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World Disability day: hopes amidst of miseries

World Disability day: hopes amidst of miseries

By Jaison Wilson

New Delhi, Dec 3 (UNI) As the world observes the 'International Day of Disabled Persons' on Sunday, in India, the recently termed 'Divyangs' (Divine body) have to do a lot.

Isolation from the mainstream for various reasons remain a big challenge for this 'specially abled' persons. While the world has taken giant steps towards inclusion of them to the society, the country still has to go a lot.

As per the Census 2011, In India out of the 121 Cr population, 2.68 Cr persons are ‘disabled’ which is 2.21 per cent of the total population.

The lives of the 'disabled' are far from the main stream. Their miseries start from the accessibility of basic needs. From the 'unfriendly' public toilets to Bus stands and railway stations the list goes on. Even a visit to the city is painful for most of the disabled in the absence of facilities.

Amidst of these crisis situations, some of the establishments in the country are contributing towards making necessary changes.

National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) is a cross-disability, non-profit organisation, working as an interface between the Government, Industry, International Agencies, and the Voluntary Sector towards empowerment of persons with disabilities.

NCPEDC Chairman Som Mittal says, "We need to ensure that accessibility is embedded across our workplaces, our websites our communications our products and services. Disability inclusion must be mandated across all the existing projects and initiatives under our Corporate social responsibility (CSR). The new rights of persons with disabilities Act mandates every corporate to have a definitive policy on disability .There is need to support policy advocacy and creating awareness a key role that we plays."

Notably, ‘The disabilities Bill’ that had lingered for a long time, got passed by both the Houses of Parliament on 27th December, 2016. The Bill was now an act.

The pace of innovation across the world is breathtaking. The processing power that was a decade ago confined to huge servers is now available in our handy smart phones. Artificial intelligence is forecast to outperform human intelligence in the near future. In the midst of this speedy revolution, mobility devices for many disabled people remain stuck in the past.

An analysis of the CSR policies and spends of the top companies in India reveals that only a few have a formal policy to support the cause of people with disabilities and of them majority seem to be focused on employment alone. The mandate sometimes expands to skill development of disabled youth. But unfortunately the most modern technology for disabled is not so popular.

Mindtree, is another organisation deeply resonates with equality, respect and potential of every individual and has always strived to create a culture of inclusion both internally and externally.

“as a non-discriminatory, equal opportunities employer we believe in creating the right organisational environment processes and frameworks that promote sensitivity empathy and inclusion." says Krishnakumar Natarajan, Executive chairperson of Mindtree.

As the market for assistive technology – devices designed for people with disabilities – keeps expanding, disability experts say the focus now is on 'how costs can be lowered and who should pay for the technology.'

Answering these questions are key to altering the perceptions of the disabled from economic burden to new economic potential.

UNI JW AE 1643

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