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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 – September 2011 Issue



NGOs for disabled people meet Railway Minister

CHENNAI, Sept 30: Representatives of 17 organisations working among the disabled in the country, on Wednesday met the Union Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi to draw attention to the problems faced by people with reduced mobility and disability, while travelling in the Indian Railways.

The delegation also demanded extension of e–booking facility for disabled people and extension of concessions on tickets to all those categorised as disabled people in the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995. They also demanded that concessions be provided in local and passenger trains as well in long distance trains.

The members of the delegation pointed out that railway stations are not accessible. Ramps are rare and that too limited for entry into the foot over–bridges. Platforms are inaccessible. The gap (height) between the platform and the coach varies from station to station. They demanded that the Railways set up a task force on access and go in for universal design. They also demanded that battery operated cars now provided at some stations be made available at all major stations and platforms.

For the past many years the railways have not made recruitment to fill the three per cent quota for disabled persons mandated by the PwD Act. In the matter of promotions also, despite court orders, reservation in promotions is not being implemented.The Minister gave a patient hearing and assured the delegation to consider their demands.

Source: Source: http://ibnlive.in.com/news
Posted by Aqeel Qureshi

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Mental health and disability stigmas thrive in India

Sept 25: Psychiatrist Fabian Almeida was stunned when the co–operative society next to his clinic outside Mumbai wrote to him complaining about his patients, with mental disabilities.

He was told that those receiving treatment for conditions ranging from depression and obsessive compulsive disorder to hyperactivity and dyslexia were a nuisance to other residents and should be kept inside.

"They were talking about them spreading germs," he told AFP by telephone from the commuter town of Kalyan, in the Indian state of Maharashtra.

Almeida's experience is not an isolated case in India, with long–standing concern about attitudes towards the country's estimated 40–90 million people with mental and physical disabilities.

"The whole system is not ready to help people with disabilites," said Aqeel Qureshi, a disability rights activist who manages the Disability News India website and campaigns for better access for disabled people. Qureshi, a wheelchair user, said he was stranded at New Delhi's new $2.7–billion international airport terminal for two hours earlier this year after the lifts broke down.

On other occasions he said he missed flights because of a lack of lifts to the aircraft. Disabled people have been stopped from flying altogether by some airlines.

In Indian towns and cities, high kerbs, poorly maintained or non–existent pavements, stairs and a lack of wheelchair ramps are common hazards, making daily life difficult or impossible for people with disabilities.

Packed buses with high access steps, overcrowded suburban trains that halt only for 30 seconds in stations or a lack of public disabled toilets add to the problems.

In Mumbai, new pedestrian crossings have recently been installed at busy junctions but the audible signals –– designed to tell blind people when to cross – have been silenced.


Residents complained they were too noisy, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported last week.

Lack of awareness and not consulting people with disabilities or the groups representing them is often to blame, Qureshi said. "The problem with authorities is that they think they're very smart and very intelligent and that they know our needs. It's an attitude problem," he said from his base in Tokyo.

"The whole thing is not helping people with disabilities. That's why most people with disabilities are not empowered.

"The basic needs for people with disabilities is to provide better infrastructure so that you can go outside and live like any other citizen."

The World Bank has said that people with disabilities are among the most marginalised in Indian society and that some 50 percent of people it surveyed saw disability as a "curse of God".


"A lot more needs to be done in implementation and 'getting basics right'," the organisation said, calling for greater integration of disabled people into Indian society.

Researchers have found that disability in India is often seen as a punishment for a person's misdeeds in a past life, particularly in rural areas.

It has also been seen as lowering the status of a family in India, where social standing – particularly through marriage – remains important.

For some, India's rapid economic growth, which has fuelled a construction boom in big cities, is a perfect opportunity to make new buildings and infrastructure more disabled–friendly.

A landmark disabilities act introduced in 1995 was praised as one of the most progressive among developing countries, even if its implementation is patchy.

The country's popular Hindi–language film industry, Bollywood, has also helped raise awareness of conditions from dyslexia to Asperger's Syndrome in recent years.

Psychiatrist Almeida says progress has been made, highlighting the messages of support he has received for his clinic after he received the letter from next door.

"Incidents like this become speed breakers in our path to progress. Some people have chosen to remain ignorant," said Almeida, whose clinic uses yoga, art therapy and sport to help patients.

But India needs to do more as it develops and so–called Western lifestyle diseases such as depression become more prevalent and physical infirmity increases as the population ages, he added.

"I think we need to be providing mental health services more and tackling the stigma and taboo associated with it... There's so much more to do," he said.

Source: AFP
Posted by Aqeel Qureshi

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Awareness programmes held on World Deaf Day

VARANASI, Sept 24: A number of social and voluntary organisations, working for the rights of deaf people and spreading awareness about the hazards of noise pollution, held several programmes to mark the World Deaf Day (WDD) on Saturday.

A number of deaf children belonging to Varanasi Badhir Society (Bhelupur), BCG School For Deaf (Choti Gaibi), Nav Vani Vidyalaya (Harahua) and Deaf Friendship Club (Kirahiya) participated in a rally to spread awareness about preventing noise pollution and protecting the rights of deaf people.

The rally began from Luxa police station and passed through Gurubagh, Rathyatra and Sigra crossings before culminating at Shahid Udyan in the city. Local BJP MLA Shyamdeo Roy Choudhary flagged off the rally and mayor Kaushlendra Singh was present when the rally culminated at Shahid Udyan.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/
Posted by Aqeel Qureshi

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Be more disabled–friendly in education: HC tells state

Mumbai,Sept 22: Blind and Deaf candidates are ineligible for admission to the Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (BOTh) and Bachelor of Physiotherapy (BPTh) courses.

The draft guidelines submitted by the Maharashtra Council for Occupational and Physiotherapy shocked the Bombay high court on Tuesday. The draft guidelines will be placed before the state government for approval.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Khar resident Kritika Purohit, whohad moved court last year after the Directorate of Technical Education turned down her application to appear for the CET for professional medical courses as she is visually blind person.

Additional government pleader GW Mattos said the the guidelines were prepared based on the report of a three–member expert committee."

The committee held that these candidates are ineligible because students learn keen senses of observational skills in these two courses, and it is necessary to identify and grade impairment qualitatively to chalk out effective treatment programme.

Mattos said: "If they clear the courses and are recruited, during an emergency they will have to attend to patients."

The division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi said: "If they are employed by a hospital then they will be accommodated accordingly and all hospitals have physiotherapists."

The court directed the state to take into consideration the directives of the chief commissioner for the persons with disability to treat all disability and the willingness of the Maharashtra University of Health Sciences (MUHS) to support visually impaired candidates.

MUHS, which conducts exams for the two courses, has expressed willingness to provide support to blind candidates.

Source: http://www.dnaindia.com
Posted by Aqeel Qureshi

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Panjab University radio station prepares audio books for blind students

CHANDIGARH, Sept 18: Panjab University's community radio station 91.2 Jyotirgamya has completed the recording of audio books for students, as part of their voluntary activity towards the community.

These are B A and M A course–oriented books, which were recorded in English and Hindi to facilitate visually impaired students for their exams. Audio cassettes and CDs were handed over to the students on Wednesday at the radio station, located inside the School of Communication Studies (SCS) campus.

"I needed audio books for compulsory and elective English subjects for my B A II course. At school, we were provided with books in Braille but it is difficult to get college books converted into Braille as one book is converted into several volumes, which is not user–friendly," said Rishi Kumar Sharma, one of blind students.

"I am very thankful to radio Jyotirgamya for providing me with audio books," said Sharma, who studies at Government College in Sector 11. Sakshi Dua of Economics department, one of the volunteers of book reading, said, "It gives me great sense of fulfillment to be capable of serving the community." "I am very happy that we have completed the first phase of preparing books for blind students and thankful to all the students who participated in book reading. I would want to inform the readers that we have a fresh set of books to be recorded and volunteers are welcome," said Archana R Singh, SCS chairperson.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/
Posted by Aqeel Qureshi

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HP high court summons Public Service Commission Chief

Shimla, Sept 15: The Himachal Pradesh High Court has summoned the chairman of the state public service commission to appear before it with particulars of the selection committee that did not choose a blind candidate for the post of a lecturer.

Putting the selection process of the Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (HPPSC) under the scanner, a division bench of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Sanjay Karol Tuesday directed Maj. Gen. (retd) C.M. Sharma to furnish the qualification, experience and service particulars of the members and the head of the selection committee.

The court order on the appeal of blind person Shyam Lal was received Wednesday. The next date of hearing is Sep 19.

The HPPSC chairman was also asked to file an affidavit on whether the selection committee had fixed any guidelines/parameters to assess the merit of the candidates –– if so, what were the parameters.

It directed him to state how many vacancies needed to be filled in various categories from amongst physically challenged candidates and what steps had been taken in this regard.

Shyam Lal had applied for the post of a college lecturer advertised by the HPPSC in 2008.

Of the five posts advertised, three were reserved for blind people. Two candidates –– Shyam Lal and a physically disabled candidate –– applied for the posts under the reserved category.

The candidature of physically disabled people was considered and he was interviewed though no post was reserved for his category.

When the HPPSC realised its mistake, the entire selection process was cancelled, according to the petition.

Shyam Lal moved the high court against the decision. The court ordered the HPPSC to finalise the selection as per the process already commenced and interviews already held.

However, the HPPSC declared that Shyam Lal had got less marks than prescribed.

In its earlier orders, the high court had said it was shocking to judicial conscience how the petitioner, who is a teacher in the subject for over 15 years, has been awarded such poor marks despite his being a postgraduate as well as an M.Phil. and Ph.D. in chemistry.

It also observed that there was something wrong either with the assessment of the selection committee or with the selection process.

Last month, the Punjab and Haryana High Court struck down the appointment of Harish Rai Dhanda as the Punjab Public Service Commission chairman. The court observed that the decision–making process in Dhanda's appointment was shrouded in secrecy.

Source: http://zeenews.india.com
Posted by Aqeel Qureshi

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Himachal High Court seeks record for rejecting blind people as college lecturer

Shimla, HP, Sept 14: A selection panel of Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission (HPPSC) having rejected the candidature of a blind person for the post of college lecturer in Chemistry was asked by the High Court here to produce the entire record of the selection process.

A division bench consisting of Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Sanjay Karol today directed chairman HPPSC to furnish the qualifications, experience, service particulars, curriculum vitae of members and chairman of selection committee as well as to produce the entire record pertaining to the selection of post advertised in 2008.

The court also asked chairman HPPSC to personally present himself with the records on 19th September and file an affidavit as to whether the selection committee had fixed any guidelines, parameters for assessing the merit of the candidates and if so, what those parameters were.

The court sought to know as to how many vacancies in various cadres were to be filled from the physically disabled candidate category and what steps had been taken by the commission.

The stern directions from the court came in an appeal filed by Shyam Lal, a blind person serving as a school cadre lecturer in chemistry for the last 15 years.

In response to 5 posts of lecturer college cadre in chemistry advertised by HPPSC, of which 3 were reserved for visually disabled persons, Shyam Lal along with another person, who was disabled person had applied

Though no post was reserved for a candidate of orthopedic disability, yet his candidature was considered and interviewed also. When the mistake was realized, the entire selection process was cancelled.

Shyam Lal, aggrieved against the cancellation of selection process had filed a writ petition in the High Court, which ordered the Commission to finalise the selection as per the process already commenced and interview already held.

However, the commission declared the result of the appellant as unsuccessful for securing less marks than prescribed.

In its earlier orders, the court had observed that it was shocking to judicial conscience as to how the petitioner who is a teacher in the subject for over 15 years was awarded such poor marks despite him being a post graduate as well as M.Phil in Chemistry with 1st class and who also holds a Ph.D. in the subject.

The court observed that there was something wrong either with the assessment of the selection committee or in any case there was definitely something wrong with the selection process, whereby a person, who awards the marks does not know the subject.

Source: http://himachal.us
Posted by Aqeel Qureshi

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Quota for Disabled People in Lok Sabha Jobs Approved

New Delhi, Sept 14: Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar Tuesday approved a quota for people with physical disabilities in the Lok Sabha Secretariat jobs.

According to a statement from Meira Kumar's office, three percent of vacancies in case of direct recruitment in the Lok Sabha Secretariat shall be reserved for "people with disabilities".

The quota has been set aside for across the job categories.

Of the three percent, one percent each will be reserved for persons suffering from low vision, hearing impairment and physical disability in the posts identified for each disability.

"Similarly, three percent of vacancies in case of promotion to Group C posts in which the element of direct recruitment, if any, does not exceed 75 percent, shall be reserved for persons with disabilities," the statement said.

The order also relaxes the upper age limit for such candidates by 10 years.

It also "provides for the relaxation of standard of suitability and stipulates that if sufficient number of persons with disabilities are not available on the basis of the general standard to fill all the vacancies reserved for them, candidates belonging to this category may be selected on relaxed standard to fill up the remaining vacancies reserved for them provided they are not found unfit for such post or posts".

Source: http://www.daijiworld.com
Posted by Aqeel Qureshi

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Bihar reported no polio case in last one year

Patna Sept 10: From recording the second highest number of polio cases in the country in 2009, Bihar has not reported even a single case of Polio in the last one year, an official said Monday.

Sanjay Kumar, executive director of the state health society, said that no reports of P1 and P3 cases –– types of polio virus –– have been reported since September 2010.

"It is going to be a big positive development on the health front in Bihar if we get rid of polio," Kumar told reporters.

He said that if the state is able to maintain the situation for two more years, it would successfully have eradicated polio.

Since December 1995, 45 pulse polio immunisation rounds have been conducted in Bihar.

Kumar said special immunisation drives will continue. "Though the state has not reported any case of Wild Polio Virus Type III for the last one–and–a–half years and of Type I since last September, the immunisation drive will continue," he said.

In 2009, 117 polio cases were reported in Bihar while the figure was over 300 in 2008. In 2010, nine polio cases were recorded –– all before September. Earlier this year, the state government identified 41 blocks –– among them Araria, Bhagalpur, Begusarai, East Champaran, Darbhanga, Khagaria, Madhubani, and Samastipur –– which were highly polio endemic.

Till 2009, Bihar had the second highest number of polio cases in the country after Uttar Pradesh.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/http://zeenews.india.com
Posted by Aqeel Qureshi

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Blind TET candidates protest government's discrimination

Sept 6: Around 100 blind candidates staged a dharna at Ashram Road on Saturday to protest the government's discrimination. They said they were not being recruited as teachers in the primary section.

The dharna had members from Blind People's Association (BPA) of the city and National Association for Blind.

To create public awareness about their helpless condition, they conducted a Ramdhun (chanting God's name). The principal of BPA, Taarak Luhar, and the director, Bhushan Punani, were also present to encourage the candidates. Speaking to DNA, Luhar said that since a year or so the government has stopped recruiting blind candidates as primary teachers.

"This is clearly a violation of human rights and it is against the law. The Disability Act clearly states that a totally blind person can be appointed as a subject teacher. Then why is there no recruitment?"

The recently held Teacher's Eligibility Test (TET) aimed at providing jobs to candidates as primary teachers. Interestingly, the test was held for blind candidates as well as per high court directions.

"Due to arrangements made, many blind candidates appeared for the test and have cleared it with good marks. Now, the government says that they have passed a resolution that blind candidates will not be appointed as teachers. This is not fair at all," he said.

The deprived candidates also approached government officials and ministers to seek help in this matter. "We also met director of primary education RC Rawal, but in vain," said Punani. Speaking on the future course of action, he said, "We are having a district level rally on September 14. Also, on October 2, all blind candidates will go on a hunger strike."

Source: http://www.dnaindia.com
Posted by Aqeel Qureshi

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Blind man gets PhD in music

Mysore, Sep 5: He is blind person but that hasn't prevented him from scaling new heights. It is a victory of willpower for K T Udaya Kiran, 30, who has completed a PhD in music at the University of Mysore.

Kiran, a vocalist, is working as a guest lecturer at the University of Fine Arts College. Kiran, who was born blind, began research in 2007 under the guidance of M Manjunath. His academic record has been excellent– bagged a gold medal in MA in music (vocal) from the University of Mysore, was awarded fellowship after the UGC National Eligibility Test, scored distinction in SSLC, II PUC, UG and PG too. "I started learning classical music as a child.

My parents, who are good in music, encouraged me and now it has become my part of life." Uday also plays the violin and keyboard. Apart from participating in the All India Radio programmes, he has presented papers at the national–level music seminars on Swarakalpana in Carnatic music at Annamalai University and on 'Africa meets Asia' at the International Music Conference.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/
Posted by Aqeel Qureshi

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