults just like you and me, eventually taking up senior management roles with absolutely no clue of how to be comfortable around the differently-abled. The data on diversity in organisations is proof of this sad reality.
The other challenge is the definition of the word ‘disability’. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014 is attempting to widen the scope of this definition and address many challenges that could be a harbinger of hope for those who are different. However, the Bill still continues to be in the review stage.
It’s not enough to have good intent. What is needed is action. Will it once again take another legislation for diversity and inclusion? I strongly believe that is the only way to shake up the system.
The Accessible India campaign launched by the BJP Government with an audacious goal of making 50 percent of all government buildings in the national capital region and in state capitals fully accessible with ramps, rails, wheelchair access for the disabled by July 2018 is a good beginning.
Private enterprises should also come forward and rejig existing infrastructure for the differently-abled. Disability advocates believe six months are more than adequate to develop a robust plan-to-execution template.
In order to usher a cultural change, there is a need to start thinking and acting at the grassroots level – sensitize children, teachers and parents; mandate every school to reserve seats for children who are different, because if it were not for Stephen Hawking’s extraordinary achievement and talent, chances are we would have seen disability first and not the talent. Did you know that Italy is the only European country that passed a law way back in 1971 which granted children the right to be educated in common schools and over the years abolished special schools thereby enrolling almost all disabled and differently-abled pupils (over 99 percent) in mainstream schools?
With more than 27 million differently-abled in India, it’s high time the government pushes the pedal of reforms for this community of minorities that is immensely talented but lives with a label each day of their life.
The author works for RPG Enterprises. He is a student of trends and initiatives on diversity and inclusion in schools and organisations.
Source : First Post , 27th Aug 2016
Sign language, a relatively unexplored domain, will now have an exclusive course in the city. National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH) in Akkulam here is all set to launch a diploma course in sign language from October 1.
The course is aimed at training students in the core elements of Indian sign language (ISL). There are three levels in ISL, level A, level B and level C. Level C is the highest level. The students will be trained in all the three levels in a course spanning one year. Students who have completed graduation can apply for the course.
Source: TOI , 26th Aug 2016
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Summary: The judge also passed a direction to transfer Manoj to a home managed by a private trust in Madurai with proper protection. Manoj Rajan, the only son of industrialist E.J. After the intervention of the High Court, police traced Manoj and lodged him back in the home on July 23. Prakash also directed the State Nodal Officer, District Mental Health Programme, Tamil Nadu to liaise between the court and NIMHANS, and to coordinate process by visiting the institution. The court then posted the case to September 2, for further hearing.
Says mental status of Manoj Ranjan essential for a just decision in the case : Twenty days after assuming the role of a parent of a 34-year-old deaf-mute man, who was allegedly abducted by his former wife Priya Darshini in an attempt to swindle his vast properties, and ordering a CB-CID probe into the incident, the Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the authorities to transfer Manoj Rajan to the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bangalore, to gauge his mental development. Justice P.N. Prakash also directed the State Nodal Officer, District Mental Health Programme, Tamil Nadu to liaise between the court and NIMHANS, and to coordinate process by visiting the institution. Manoj Rajan, the only son of industrialist E.J. Rajan and the sole legal heir for properties worth crores of rupees, was kidnapped by his former wife who remarried him, soon after the death of his father. The court made the observation on a plea moved by Ananth, who claimed to be the guardian of Manoj after he was allegedly kidnapped from a Charity Home for Mentally Retarded in Gudalur, Nilgiris, on May 4, 2016. After the intervention of the High Court, police traced Manoj and lodged him back in the home on July 23.
During the further course of hearing, it came to the light that when Manoj was in the custody of Priya Darshini, the title of 11,772 square feet property belonging to him was transferred to a third party and the transaction was registered even without original documents of the property. The judge also passed a direction to transfer Manoj to a home managed by a private trust in Madurai with proper protection. When the plea came up for hearing, noting that the mental status of Manoj Rajan had to be determined by a competent authority as that was essential for the just decision of the case , the judge directed the transfer to NIMHANS. Justice Prakash further directed the Deputy Superintendent of Police, CB-CID to proceed with the investigation in all earnestness to recover the sum of Rs.1.67 crore, alleged to be received by Manoj in the dubious property transaction without giving any room for tampering and disappearance of evidence. The court then posted the case to September 2, for further hearing.
Source: Nyooz Via The Hindu , 25th Aug 2016
Saturday, 20 August 2016
Revealing the figures of employment generation in the state, the Himachal Pradesh government on Thursday said that it had employed over 60,000 youth in the last three years.
“Employment to more than 60,000 persons has been provided in government as well as private sectors during last three years,” a government release stated, adding that, “jobs to more than 27,000 unemployed youth were provided in government sector alone”.
The government said: “Skill Development Allowance Scheme has been started to enhance the employability of youth”.
“Under the scheme, an allowance of Rs.1,000 per month for youth undergoing skill training and Rs.1,500 per month for physically challenged was being given for duration of training,” it added.
According to the government, “it has spent Rs.86.64 crore under the scheme so far”.
“Any unemployed bonafide Himachali between the age group of 16 to 36 years with family income of less than Rs.2 lakh per annum can avail the benefit of this scheme,” the government stated.
It added that it is “focusing on rapid industrialization for strengthening the economic structure of the state as well as to expand employment avenues in the private sector”.
“Single window clearance and monitoring authority has approved 267 new industrial units during last three years which would provide employment to more than 26,000 persons,” it said.
Besides, the government stated that to help youth make right career decisions, “guidance and career counseling was also being provided to the youth in schools and colleges in the state with the help of experts”.
Source : The Statesman , 18th August 2016
City MLA Vanamadi Venkateswara Rao on Wednesday selected beneficiaries for the 492 houses that were built under the Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP) at a programme held at the Nirmiti Kendra in Parlopeta.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Rao advised the beneficiaries not to sell or rent the houses allocated for them, as the government registered all the details of the beneficiaries and it would keep a tab on the use of the utility of the houses. Referring to the lottery, he said that among the beneficiaries 19 were physically challenged, for whom flats in the ground floor would be allocated. Under the housing for all programme, he said the Central government allocated 4,600 houses to the city for which the officials received 20,000 applications from the eligible. The houses would be constructed in 47 acres of land belonged to the Port and the foundation stone was already laid by Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu during his visit to the city early this year. Project Director of the Housing D. Selvaraj said that under the IHSDP phase-II, 492 houses were constructed in an extent of three acres by spending Rs. 12.3 crore. Municipal Commissioner Sk. Aleem Basha and other officials were present.
Source : The Hindu , 18th August 2016
Labour Minister Santosh Lad has said that enforcement of the Minimum Wages Act was under way.
Responding to questions from press persons after the Independence Day celebrations here on Monday, Mr. Lad said that the department officials have been enforcing the Act covering 26 sectors.
“A large section of the working class would be benefitted by it as their wages have been enhanced considerably,” he added.
Insuring drivers, cleaners and conductors in private transport sector was another major endeavour of the department, which has a data of around 25 lakh people, and this scheme is being implemented in a phased manner, he said.
Later, participating in a gram sabha at Kolagallu for selecting beneficiaries under various housing schemes, Mr. Lad underlined the need for the officials concerned to accord priority to allot houses for widows and physically challenged persons while carrying out the process.
He also instructed the officials to follow the government guidelines while allotting houses within the framework of law. “In case the applicants/ beneficiaries are more than the houses allotted, adopt lottery system to avoid unnecessary controversy,” he added.
Source : The Hindu , 18th August 2016
Source : The Hindu , 18th August 2016