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Monday, 30 September 2013

India Inc becoming more open to people with disabilities

Ashutosh Parab has a big evening ahead. As a banquet executive at a five-star hotel in Mumbai, he is racing against time to set the hall up for the day's gala. But unlike others in his position he isn't shouting orders; in fact, he is not saying anything at all. But his fingers are at work, gesturing his thoughts to his colleagues. The 26-year-old is speech- and hearing-impaired. A relatively new entrant in the banqueting section, Parab was till recently with the reservations division where he spent close to three years. "I'm a bit nervous because I'm still getting used to the systems in this section. But I've grown in confidence because I know the organization is behind me," says Parab, through a sign language interpreter.


Ashutosh and Vishal are among the scores of talented but youngsters with disabilities being accepted in the workplace by India Inc.

Ashutosh and Vishal are among the scores of talented but youngsters with disabilities being accepted in the workplace by India Inc.


Using a wheelchair has not slowed Bangalore designer Vishal Mishra down. Vishal began his stint with the firm as a designer a few years ago and is now an assistant manager, with a handful of subordinates working for him. "My disability doesn't come in the way as far as my work is concerned," he says.

Ashutosh and Vishal are among the scores of talented but youngsters with disabilities being accepted in the workplace by India Inc. Starting with small gestures in corporate social responsibility, Indian business houses are walking that extra mile and institutionalizing what can be called the 'disability initiative'.

People with disabilities account for just 1% of the Indian corporate workforce, but the quality of employment shows that a definite change is in the offing. For India Inc, it is a way to up its diversity play.

At watches-to-jewellery maker Titan, two blue-collar employees with physical disabilities were promoted to managerial positions after they completed their degrees. At Pune-based Cummins, a person with disability is a senior manager in the engineering department. At Sebi, India's capital market regulator, MBA grad Vishakha More, a blind person, is an assistant GM.

"We looked at their abilities, not disabilities, while assigning them jobs. And each of them has delivered beyond our expectations," says Arun Ramachandran, India-head, Cummins Turbo Technologies.

The local arm of US-based Cummins currently has 11 differently abled employees compared to just one five years ago. The number of such workers at Titan has risen to 110 in the last few years.

There are in fact establishments where those with disabilities form the majority. At EuroAble call centre, 98 of the 100 employees have some disability. EuroAble is the world's only call centre where those with physical disabilities handle thousands of customer queries and complaints for Eureka Forbes, its consumer durable parent. Then there is Yum Restaurants—it runs the KFC and Pizza Hut chains—which has almost doubled the number of employees with disabilities to 350 in five years. It plans to raise the number to 1,000 by 2015. At Mirakle Couriers, the show is entirely managed by deaf people.

In a tectonic shift in attitudes, companies are creating infrastructure for special employees and assigning them buddy partners to mentor and foster leadership qualities in them. Their assignments too are being rotated to give them varied experience. In fact, some of them are even training normal employees in sign language so they can communicate better with those who are hearing and speech impaired.

Most importantly, people with disabilities are not being patronized or discriminated against. "Their pay packets are at par with industry standards. We do not offer them any special concessions. We do, however, provide them with a comfortable working environment. For example, we have designed special workspaces with ramps. We also arrange to pick them up and drop them at their residences," says Marzin Shroff, COO, Eureka Forbes.

While firms across sectors are hiring people with disabilities, the trend is more pronounced in some sectors—food and beverage outlets, hotels, salons and airports. You will spot them as baristas, musicians, housekeepers, masseurs and cuisiniers.

"Currently, one of our staff with disability is being trained to become an assistant restaurant manager," says Niren Chaudhary, president, Yum Restaurants, adding that the fast food chain is on track with its plan to have a restaurant general manager with disability by 2015. "They are a good talent pool," says Niranjan Khatri, head-environment initiatives at cigarettes-to-hotels ITC. "Their attrition is merely 2% compared with the double digits for other employees."

At the banquet hall, Parab heaves a sigh of relief when he finishes his job for the day. He's done his bit and now it's time for the show. "I am aware that all kinds of opportunities are open for me. Why not grab them with both hands?" he asks.

Source : Economic Times , 30th September 2013

Man gets 10 years’ jail for raping physically handicapped woman : GURGAON

A fast-track court here sentenced a 24-year-old man to 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment on Saturday for raping a physically challenged woman at a village near Kherki Daula.

The court of the additional district and sessions judge also slapped a fine of Rs. 31,000 on the convict. The accused, Devender Singh, was convicted of raping a 33-year-old woman and later threatening to kill her and cause harm to her family in case she approached the police.

Speaking about the speedy trial, which took just five months, the victim’s counsel, Gaurav Vashisht, said the verdict was possibly one of the fastest to be delivered in the state.

“Such verdicts awarding the maximum sentence within a short period of time are welcome as they reinstate the victims’ faith in the legal framework,” said Vashisht. While the victim’s family was happy with the verdict, the victim said she wanted death sentence for the accused in the case.

“I welcome the verdict and am happy with the police and the legal system which has fast-tracked solving the case. But I feel that death penalty would be the only deterrent to such crimes,” she said.

She also said that the accused had repeatedly harassed her till his conviction, including threatening her that he would repeat the offence if she told the police about the incident. She said that the accused had also warned her that he would physically assault her 10-year-old daughter.

The victim’s family attributed the speedy justice to KD Singh Foundation, an NGO which provided legal help in the case. “The NGO provided financial aid for legal help and also assisted us through the entire trial. The speedy trial was possible because of them,” said the victim’s husband Satbir Singh, who works as a farmer in the village.

Source : Hindustan Times , 22 September 2013

Strength of disabled workers increasing, many jobless : MADURAI

It is said that the number of disabled bus drivers and conductors working in the eight state-run-transport corporations across the state is increasing.

But, the workers who were supposed to be given an alternative employment (light job) under the Parliamentarian law 'Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full participation) Act, 1995' were not given job by their superiors. Many workers have become disabled due to employment related injuries like poor vision, colour blindness and heart surgeries. Seeking relief, they have been approaching the High Court's Principal Seat in Chennai and its bench in Madurai by way of filing writ petitions.

Nearly 1.43 lakh workers are reportedly working in eight transport corporations including State Express Transport Corporation, Metropolitan Transport Corporation (Chennai) and six Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporations situated in the divisions of Chennai, Villupuram, Kumbakonam, Coimbatore, Salem, Madurai and Tirunelveli. Of them, nearly two percent of employees have become disabled due to employment related injuries. The strength was one per cent ten years ago, said R Vasudevan, general secretary of Centre of Indian Trade Unions (Transport), Madurai. Many have been moving from pillars to posts to get work after being identified as disabled, said P N Palanivelm, a transport staff in Salem.

The disabled workers have to be referred to the concerned Regional Medial Board to ascertain their medical fitness stating that they are eligible to continue in their present duty. If they are declared unfit, they should be provided with an alternative employment according to Section 47 of the 1995 Act. More than 10 cases have been dealt by the Supreme Court in this regard and around 500 by the Madras high court. But, many of those who became disabled haven't been able to get the benefit of the Act in real. "The disabled people are not referred to the medial boards properly and they further are subjected to either dismissal of service or discharge of duties. Authorities' inaction have forced the workers to approach court seeking job, for which they have to pay Rs.5,000 to Rs.10,000 as advocate fees," said A Rahul, an advocate who has been dealing with similar cases.

Commenting on issue, Abimanyu, branch manager of State Express Transport Corporation (Madurai) said that the disabled workers have been given jobs in their respective corporation. The remaining people would be given jobs soon, as per the direction of the government.

It is suggested that the disabled conductors and drivers could be placed in light jobs like clerk, non-ITI helper, time keeper, traffic regulation etc. Besides that, the state government's recent scheme of setting up drinking water stalls in bus stands will also help them to get better placed. During the introduction of the scheme, it was assured that the disabled workers would be placed at the water sale outlets. But, it has not been fulfilled properly, said Vasudevan.

Source : TOI , 29th September 2013

Is learning difficulty a disability ? HC asks state govt to clarify

The Bombay High Court has asked the state government whether it was willing to term learning difficulties as a disability, after a 17-year-old girl filed a petition challenging the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) to not grant her admission under the handicapped persons' quota.

The girl had sought admission to a city college for a para-medical course (Bachelor in Audio Speech Language Pathalogy). She said in her petition that she suffered from dyslexia, dyscalculia and disgraphia, but managed to score 71.4 per cent in SSC, and 60 per in HSC examinations.

Denied admission

While appearing for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Examination (NEET) under persons with disability category, she secured percentile of more than 50, but was denied admission in that category by DMER, forcing her to seek admission in open category.

The girl, however, contended that she should get benefits provided under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, which provides for a three per cent reservation for persons with disabilities.

The high court sought to know from the state government whether she, and those suffering from similar problems, could be given benefit of reservation in admission to educational courses on the lines of persons with disabilities.

The division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sanklecha also directed the DMER to take into consideration the draft of Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill drafted by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in September 2012.

Putting people with learning difficulties at par with 'persons with disabilities', the draft has provisions for reservation in government jobs for people suffering from "autism, intellectual disability and mental illnesses".

It recognises dyslexia, dyscalculia, dysgraphia, dyspraxia and developmental aphasia as disabilities. It even talks about giving incentives to the private sector to encourage the same.

The high court bench has given the state government two months' time to take a decision in this regard.

Advocate Pooja Thorat, appearing for the petitioner, submitted that the petitioner's fight was to make people understand that persons with learning disabilities were not low on IQ, but it was just about difficulty in understanding multiple instructions at the same time.

According to the state government, the Medical Council of India rules recognise only locomotary disability of lower limbs (between 50 per cent and 70 per cent) to be considered for the handicapped persons' quota.

The high court, however, directed that the girl securing admission in open category should not come in her way for being considered as a candidate in 'handicapped persons' category while seeking admission to the Master's Degree course.

Source : Mumbai Mirror , 29th September 2013

NGOs move HC to protest govt apathy towards 'special' students

A bunch of NGOs has moved to the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court alleging total negligence by the Maharashtra government towards 750 schools for intellectually and physically challenged students in state.

A division bench comprising Justices Vasanti Naik and Atul Chandurkar issued notices to the respondents, including secretary for social justice and special assistance department and state commissioner for disabled.

Srikant Khandalkar was the counsel for the petitioners - Vidarbha Jeevan Vikas Sanstha, Rachana Jan Vikas Bahuddeshiya Sanstha, Jankidevi Atkar Seva Sanstha, and Samarth Ramdas Swami Bahuddeshiya Sanastha. They were told to submit reply within three weeks after which the petition would be heard for final disposal.

The petitioners contended that out of 750 schools run by various organizations for intellectually and physically challenged students, 200 are in Vidarbha. Despite various government directives the respondents failed to pay attention to the schools, resulting in inconvenience and numerous hardships to the petitioners.

According to petitioners, the government had proposed action plan for the welfare of such students in 2011. However, all its recommendations have remained on paper. They charged the government with not following the Persons with Disabled (Equal opportunity, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.

They said that a government resolution (GR) of July 19, 2003, specified that schools which were run by private organizations prior to 2002 and had completed two years were entitled to government grants.

Another GR was issued on August 11, 2004, which claimed that schools opened after 2004 would not be entitled to government grants. For opening such schools, the GR asked the promoters to submit an undertaking that they would not seek government grants for their operations.

Terming this move as illegal and arbitrary, the petitioners contended that the government was depriving the students of good education. They claimed that 3% of the total budget of the state needs to be utilized for intellectually and physically challenged students. They had apprised of the government with all these facts, but failed to get any response. They prayed for quashing August 11, 2004, GR.

Source : TOI , 29th September 2013

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Electric car for disabled goes defunct at station : Nagpur

In the midst of all the noise surrounding the elevation of Nagpur railway station into a world class one, basic facilities for passengers are not functioning.

The free electric car service to ferry physically challenged, patients and senior citizens at the railway station has been discontinued for at least four months. The reasons given by railway authorities and the company that donated the car vary from what the operators on the ground claim.

"Some time back, when I got down from my train and waited for the service, it did not come. So I called their helpline number which I had earlier used. It was picked up by a driver who said the service has been stopped," said Naresh Mirpuri, a businessman, who is physically challenged.

He added the service was a boon for people like him and the elderly who needed assistance in navigating inside the station.

"It was a free service and hence many could take its benefit, while the coolies who charge exorbitantly can be used by those financially well off. Escalator too is only on one side of the station and hence, not of much use. I have written to the office of divisional railway manager and the station master too," Mirpuri said.
The reason of the discontinuation of the service from May 26 is not very clear.

TOI received two different versions. "One day we were called to the station and told we need not come to work from next day. We were shocked," said Vishvajit Chahande, one of the three drivers of the vehicle. He said they were told the decision had come from above and that the services had been 'called off' in Nagpur.
"We knew there was some problem with the car and they had taken it for repairs, but they did not mention that as the reason of closure. I feel that the reason is financial and that they weren't getting enough sponsorship," he said.

Central railway PRO PD Patil said that the reason was a technical one. "The company, Srishti Communications, which donated the car is not getting some spare part and hence the delay. We are also looking at other options if the car does not become functional," he said.

"The car is about three years old and it could have done with better maintenance. Now, we are working on mending it. There is no financial reason behind stoppage of the service. It is a charity which we do and would continue even if we do not get any sponsorship," said an official of Srishti Communications.

Source : TOI , 19th September 2013

Parul celeb judge on show for the physically challenged : Chennai

On Wednesday morning, Parul Yadav flew in to Chennai to shoot for an upcoming Kannada reality show. The actress had been invited as a celebrity judge on the show Champions, a game show for the physically challenged. "I think this is the first show of its kind, that is dedicated to those who are born with physical challenges. The participants are judged through games they are made to play. It will be a challenge for me to judge them," says the actress.

Parul, who is still undecided whether to attend the Indian Cinema Centenary Celebrations in Chennai over the next few days, is expected to be in Bangalore after September 25, to shoot for her special number in the Ganesh and Amulya starrer Shravani Subramanya, a film produced by her debut Govindaya Namaha producer, Suresh. The actress also has some portions left to shoot for her upcoming film with Duniya Vijay, Shivajinagara.

Source : TOI , 18th September 2013

Physically challenged woman found unconscious, sexual assault suspected

A 23-year-old physically challenged woman was found in a semi-conscious state in Govindpuri, Southeast Delhi.

Police said residents of the area, who had seen the woman lying on the ground near a canal on Sunday evening, had informed police. The woman was rushed to a hospital, where doctors said she had received several blade injuries on her hands.

During investigation, police found that the woman, a native of Bihar, had come to the Capital last Sunday.
She told police that she had been brought here forcefully by one Aman, also a resident of Bihar.

However, police say the facts in the case are still unclear. They suspect the woman was drugged and forced to consume liquor before being dumped near the canal.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (South East) Dr P Karunakaran said, "We have identified the person who brought her to the Capital. He is absconding at the moment but we will arrest him soon. It looks like a case of sexual assault. A case has been registered and we are investigating it."

Source : The Indian Express , 17th September 2013 

Three-year old boy dumped at government-run child care centre : Lucknow

The three-year old, physically challenged, Gulab's is a heart wrenching story. Most of his introduction comes through the Government Railway Police (GRP). Though he has a family, his parents refuse to take him back home, saying the government home can give the child a better life.

His ordeal, infact, speaks for ten other physically challenged children at the centre, some of whom have parents but are growing up without parental love and care. Blame it on their physical disability.

Gulab was rescued by the police from a kidnapper at Sultanpur station in June. And brought to his present home, a government centre for children below ten years of age in Lucknow.

At the government home, efforts to strike a conversation with the boy did not yield much. "He has a speech disorder", said the caretaker Manju Verma. Though the sight of the camera was enough to amuse him, his brief smile and glint in the eyes did not last long.

The boy, said the caretaker, has a poor comprehension. He can not even tell his name, forget the whereabouts. According to GRP, he was rescued from a kidnapper on June 23 from Sadbhawna Express. The child was wailing and the man was not doing anything to console him.

"The policemen found the man's behaviour suspicious. He said he will put the boy to begging," said a GRP officer at Charbagh. The police, after rescuing the boy, presented him before the child welfare committee, which, in turn, directed the police to hand him over to the government shelter in Lucknow.

While the police records mention the boy as Gulab, at the government centre he has been renamed Anuj. The GRP records say the boy belongs to a family of a nomadic tribe in Rajasthan. The family got traced after they registered a case of 'missing' boy at a police station in Alwar.

"The maternal grandmother with one of the relatives had visited the centre in July," said caretaker Verma. The boy lunged at the woman with happiness. The report that the caretaker submitted to the authorities mentioned about the boy's playfulness with his grandmother, and the fact that his behaviour proved he was familiar with the woman.

But, it's the same woman, now, who has refused to take the child back.

The railway magistrate's order asked the police to produce the child and the family on July 31 and had also directed for the DNA analysis to make sure that the woman was the biological custodian of the child. However, since then the woman is untraceable.

"The other contact numbers provided by her also do not answer the call," said the caretaker. She said that since my child is getting a better life at this centre I do not want to take him back, the caretaker added. "Though the woman came here quite a few times, she was not ready for DNA analysis and said she should better leave the boy at the centre," said the GRP officer.

What turned the woman away, though, is not known, it has added to the plight of the three-year old. He keeps to his own and even the center is finding it tough to handle the physically challenged boy. Surprisingly he is not alone. The centre has 15 children, ten out of whom are physically challenged.

Some of them have parents, who come to visit them at the centre, but do not turn up again when asked to take their children back.

The centre is meant to bring up children who have lost their parents or are in distress. Not for the ones who have been deliberately left behind by their parents and family. But can someone make such parents accountable towards their children.

Source : TOI , 15th September 2013 

Rs 6.96 crore sanctioned for physically-challenged students : RAIPUR

  Under the State Secondary Education Mission in the State, Rs 129.44 crore has been sanctioned for the year 2013-14, out of which Rs 6.96 crore  has been sanctioned for inclusive education of physically challenged students, Rs 6.74 crore for professional education and Rs 5.44 crore for girls hostels.

According to an official press statement issued here on Thursday, special efforts are being made in the state for inclusive education of the physically challenged. Under the scheme Braille books, construction of resource room for the visually challenged children, comfortable lavatories for handicapped children and ramps in schools would be made available.

This decision was taken at the state executive committee meeting of the State Secondary Education Mission, held under the presidentship of chief secretary Sunil Kumar here on Thursday.

The officers informed that under the state secondary education mission, 67 hostels for girls studying from class 9 to 12 would be constructed in the current financial year.

District Panchayat president Laxmi Verma, additional chief secretaries DS Mishra and Vivek Dhand and other members of the executive committee attended the meeting.

The chief secretary instructed to make special efforts to bring down the high and higher secondary school dropout rate. He said that Pre-Feb structure should be construction at the high and higher secondary schools, which do not have own building. For that he instructed to monitor the work through collectors.

School education secretary Dinesh Shrivastava, PHED secretary Ganesh Shankar Mishra, director state secondary education mission Reena Baba Sahab Kangale, secretary secondary education board Alok Awasthi, director public relations OP Choudhari, director state educational research council Anil Rai, chief engineer PWD DN Pradhan and other officers were present at the meeting.

Source : The Pioneer , 20th September 2013

Glimmer of hope for physically challenged : Karnataka

50,000 for those who enter into wedlock with specially abled

A new scheme that could bring about a change in the lives of men and women with disabilities has evoked a good response in the district.

The State government has implemented a new scheme which provides an allowance to those who enter into a wedlock with a person with disability.

The government, in its budget for the year 2013-14, had announced various benefits for the development of the physically challenged.

This included a scheme where a person getting married to a physically challenged person is eligible to an allowance of Rs 50,000, which will be deposited in the name of the disabled spouse for a period of five years.

They can utilise the monthly interest for the period. After five years, they can either continue the same or withdraw the fixed deposit money.

The government has however imposed some conditions. Registration of the wedding at the Registrar’s office has been made mandatory and only those with 40 per cent disability can avail the scheme.

Second marriages have been ruled out. Scholarships for meritorious physically challenged and allowance for their childcare have also been introduced.


Visually challenged women belonging to the BPL category are eligible for childcare allowance too. An allowance of Rs 2,000 will be paid up to two years after delivery, for two children, under the scheme.

The annual earnings of the family should be below Rs 2.5 lakh.


The government has chalked out plans to encourage meritorious students with disability to pursue higher studies from this year.

Accordingly, the fee paid by the disabled to continue higher education, vocational studies, technical education and post graduation will be reimbursed. The exam fee, tuition, lab, sports and library fee will be reimbursed as per the scheme.

Students should have 80 per cent attendance during his or her previous academic year. Students who are already getting an allowance through other sources will not be eligible under the scheme.

The Disability Welfare Officers of the respective districts will have the discretionary powers to sanction the scheme. District officer H K Revanesh said the proposals are being accepted under the scheme and it is being publicised in the taluks through rural rehabilitation workers.

Source : Deccan Herald : Chamarajanagar , 20th September 2013

Lack of disabled-friendly buildings a worry in Cuttack : Bhubaneshwar

Urban development officials of Cuttack have failed to construct a green building for physically challenged persons. Though sufferings of persons with disabilities are increasing, political representatives and government officials have repeatedly turned a deaf ear to their woes.

According to guidelines of Central Public Works Department ( CPWD), after 1996, every public office should construct barrier free buildings with special facilities for use of persons with disabilities. 'Special Facilities' includes ramps, lift, hand railings and reserved parking space for differently-abled persons in all high-rise buildings.

Educational institutions, hostels, libraries, hospitals, hotels, marriage halls, cinema theatres, amusement parks, swimming pools, recreation centres, motion picture houses, auditoriums, museums, stadiums, banks and insurance companies are the most important places that need to PWD-friendly.

"It's surprising to see the city's most important building, the "collectorate", not having proper facilities for PWDs," a woman, who depends on other staff each time she has to enter or leave the district administration office, said requesting anonymity.

Sujata Pattanaik of Ashraya The shelter, an organization working for the rights of PWDs, said disabled persons are ignored to an extent that they are not able to join mainstream of society.

"Not a single school in the city can claim to be totally disabled-friendly," stated Biranchi Pani, a member of an organization working on child right protection.

"We are trying to enforce the facility for PWD in state buildings soon. We have asked the state works department to make a plan for the buildings," said I Srinivas, prinicipal secretary, housing and urban development department.


Source : Times of India , 21st September 2013 

PU elections: Physically challenged students may get PUSU nomination : Chandigarh

With around two weeks left for the student council elections in Panjab University (PU), it is the physically-challenged students who will be under the spotlight, as they get the opportunity to contest the elections for the first time.

Though physically-challenged students have remained active in the PU student council elections, it is probably for the first time that one such student will be selected to represent his party.

The idea has been mooted by the Panjab University Student Union (PUSU), one of the student organisations of the university, which has reportedly decided for the first time to field a physically-challenged student as the party's representative. Though there is major probability that the candidate will be a boy, the party members added they were not opposed to the selection of an eligible girl candidate as well.

"There are many such students in various departments of the university who rarely get any opportunity to showcase their ability because of their disability. Therefore, we have decided to give them a platform to voice their opinions," said Ravinder Singh Dhaliwal, State President, PUSU, who put forward the suggestion in one of the party meetings held recently.

Meanwhile, Sumit Goklaney, General Secretary, PUSU said, "Many physically-challenged students have been active members of the party since long. This year we have around 10-12 such students, mostly with motor disabilities including impairment of limbs."

A former student leader, when questioned about the absence of these students in the student council said, "These students have already experienced so many difficulties in their life that they are hesitant to come forward and undertake anymore 'risks'. Vote bank politics is another reason."

The party members plans to visit various departments to select such candidates, but have expressed preference to select someone from among its active members. Party members who might get the opportunity include Surender, Subhash, from Department of Hindi, Parampreet from Department of Panjabi and Dimple from UICET. 

Source : The Indian Express , 21st September 2013 

Kichutip Youth fellowship renders service to community : Mokokchung

 The Cadet Club of Kichutip Youth Fellowship, MTBA Mokokchung are observing the month of September as Evangelism month under the theme “Transformed to transform”.

Through this, the Club has already rendered service to Community Based Rehabilitation program under Care & Support Society, Mokokchung in the form of Home Visitation to three differently able persons, where they provided some cash, prayer and encouraged the parents and relatives through God’s word.

Imchawati Kichu, Managing Director, Care & Support Society has appreciated and thanked the Humanitarian deeds of the Kichutip Youth fellowship which has set an example for the community at large to further contribute in  uplifting the eminence of differently abled people in our society.

Source : The Morung Express , 18th September

Stalker told to supply room-freshener, deo to school for blind : Delhi

In an unusual order, the Delhi High Court has asked a Gurgaon-based perfume manufacturer who constantly stalked and tried to molest his former employee to supply room fresheners and deodorants to a school for blind children free of cost for a year.

The court on Tuesday allowed his plea for quashing the FIR against him only after he agreed to this condition.

He had approached the court to get the charges quashed after he settled the matter out-of-the-court with the girl after paying her Rs. 6 lakh.

The court also imposed on him a fine of Rs. 2 lakh and directed him to deposit the amount for the welfare of the Delhi High Court Lawyers’ Library and Delhi Police Welfare Society.

The accused had been booked for stalking, criminal trespass and trying to disrobe a woman to outrage her modesty under the Indian Penal Code.

Justice Hima Kohli issued the order after the public prosecutor Naveen Sharma urged the court to impose some conditions on him in the nature of community service for quashing the FIR.

“Such allegations are on the rise. The charges are serious. Leaving them scot-free without having to do anything will send a wrong signal,” Sharma told the court.

According to the victim’s complaint, she had worked in the Gurgaon firm of the accused since December 2012 and left the office in March, 2013 as he misbehaved with her.

The victim contended that on June 29, 2013 the man had entered her house in RK Puram when she was alone and molested her. The accused had also allegedly tried to disrobe her and threatened her with dire consequences when she had resisted.

Source : Hindustan Times , 18th September 2013

Saturday, 14 September 2013

10.18 mln physically challenged people receive aid in China

Nearly 10.18 million physically challenged people in China have received aid between 2008 and 2012, helping 4.88 million of them to rise above the poverty line, a report said today.

The China Disabled Persons' Federation's report said that the subsidies have helped 31.8 lakh physically challenged people in rural areas over the last five years, with the formation of 5,226 poverty-alleviation bases to help 102,000 people find jobs.

China is maintaining stable development of social security for the disabled, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

More than 2.8 million physically challenged city-dwellers have social insurance and 4.99 million of them have basic medical insurance. The pension insurance system for physically challenged people now covers both rural and urban areas nationwide, the report said.

According to the federation, more than 20 million physically challenged people, both in urban and rural areas, have received social relief, including collective supply and daily life guarantee, in the last five years.

Source : Business Standard Via PTI , 13th September 2013

‘Bring the physically challenged to mainstream’ : MANDYA-KARNATAKA

K.S. Rajanna, Commissioner for the Disabled, urged the physically challenged community to utilise the benefits of State and Union government-sponsored programs.

He was speaking after inaugurating a function on ‘Facilities to physically challenged’, organised under the aegis of Department of Physically Challenged and Senior Citizens Welfare, Mandya District Administration and Mandya Zilla Panchayat at Gandhi Bhavan here on Friday.

The State and Union governments are committed to bringing the physically challenged to the mainstream. The State and Union governments have designed several projects to uplift the handicapped,” he said.

The governments have provided equal opportunities to the physically challenged besides serving to protect their rights, Mr. Rajanna said.

Source : The Hindu , 14th September 2013

Posts for disabled diverted: Applicants : BHUBANESHWAR

Two visually impaired persons, who had applied for the posts of junior lecturer, on Friday alleged that the Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC) diverted posts reserved for the physically handicapped candidates to general category persons. OPSC declared results for the posts on September 6.

Visually-challenged Manjulata Panda, a PhD student of Utkal University, said none of the 29 candidates selected for the post of junior lecturer in political science is a physically challenged. The Hirakud native, who had qualified in the written test and claimed to have done well in the viva voce, said even if the government did not find a suitable candidate, the post should have remained vacant, according to norms.

Another blind person Ravindra Kumar Sahoo said a normal person grabbed the post of junior lecturer in Sanskrit by producing a fake disability certificate. The Begunia resident, who had also appeared in the test, suspected kickbacks behind diversion of the post to fake certicate holder.

The duo have submitted representations to the commissioner for persons with disabilities Kasturi Mohapatra and demanded high-level inquiry into the matter. "I have asked the OPSC for its response in the matter. We will find out the truth," Mohapatra said.

Source : TOI , 14th September 2013



‘OPSC ignores physically challenged in recruitment process’

Source : The Hindu , 14th September 2013 

            Thirty fiveyear-old Manjulata Panda, a visually challenged girl, fought all odds in her life to achieve the educational qualification that other girls in her category could only dream of, but only to be pushed out of race when it mattered the most.

Ms. Panda while addressing a press conference here alleged her candidature for the post of junior lecture in political science was not considered by Odisha Public Service Commission against the reservation in physically challenged category.

“I underwent stringent selection process – appearing written examination and then personal interviews. Even my antecedents were checked by police department which usually mark completion of recruitment process. However, when the result was declared, my name was not there in the list,” she said.

Ms. Panda said, “I consoled myself that a better candidate might have been selected. But to my utter surprise, there was none in the physically challenged category list.”

Manjulata Panda is said to be the first visually challenged girl from the State to enroll in PhD programme. She completed her Master in Arts and Master in Philosophy from Sambalpur University without the facility of special library for visually challenged people in the State. The brave girl had also overcome various disadvantages – her brother is also visually challenged - at personal level to reach this stage.

Manjulata was not the lone case. Physically challenged persons are treated discriminately as far as following reservation rules for physically handicapped in recruitment process in the State is concerned. One Rabindra Kumar Sahoo, who completed M.Phil programme from Utkal University, made similar allegation.

“A girl with healthy eyesight has been selected for junior lecture post in my place. How can be a normal person selected in physically handicapped category? We struggled more than a decade without the privileges normal students enjoy to reach a stage. Authorities completely ignore our candidature throwing existing rules to wind,” said Mr. Sahoo, who moved the court of State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Odisha over the issue.

Sources said State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities had sought clarification from OPSC over the issue. Sanyas Behera, a prominent activist in the physically challenged sector, said the State had been paying complete disregard to reservation for physically challenged candidates in recruitment process as result of which this disadvantaged group was losing interest from education.


Thursday, 12 September 2013

Differently abled get sanction orders for financial assistance : CHENNAI

Distribution of financial aid to physically challenged by Minister Valarmathi at K K Nagar. (Express photo)

Distribution of financial aid to physically challenged by Minister Valarmathi at K K Nagar.

A total number of 73 persons received sanction orders for a maintenance grant offered to the severely differently abled here on Wednesday.

The beneficiaries would get a monthly financial assistance of Rs 1,000 through their life time, official sources said.

According to sources, about 40,000 persons with different types of disabilities are registered with the Chennai District Welfare Office for the Differently Abled.

Of them, 618 are receiving maintenance grant for the severely disabled. With 72 beneficiaries having either expired or migrated to other districts, an additional number of people have been included, an official said.
A press release said that the maintenance grant distributed on Wednesday is worth of Rs 8,76,000 annually.
Besides, three persons received modular artificial limbs worth of Rs 93,000.

Minister for Social Welfare and Nutritious Noon Meal Programme B Valarmathi, State Commissioner for the Differently Abled V K Jeyakodi, senior officials and several others participated.

Source : The New Indian Express , 12th September 2013

Termination of physically-challenged teacher draws flak : PANAJI


DRAG demands inquiry into the matter by Chief Secretary


Disability Rights Association of Goa (DRAG) on Wednesday criticised the Goa Directorate of Education for illegally sanctioning the termination of service of a teacher in a government-aided school, who acquired a disability during service.

It demanded an inquiry into the matter by the Chief Secretary. President of DRAG Avelino de Sa told The Hindu on Wednesday that as per Section 47 of the Persons with Disability Act, 1995, no establishment funded by the government could dispense with or reduce in rank any employee who acquired a disability during service provided that if the employee after acquiring the disability was not suitable for the post he was holding he should be shifted to some other post with the same pay scale and service benefits.

He said the Directorate of Education was aware of this section because in March this year there was a similar case against the Directorate of Education with the State Disability Commissioner. Despite that, the Directorate of Education had gone ahead and sanctioned the termination of the teacher who acquired disability during service, claimed DRAG president.

“What is shocking is that the medical board of State-owned Goa Medical College (GMC), Bambolim, has certified the teacher as fit to continue in service on a desk job,” said Mr. de Sa.

‘Illegal decision’

“The decision of the Directorate of Education to sanction termination of the teacher who acquired disability during service is illegal as it is in violation of Section 47 of the Persons with Disability Act, 1995, and the recommendations of the medical board of the GMC,” said DRAG president.

The organisation spearheading the cause of differently-abled persons has also questioned the authority of the medical board of the GMC to certify the teacher as unfit to teach when the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, New Delhi, has identified the post of teacher as suitable for persons with disability.

DRAG has also demanded that the government support primary education in the mother tongue as many children were not able to cope with the switch from Konkani/Marathi to English in Std. V as a result many children became slow learners or learning disabled.

The organisation also demanded that the State government acknowledge the efforts of special teachers by felicitating them with a State award on teachers’ day.


# ‘No one can dispense with an employee who acquired disability during service’
# Goa Medical College has certified the teacher as fit to continue in service on a desk job

Source : The Hindu , 12th September 2013 

Petition to live with 'wife' quashed : BANGALORE

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday dismissed a habeas corpus petition filed by a physically challenged man seeking the court to direct his alleged wife to live with him.

A division bench comprising justices N K Patil and H S Kempanna dismissed the suo motu habeas corpus petition filed based on a letter written by physically challenged Ebenezer after his alleged wife refused to accept him as husband.

Ebenezer (50) lost his legs in an accident and allegedly begged in the front of a church at Madiwala. Sandhya Roop (45) of Tamil Nadu, after her husband’s death in 2000, settled in a slum here in 2004. She became acquainted with Ebenezer during her visits to the church and lived with him for a while. However, unable to bear his torture, she left him.

On August 29, Ebenezer filed a complaint with the Madiwala police stating that his wife was missing. The police brought Sandhya to the police station and questioned her about her relationship with him. However, she refused to acknowledge him as husband.

Meanwhile, Ebenezer, in a letter addressed to the High Court on September 3, alleged that the Madiwala police did not take his complaint seriously. The court summoned Madiwala police and Sandhya.

She maintained that Ebenezer was not her husband. Later, the bench dismissed his petition as he was  not able to produce any proof that she was his wife.

Source : The New Indian Express , 12th September 2013

Engineer develops ‘headset mouse’ for handicapped techies : Allaphuza

K.C Baiju with his computer application control headset (CACH) —DC

K.C Baiju with his computer application control headset (CACH) 

A mouse operated without the aid of the hand is beyond imagination now, but such a system  has been developed by an engineer here for the benefit of  the physically challenged. 

K.C. Baiju, a Kerala State Electricity Board sub-engineer, who has invented  the computer application control headset (CACH), claims his new system can be used in place of computer mouse without the support of head or hand.

According to Baiju, who has many innovations to his credit,    including smart helmets for linemen, the CACH has  a sensor control circuit and a headphone. The circuit functions as per the gravity control unit  inside the circuit, which helps  move the cursor as per the movements of the head.

When you want to make a click,  you need to move your jaws alongside. For instance, if you move the right jaw, a small projection connected to the headphone will automatically be pressed. As a result, the pressure developed by the jaw will help  stop the functioning of the sensor-controlling  circuit of the headphone,” he explains.

He has used the technology  of  a common mouse. “My prime aim  was to make the efforts of physically challenged techies easier.  It is also cost- effective and user-friendly,’’ he says claiming he had been experimenting with this system in his computer for some time.
It becomes  operational only after sitting straight to the computer, he says and adds  he is trying to get the patent for it.  He also asserts it can be modified as a wireless system, installing special software in the computer.

CACH will be helpful not only for physically challenged but also government employees, techies, receptionists and customer relations executives, he claims.

Source : Deccan Chronicle , 12th September 2013

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The vision to succeed : Tiruchi

P.R. Pandi, former president of Organisation For Rehabilitation of the Blind (ORBIT), in Tiruchi. Photo: M. Moorthy

P.R. Pandi, former president of Organisation For Rehabilitation of the Blind (ORBIT), in Tiruchi


Equipping the visually challenged with job skills is a lifetime mission for P.R. Pandi, former President of the Organisation for the Rehabilitation of the Blind in Tiruchi

When P.R. Pandi smiles, it reaches all the way up to his eyes. The former president of the Organisation for the Rehabilitation of the Blind in Tiruchi (ORBIT) has never considered his visual impairment as a burden he says, as he talks us through his 37-year career in the pioneering engineering workshop.

It’s a story that inspires awe in the listener – of a man’s determination to rise above his disability and distinguish himself in his chosen field. 

Born in Veeravalasai village in the Sivaganga district in 1955, Pandi lost his sight to viral fever when still a teenager. He credits his widowed mother (Pandi’s father died when he was seven) for encouraging him to pursue higher education despite his visual impairment.

Pandi went on to earn a diploma in mechanical engineering from a Chennai polytechnic. After qualifying in social work, he served with the Swedish Mission Hospital in Tirupattur for four years, working with differently-abled people in the surrounding villages.

It was to be a fortunate start for the talented young Pandi. “In the 1970s, ORBIT was running a unit to manufacture soaps and chalk pieces using blind workers,” recounted Pandi.

“When they decided to establish a light engineering workshop in response to an advertisement from the Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) in 1973, the Swedish Mission director recommended me to them. I joined as a fitter at the age of 20, but was spotted as an administration assistant early on.”

In addition to his factory duties, Pandi began to get trained in processing the paperwork – and soon doubled as an administrative assistant in ORBIT.

In 1989, the founding members of ORBIT decided to hand over the management of the workshop completely to visually impaired staff, with outside supervision. Pandi was part of the foundation committee of five staffers, working up to the post of president when he retired at age 58 in July.

A man of his experience and standing would be a sure candidate for lucrative job offers from others in the field, one speculates. “I was, and am,” he confirms, “but I have always turned them down because I didn’t want to create a business rival for ORBIT. You see, this is not just about me, it’s about the mission of giving the visually impaired a dignified life.”

It’s a cause that keeps him fired up even after his exit from ORBIT. “Engineering is not the only field that blind workers can do well in,” he says. “There is a wealth of opportunity available to the differently-abled in India, but few are aware of it.”

Call centres and data entry jobs for instance, could be another avenue of employment for the visually impaired, he says.

He gives the example of his own daughter, Vimala Maheshwari, who was diagnosed with low-vision when she was in Standard III. With timely intervention, she was able to stay in mainstream education and consistently do well in exams. Today the double major graduate (economics and computer science) is working for at the Head Post Office as a postal assistant.

“Neither I nor my wife Shanmugavalli (who works as a nursing assistant in Tiruchi’s Joseph Eye Hospital and has normal vision), have ever treated our daughter as a disadvantaged person.” The couple also has a son P.Sivakumar, who works as a vocational instructor at the Spastics Society of Tiruchi.

Pandi feels organisations should go beyond merely equipping the differently-abled with vocational skills.
“We need to guide them on how to convert their newly earned skills into ways of earning a livelihood,” he suggests.

“You have to give the differently-abled an idea of how to live independently. It is a myth that the disabled will not be able to afford the education – people who are determined to get ahead in life will do all they can to get there.”

Among the milestones in his career are the seminar Workability Asia which he helped to organise in 2011 in Tiruchi, bringing representatives from 27 disability-related organisations from nine Asian countries.

He is very keen to see the rehabilitation of the disabled move into a higher gear in India, and urges anyone in search of guidance to contact him. Pandi has written several guides and pamphlets on his work with the visually impaired and on ORBIT in Tamil, but has never thought of penning his autobiography. “I could do it, if it was required,” he muses.

Life continues at the same pace for this newly minted retiree. “I’ve had no time or inclination to take rest,” he laughs. “I’m always ready to travel, no matter how far away. On a regular day, I get up at 5am, and go for a walk. Once I’m ready for the day, I meet my visually handicapped friends and fix up a programme for some activity or the other. I also have offered to help out the new staff at ORBIT, because after all, this is our company,” he adds with pride.

He finds great solace in religion and his joint family (both his children are married and share the household with their parents) and his grandchildren Shangmugasundaram and Aishwarya Lakshmi.

Clearly P.R. Pandi is a man who rarely stops smiling.“I have never had any regrets – whether I was sighted or blind,” he declares. “I will always make my own life wherever I go and never accept anything as impossible.” 

Source : The Hindu , 6th September 2013

Man kills differently-abled boy to help sister re-marry : COIMBATORE

A 23-year-old engineer was arrested on Saturday for allegedly beating his six-year-old mentally challenged nephew to death with a beer bottle and later dumping the body in the Parambikulam Aliyar Project (PAP) canal at Poosaripatti near Pollachi on Wednesday. His 58-year-old driver also was arrested.

Sources said that M Surya, son of Manokaran of Maram Pudungi Gounden Pudur village, was irked over the fact that suitors to his sister Varshini, a divorcee, were rejecting her after learning about Avinash’s condition.

On Wednesday evening, Surya and his driver N Murugan took along Avinash to the PAP canal at Poosaripatti in their car. However, the duo returned home the same night without Avinash.

The next day, Manokaran lodged a complaint with Gomangalam police stating that Avinash had fallen into the canal while he was trying to retrieve a water bottle that had fallen into it.
Though, police found several inconsistencies in his complaint, they launched a search for the boy. Avinash’s body was recovered at Sultan Pettai, 25 km from where he had fallen into the canal. The body was sent to the government hospital for autopsy where the doctors found out that Avinash was murdered and then thrown into the canal. Based on the post-mortem report, police picked up Surya for questioning. During interrogation, Surya confessed to have murdered the boy over delay in the remarriage of his sister.

According to police, Varshini divorced her husband in 2009 and had been living at her father’s house ever since. Her family had been trying to arrange another marriage for her but all the alliances were failing after the suitors’ families came to know about Avinash.

Speaking to Express, P Periyasamy sub-inspector, said, “Surya was upset over the fact that his marriage could not take place until Varishini got married. Hence, he decided to kill Avinash. He took the boy to PAP and hit him on his head with beer bottle until he was dead and then threw the body into the canal.”

Following Surya’s confession, Gomangalam police altered the missing case to murder and arrested Surya and Murugan and remanded them in Coimbatore prison. Sources said that Surya was a B Tech graduate and had been looking after his father’s agricultural land.

Source : The New Indian Express , 8th September 2013 

Physically challenged protest over sexual assault on mentally retarded girls : JAMMU

To protest against the recent sexual assault on mentally retarded girls, angry physically challenged children and their parents under the banner of Jammu and Kashmir Association of Parents of Hearing Handicapped (APHH), today staged a massive protest demonstration at Dogra Chowk.

The deaf and dumb children and their parents took out a protest rally which began from Samaj Kalyan Kendra at Shahidi Chowk and passed through Residency Road and before culminating at the Press Club they blocked traffic movement for few minutes at Dogra Chowk to show their resentment against the district administration for not taking severe action against the culprits of sexual assault on mentally retarded minor girls at Home for Mentally Retarded Inner Wheel, Channi Rama. They also sought the constitution of a high level committee to conduct a probe in this connection.

The children also staged a protest demonstration in front of Press Club, carrying placards and raising slogans against the district administration for taking the matter non-seriously. They were demanding a swift trial of the accused besides new laws with stringent punishment for those convicted of sexual assault on mentally retarded minor girls.

“The state government, with the help of opposition leaders should make stringent laws and there should be death sentence for such a heinous crime and justice should be speedy. Immediate justice on such issues reinforces the faith of people in our legal system,” said Sanjay Gupta while addressing the reporters.

“This issue has been come up in Jammu and ironically that too from an NGO which is meant to serve and protect those who are in need and incapable of doing things for themselves. But in this inhuman activity these innocent girls were assaulted, he maintained. He also reiterated that it is the prime responsibility of the civil society and the government to safeguard and provide full protection to the mentally retarded and other kind of handicapped persons of the society.

The leaders further demanded an in-depth enquiry against the NGO working since 1979 and demanded that the registration of the NGO, its funding and all other aspects be probed. They also demanded canceling the registration of all such NGOs whose antecedents are doubtful, fake and nonexistent. These fake NGOs are involved in exploitation and plunder of the government funds and are a blot on the other existing NGOs actually working for the welfare of society, they alleged.

Source : Kashmir Times , 9th September 2013

Organizations condemn rape of physically challenged girl : DIMAPUR

Several organizations, including Zeliang Women’s Organization, Dimapur (ZWOD); Zeme Pui Union, Dimapur (ZPUD); Zeliangrong Union, Chumukedima (ZUC); Zeliangrong Women Society, Dimapur (ZWSD); Zeliang Public Organization, Dimapur (ZPOD); Zeliangrong Students’ Union, Dimapur (ZSUD); Liangmai Council, Dimapur district (LCDD), and Tenyimi Students’ Union Dimapur(TSUD) have condemned the alleged rape of a 26-year-old physically challenged girl by one Phongpa Konyak at Chumukedima on September 3, 2013 and demanded severe punishment to the accused.

Phongpa, a resident of Chumukedima town ward no. 6, originally hails from Hongphoi village in Mon district.

In a press release, ZWOD and ZPUD said investigating agencies should thoroughly examine the case of violation of the “basic human rights of the victim” and award befitting punishment to the guilty. 

Silent procession September 10

Zeliang Women’s Organization, Dimapur and Zeme Pui Union, Dimapur have appealed to the right-thinking citizens of Dimapur, especially various women bodies, to take part in the silent procession to be organized under the aegis of Chumukedima Mothers’ Association and ZWOD at Zeliangrong village Panchayat Hall at 9 a.m. September 10.

The participants in the silent procession would march to the DC office, Dimapur for submission of a joint memorandum.

Meanwhile, describing rape of the physically challenged girl as “an inhuman and barbaric act”, ZWSD demanded the “highest degree of punishment” to the accused as per the provision of the law.

Asigwang prayed to God to give relief and comfort to the victim’s family. ZUC chairman also urged upon the government not to show mercy to the culprit.

In another release, ZPOD stated that the administration should take strong action against the rapist and not grant him bail at any cost. It called upon the right-thinking people and organizations to jointly fight against such dirty crime culture.

The organisation also said it stood by victim’s family and would continue to fight till justice was delivered in the case.

Strongly condemning the rape case, ZSUD said bail should not be granted to the accused under any circumstances. The union demanded stern action against the accused as per the law.

Terming the rape of the physically challenged girl “a heinous crime” and “barbaric deed”, Liangmai Council, Dimapur district asked the law-enforcing agencies to leave no stone unturned to deliver justice to the victim and demanded exemplary punishment to the culprit.

“The heinous crime by Phongpa Konyak means disrespect to our women folk which cannot be tolerated,” council stated. It also conveyed his sympathy to the victim and her family.

District Citizens’ Forum (DDCF) has condemned the rape of a minor at Chumukedima on September 3 by Phongpa. DDCF stated heinous crime committed on a physically challenged girl should be condemned by all right thinking citizens and criminal awarded a befitting punishment as per the law of land.

Tenyimi Students’ Union Dimapur (TSUD) condemned the rape and urged the responsible authority to take stringent action against the rapist and no to grant bail to the accused at any cost.

Meanwhile, expressing concern on the increasing violence against women, TSUD assured to extend full support and solidarity to the victims and the families till justice is delivered. 

Source : Nagaland Post , 10 September 2013 

Centre for disability studies in Ravenshaw University : CUTTACK

Ravenshaw University has planned to set up a Centre for Disability Studies (CDS) for promoting directed academic activities on disability related issues as well as enabling effective capacity-building and mainstreaming of the differently-abled.

The Centre would offer specially designed programmes for developing human resources in the field of disability along with courses both academic and skill development for the disabled students. It will also promote research and technology development in various fields and issues relating to disability.

“While the focus is on provisioning equal rights and opportunities to the disabled, there is a lack of appropriate academic modules, educational technologies and capacity building mechanism for their special needs. The Centre would strive to bridge the gap between the mainstream and the disabled,” coordinator for differently-abled students, Ravenshaw University, Priyabrata Majhi said.

In a bid to build the platform for the Centre, the University in collaboration with Institute of Social Work and Research, Bhubaneswar has planned to host a conference of the International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment in December.

The two-day conference on December 9 and 10 will be attended by more than 200 visually impaired persons, including academia, researchers, experts in the fields of disability, policy makers and activists from the country and abroad.

The conference is expected to have participation from Asian countries, USA and UK along with UN representatives on disability issues.

The aim of such international conference is to explore new ways and means for ‘Equity of Education’ of the visually impaired persons in all academic institutions of higher learning in Asia.

The conference report will help the government adopt an appropriate policy and resultant programmes for the visual impaired persons while laying the base for CDS in Ravenshaw, Majhi said.

The University is also set to establish a  modern resource centre for the differently-abled.

The Centre will be equipped with state-of-the-art computers and learning media including audio books, Braille scanners and printers and internet access.

The Centre will also carry out activities on skill development of the students, Majhi said.

Source : The New Indian Express , 09th September 2013

HC relief for physically-disabled student seeking MBBS seat : PUNE

The Bombay high court has directed the state directorate of medical education and research (DMER) to consider a physically disabled student from Solapur eligible for admission to the first-year MBBS course.

In an eight-page order passed recently, the high court division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice M S Sanklecha overruled the state's submission that Rajdeep R Deshmukh from Barshi in Solapur district, was not eligible to study MBBS course because of his disability in upper limb. The court relied on the report of a special medical board that examined the extent of Rajdeep's functional ability as well as on the expert opinion by a neurologist, who was part of the board.

The court also reaffirmed the position, taken by it as well as the Delhi and the Madras high courts in the rulings in earlier cases involving issues similar to those raised by the petitioner, that there can not be any absolute embargo upon the admission to students having disabilities of the upper limb.

Rajdeep, who suffers from 'Phocomelia', a rare congenital disorder involving malformation of the limbs, had cleared the Maharashtra state board's higher secondary certificate (HSC) 2013 examination from Pune division with 78.50% in science stream and also cleared the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test for Undergraduates (NEET-UG) held in May this year.

Rajdeep's father, Ramesh Deshmukh, told TOI on Monday, "My son was ranked 6th in the state among physically handicapped students in the provisional merit list for NEET-UG which was released by the DMER. However, on August 1, the DMER released a list of students, who had filled their preference form for the person with disability (PWD) quota, showing Rajdeep as not eligible for the quota and his medical fitness status as unfit. The DMER cited disability of upper limb as the reason for declaring Rajdeep unfit."

Rajdeep moved the Bombay high court against the DMER's decision by filing a writ petition through his counsel Pooja Thorat. Apart from the state of Maharashtra, the DMER and the Medical Council of India (MCI) were listed among the respondents in the matter. On August 29, the high court had directed the DMER to get Rajdeep's disability assessed by a special medical board at the J J Hospital in Mumbai in the context of his functional ability to study and practice medicine.

The special medical board examined the petitioner on September 3 and submitted its report, citing some limitations to Rajdeep's ability to perform basic practical examinations and to perform various procedures on patients because of a compromised hook, pinch and grasp of both hands. The counsel for MCI relied on this report and submitted that as per the MCI guidelines of July 5, 2011, the petitioner was not eligible for admission to MBBS course due to disability of upper limb.

Meanwhile, at the request of the court, Kamlesh A Jagiasi, assistant professor, department of neurology at Grant medical college and J J Hospital, gave his opinion to the court that Rajdeep is capable of studying MBBS course. "On account of the amputation of right index and middle finger, deformity of right thumb and congenital amputation of left hand index and middle finger, the petitioner's physical ability is partially affected, but it does not prevent the petitioner from handling syringe, holding scissors and preparing slides for haemotological tests," Jagiasi told the court.

Jagiasi submitted that the petitioner is physically fit to study MBBS and also practice as a general physician, but the petitioner may not be in a position to study a postgraduate (PG) course in the surgical branch as it requires greater dexterity and flexibility of hands than that required by a general practitioner or a PG in non-surgical stream of medicine.

Source :  TOI , 10th September 2013