Prez confers national awards on 52 PwDs; PM says initiatives taken to enable them to shine

NEW DELHI, 3 Dec: On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (PwD) on Saturday, President Droupadi Murmu felicitated 52 such people for their laudable contributions in various fields and Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that his government has taken many initiatives to create opportunities for them, so as to enable them to shine.
Presenting the National Awards for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities for 2021 and 2022 at an event here, Murmu stressed on maximum use of technology to remove language-related barriers in education and to make education more accessible to children with disabilities.
Noting that more than two percent of India’s population are persons with disabilities, she said, “It is also our duty to ensure that they get a good education, stay safe in their homes and society, have the freedom to choose their career and have equal employment opportunities.”
In his message, Prime Minister Modi said, “I laud the fortitude and accomplishments of our divyang sisters and brothers. Our government has undertaken numerous initiatives which have created opportunities for persons with disabilities and enabled them to shine.”
“Our government is equally focused on accessibility, which is reflected in the flagship programmes and creation of next-gen infra. I would also like to acknowledge all those working at the grassroots to bring a positive difference in the lives of persons with disabilities,” he tweeted.
The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is observed on 3 December to raise people’s awareness about the rights of PwDs and mobilise political will and resources to address the challenges facing them.
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 provided a timeline of five years for making all existing public buildings accessible by 14 June, but out of the total 2,839 buildings, 585 state buildings and 1,030 central government buildings have been made barrier-free for the disabled.
Experts feel that including compliance related to disabled-friendly constructions while clearing building plans would be a significant step in addressing the accessibility issue.
At the awards ceremony in Delhi, the president said that, according to an estimate of the United Nations, more than one billion people in the world are persons with disabilities. It means almost every 8th person in the world has a disability in some form or the other.
She said that in the Indian culture and tradition, disability has never been considered as a hindrance in acquiring knowledge and achieving excellence.
“Often, it has been seen that divyangjan are gifted with divine qualities. There are innumerable examples in which our divyang brothers and sisters have achieved impressive feats in many fields on the strength of their indomitable courage, talent and determination. Given enough opportunities and the right environment, they can excel in every field,” she said.
She said that education is key to the empowerment of every individual, including persons with disabilities.
“We should make maximum use of technology in order to remove language-related barriers in education and to make education more accessible to children with disabilities,” she said.
The president said the government is taking several steps for the empowerment of divyangjan.
She said inculcating self-confidence in divyangjan is very important to empower them.
“People with disabilities have talents and abilities just like normal people, and sometimes more than them. To make them self-reliant, it is only necessary to instil in them self-confidence,” she said.
The empowerment of PwDs department of the union social justice & empowerment ministry gives away the National Awards for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities every year to individuals, institutions, organisations, state/district, etc, for their outstanding achievements and work done towards empowerment of persons with disabilities.
Sixty-six-year-old Mridu Ram Goel, an expert in access audit, was among the 52 individuals who were awarded by the president. PTI