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Disability News India (DNI)

Disability News India (DNI), is a disability News service dedicated to providing a quality up-to-date information to the Indian Disability. DNI's news section is updated two times a week, though we also add breaking stories as and when they occur.

Disability News India – February 2010 Issue

Chandigarh gets sensory park for visually impaired

Chandigarh, Feb 16: Institute for Blind people has created a sensory park with the help of Chandigarh administration and Municipal Corporation for the use of visually impaired persons. This park has been built to provide a safe place for visually impaired to walk around in a fresh environment, away from traffic and pollution.

The Municipal Corporation of Chandigarh has spent 23,000 dollars to create the 0.41–acre park replicated from similar parks in Osaka, Japan.

Many aromatic herbs and medicinal plants like jasmine, lavlena, albertine, mint, neem, tulsi and bamboo have been planted here.

While creating the park, the corporation invited visually impaired children and noted their feedback and suggestions.

"If one sense organ is defective, the other senses are more developed. Here we train the visually impaired kids to use rest of their organs to the fullest. Technically it is called compensatory mechanism," said Jagannath, headmaster of the Institute for the Blind.

"In sensory garden, these kids can explore, smell and feel new things. They can share ideas and interact with the citizens of the society. In this way they will learn new things and also develop healthy relations with the community," he added.

The credit for helping the blind children in Chandigarh also goes to the Society for the Care of the Blind.

Ever since its inception in 1972, it has been actively engaged in the education, training and rehabilitation of blind children and working for the prevention of blindness.

The society runs the Institute for the Blind in Chandigarh's Sector 26 to impart educational and vocational training to the blind children. It teaches handloom weaving, typewriting, music and Basic Computer Literacy to make them self–reliant.

"A visually impaired person doesn't have sight but has perspective. We educate the children so that they easily overcome various problems and difficulties in their life. It is our endeavor to make visually impaired children physically fit, mentally alert and emotionally well balanced," Jagannath said. "We also ensure that their all round development takes place as we function as a recognized senior secondary school. Nothing is bigger than knowledge, no worship is greater than truth, no sorrow is bigger than night and no happiness is greater than sacrifice. Only education can make a man wise and strong," he added.

Be it creating a sensory park or providing easy talk computers, the mission is to integrate the visually impaired into the mainstream of social life.

Outfits like the Institute for the Blind aim to inspire and inculcate in the children the zeal and zest for life by ensuring equal opportunities. By Sunil Sharma (ANI)

Source: http://news.oneindia.in

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Rs 2000 crore hike in social justice budget

NEW DELHI, 16 Feb: The disability sector seems to be moving up the priority ladder, with the Centre giving a substantial hike in the allocation for schemes and institutions linked to disabilities for 2010–11. It comes with a near–double increase in the budget of the social justice ministry (MSJ). The rare focus on this sector seems in line with the growing awareness about the neglected sector.

Sources said the Planning Commission has cleared MSJ's budget at Rs 4,500 crore, up from Rs 2,500 crore. Sources said it may set a trend as sectoral grants rarely see a dip with new budgets.

The central sector schemes on disability have managed more than before. The Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme will have a kitty of Rs 120 crore, up from Rs 76 crore for 2009–10. A healthy Rs 100 crore has been cleared for schemes under the Persons with Disability Act. Its last allocation was a meagre Rs 20 crore. The seven National Institutes for Disabled have got a grant of Rs 70 crore, up from Rs 49 crore. The MSJ will have Rs 100 crore, as against Rs 79 crore this year, for purchase of aids/appliances for disabled persons. Three corporations for SCs, OBCs and handicapped are in for a grant of Rs 130 crore, and the 'handicapped corporation' is expected to see an increase from present Rs 9 crore.

Social justice minister Mukul Wasnik had sought an annual grant of Rs 7,000 crore to meet expenses for schemes on SCs/OBCs, handicapped, old–age and for checking drug addiction. But a Rs 2,000 crore hike is significant as grants for three years have hovered around Rs 2,100 crore, Rs 2,300 crore and Rs 2,500 crore.

The increase will help MSJ revise Post–Matric Scholarships for SCs which have remained frozen for paucity of funds.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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Car rally for visually impaired organized in Bhopal

Bhopal, Feb 15 : The Annual Blind Chase Bhopal Heritage CarRally was organised here on Sunday. More that 40 visually impaired were a part of the car rally, which covered a distance of 25 kilometres.

Every car had one visually impaired person sitting next to the driver as navigator, guiding him through the way. The visually impaired persons were given a road map in Braille language using which they had to navigate the driver.

The participants, among whom were a number of women, were pleased to be a part of the rally. "Disability never becomes an obstacle, a person should have confidenceand if he does his work with full faith, he definitely meets his expectations. We have a booklet with us, which has all the instructions in Braille language. We'll read them with the help of our fingers, we'll guide the driver and accordingly he will drive the vehicle," said Nandram, a participant.

Even the drivers found this rally to be very unique.

"This shows that they are no way less than others, they are one amongst us and they are able to help us in all ways. It's a great experience, as we are getting to learn something new, as we are completely dependent on them, wherever they will guide us we have to go, we don't know the way," said Archana Saxena, a driver.

The Non–government organization Arushi and other institutions had organised this rally, which is in its fourth year.

Source: http://news.oneindia.in

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Govt to consider giving fellowship to disabled people

New Delhi, 12 Feb: Government on Friday said it will examine the issue of providing fellowship to physically disabled students for pursuing their research with "serious consideration".

On receiving a request in this regard from a visually disabled student here at a national workshop, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Mukul Wasnik today said, "We will examine the issue... I think this is the suggestion that needs serious consideration. I will do my best to see that your request is through."

In a novel gesture, Wasnik agreed to pledge his support by donating his one month salary as the dean and director of School ofInternational Studies.

JNU Professor Yogesh Tyagi sought his contribution quickly, proposing to start a fellowship scheme for the physically disabled students of his unit.

Wasnik was chairing a workshop when visually impaired student on behalf of JNU visually impaired forum came with his request to either extend financial assistance to disable persons under Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship (RGNF) which is meant for SC and ST students only or Dr Maulana Abul Kalam Azad fellowship ((MAKAF) which is likely to be announced soon for the minority research scholars.

The ministry provides scholarship to physically disabled students for pursuing their post–matric studies, graduation and post graduate programmes but does not specifically offer any fellowship to them.

"The financial assistance being extended to the needy students pursuing highereducation is particularly laudable. Unfortunately, enough persons with disability find no place in either of the two schemes (RGNF and MAKAF)," the visually–challenged student Anwaram said.

He requested the minister to take "appropriate measures" either to include persons with disability in the existing fellowship schemes or launch a special national scheme for them.

Earlier, while addressing the workshop, the minister said it was the responsibility of all to extend all possible support to these sections (disabled) of the society.

"Most of us, rather almost all of us are disabled in some respect or the other. Some may be economically, some may be politically, socially, educationally, intellectually... many of us are privileged, many of us are under privileged. Many of are not privileged at all, many of us do not get the recognition like human beings and that I have rights," he said.

"We should be recognised as a human being and I think our task, our mission should be to care and support those who are underprivileged," he added.

Referring to the 2001 Census, Wasnik said it was almost about 21.9 million people across the country who came under the category of persons with disability.

"This figure is huge and therefore we have to have a mechanism in place which provides them their rights and that on time," he said.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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Procedure to get disability certificate simplified: Govt

New Delhi: The process for obtaining certificates to prove physical disabled people has been simplified under which the signature of only one doctor is needed except in cases of multiple disabilities.

The new guideline comes into force with the government amending the Persons with Disabilities Rules, 1996, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Mukul Wasnik today said.

Inaugurating the 9th National Meeting of Commissioners for Persons with Disabilities here, Wasnik said "the format of disability certificate has been simplified requiring signature of a single doctor other than in cases of multiple disabilities".

He asked state governments to amend the rules accordingly and ensure greater involvement in the process.

As per 2001 census, 21.9 million people are disabled people in India. Wasnik said the meeting assumed significance against the backdrop of India's obligations under the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD).

He also said that the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 is being amended to harmonise it with the UNCRPD.

The minister said the newly launched scheme of Inclusive Education for Disabled People at Secondary Stage (IEDSS) would enable children with disabilities to enjoy their right to school education on equal basis with others.

Wasnik had recently written to the states to ensure that the all government buildings are made barrier free.

Source: http://www.zeenews.com

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Disability groups apprehensive of amendments to laws

8 Feb: Disability groups on Sunday expressed strong apprehension that the Centre was going ahead with proposed amendments/harmonisation in various laws without consulting them.

Participants at the two–day meet that concluded here on national cross–disability consultation, titled 'Harmonisation of laws with the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities [UNCRPD],' felt that the government would make a shoddy job of it and compromise the real objectives if there was no effective consultation.

The Human Rights Law Network , together with the National Association of the Deaf and Deaf Way, organised the event in order to formulate the views of all the disability groups and submit its recommendations. It was pointed out that India signed the UNCRPD on March 30, 2007, and ratified it on October 3 of the same year. "In corollary to this development, the Government of India is to harmonise/amend various laws in the Budget session 2010 in sync with UNCRPD in three disability–specific laws and in 75 other laws by May 3, 2010, and submit a 'compliance report' to the United Nations."

The meet said despite the magnitude of harmonisation required, the Centre had been sleeping for the last two years and did not seek any consultation with disability groups .

"Therefore, there is a strong impression within the disability sector that the government is rushing with the amendments process to the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995 in the budget session of Parliament and will do a shoddy job, as is reflected in the draft amendments document posted on the website of the Ministry of Social Justice, which does not include almost 20 Articles of the convention and is completely silent on the civil and political rights of persons with disabilities."

Source: http://beta.thehindu.com

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City based NGO to start Braille computer training school

VADODARA, 7 Feb: Visually impaired people in the city can soon get to work with information technology firms. A city–based NGO's Braille computer training school to be inaugurated in March will educate and provide training to these people. It is one of the four schools in the country to be recognised by department of information and technology, Government of India.

This school is first to be started in the state with Central recognition and is being set up by Sevatirth that works towards vocational rehabilitation of the disabled. The school will offer wide range of ITI and IT courses free of cost to class X passouts.

"We will start with a batch of 10 students. They will be educated and trained to operate specially designed computer for visually impaired. It is a speaking computer with a writer and special keyboard. The school will conduct one–year course with residential facilities to the students," said Sevatirth founder Purushottam Panchal.

Panchal said the Central government plans to open 60 such schools in the country. "In the first phase, recognition has been given to only four NGOs to start such schools. In Gujarat, our NGO was selected after they inspected our campus last year. We will conduct Braille computer IT courses so that the visually impaired become employable," added Panchal, who was conferred with national award as the best placement officer for the disabled in 2008 by the department of social justice and empowerment, Government of India.

"During the award ceremony, I met many officials and invited them to visit my NGO in the city. When they came and saw the work we were doing, they discussed the idea of starting a computer training school for the visually impaired. I suggested that we can start the same at our campus. After a year of paper work, we finally got the approval. This school will be immensely helpful as the industry is willing to employ the visually impaired IT professionals. We are hopeful that many disabled will get to earn their living in the coming months," Panchal said.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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A special park for visually impaired in Chandigarh

Chandigarh, Jan.31: An institute for Blind people in Chandigarh city has set up a sensory park to offer a safe environment for the use of visually–impaired people, which also helps them by augmenting their other senses.

With the help of the Chandigarh administration and Municipal Corporation, the park has been established to provide a safe place for visually– impaired to walk around in a better and fresh environment, away from the accidental traffic threats and pollution.

"Our specially trained teachers help in imparting mobility to visually–impaired. They are taught to walk with the help of walking stick in order to make them independent, so that they can walk freely without being dependent on anyone. As we see, the traffic has become one of the major problems for such people to walk on the road. Even we do not feel safe to send them out on roads. That is why this park has proved very beneficial for these visually–impaired students and I am sure they will make the best of it," said Kuldeep Sodh, the institute's vice–principal.

Apart from this initiative, the institute has already incorporated an infrastructure which comprises other learning skills, such as reading Braille, learning to use computers, playing musical instruments, and engaging students in creative activities such as singing and dancing.

This sensory park not only provides a breath of fresh air and mobility to these students, but also attempts to enhance their sense of smell. The students are taught to differentiate between plants and flowers by their aromatic fragrances.

"All our senses, which are intact, get better as we smell and feel the things, here in this park. We can distinguish between various plants whether big or small, and our senses to touch and feel enhance," said Labh, a visually impaired student.

Employment generating activities like caning chairs, handloom weaving and candle–making are a part of the course curriculum, which not only engages the students in constructive work but also helps them in good monetary remuneration.

These activities also help enhance the courage and self–confidence of these visually impaired students.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com

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Disabled people unhappy with Kolkata Book Fair

Kolkata, Jan 30: The 34th Kolkata Book Fair completely ignores the needs of persons with disabilities, said the Disability Activists Forum (DAF), a body comprising individuals and NGOs fighting for equal rights of disabled people.

The Forum said the book fair, Asia's biggest, is "insensitive to the needs of persons with disabilities who are an integral part of our society". About 2.5 million visited the fair last year. Despite 10 per cent of the global population living with some form of disability or the other, the book fair completely ignores the existence of these people using wheel chairs, crutches, artificial limbs as well as those with other forms of disability including visually impaired, people with hearing and speech impairment, the forum alleged.

"We visited 40 stalls. Only six foreign country stalls conform to the standards for movement of the disabled with wheel chairs," said Snigdha Sarkar, DAF secretary.

Over the last few years DAF has reportedly made repeated efforts and appeals to the book fair authorities for ensuring an inclusive environment but to no avail, she said.

"This despite the Publishers and Book Sellers Guild general secretary assuring DAF that he would request all the participant publishers to make their stalls accessible."

A book fair visit on January 27 by DAF members including persons using wheel chairs, mobility aids and artificial limbs revealed that the fair was completely inaccessible to them as before.

Very uneven fair ground, inaccessible stalls and toilets made the visit for the DAF members a very forgettable one, the forum said.

Source: http://www.indiablooms.com

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3% jobs to be reserved for disabled people: Kerala CM

Thiruvananthapruam: The Kerala cabinet today decided to reserve 3% jobs for the disabled people in public sector undertakings, autonomous bodies, universities and co–operative institutions.

To help disabled people, the jobs would be reserved in posts suitable for them, chief minister VS Achuthanandan told reporters here after a cabinet meeting.

The government also decided to bring in a comprehensive prison law focussing on, among other things, prisoners' security and education.

The cabinet has given approval to the Bill in this regard, he said. The legislation would also have provisions for rehabilitation of prisoners and welfare measures.

The cabinet decided to set up two separate courts to deal with cases of atrocities against scheduled caste and scheduled tribes in the state. The courts would be established at Manjeri and Kalpetta, he added.

Source: http://www.dnaindia.com

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