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Sunday, 6 November 2016

Dismal Condition of Enrolment of Children with Special Needs - Bhubaneshwar

It has been reported that only two percent of disabled children are in schools and 0.5 to 0.6 percent of them comprise girls.

Quodsi everti ancillae vim qui lorem persius petentium

The enrolment of children with special needs especially girls are in a bleak condition in the State. The National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA) report points out that 74,805 disabled children are enrolled in Class I to V  of which, o.6 percent are girls i.e. about 30,641 and there are 40,243 students in this category in Class VI-VIII  and out of which 0.74 percent are girls i.e. about 17,165.
Overall in the country, a recent report pointed out 2.6 million disabled children either never been to school or had to drop out. The report has pointed out higher literacy rate for disabled in urban areas at 68% than in rural areas which is 49%. The census report across all age group reports that the literacy rate among the disabled has increased from 49% in 2001 to 54.5% in 2011 was much lower than the overall literacy rate of 74%. The differences in the literacy rate between males and females is wider in rural than in urban areas.
Source : ENA India , 3rd Nov 2016 

History lessons by Lake Pichola

Get up close with Udaipur’s royal past, its art and architecture at the City Palace museum, writes Chitra Swaminathan

The muted yellow in the floral miniatures on the stately Badi Pol takes on an iridescent sheen in the sharp rays of the morning sun. As the day grows brighter, in its warmth, you look at the 400-year history of the Suryavanshi dynasty that ruled Mewar.
Through the Badi Pol, built by Rana Amar Singh I, you walk up the slope to the imposing Tripoliya built in 1711. A triple arched gate with ornate jaalis, jharokhas and cupolas, it gives one the first glimpse of Udaipur’s royal past. Through the Tripoliya you arrive at the Manek Chowk, which like any other chowk or junction has been seeing intense activity. Originally used for ceremonial processions, horse cavalry and elephant parades, now tourists throng the place for taking photographs with the colossal City Palace Museum as the backdrop. In the evenings, it is also the site for the sound and light show that chronicles bloody battles, seiges, Mughal intrigue and Rajput valour.
The gallantry of the region’s legendary warriors is symbolised in the crest at Darikhana ki Pol, the entrance to the museum.
As you step inside to explore Mewar’s living heritage, one of the walls illustrates the genealogical tree of the Suryavanshi rulers. At the Assembly Hall, a youthful portrait of Maharana Bhagwat Singh Mewar beckons your attention.
In 1969, he set up the Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation (MMCF) and converted the 30 mt. high and 333 mt long City Palace into a museum.
A young guide, and an elderly Bhupendra Singh, administrator-in-chief, MMCF, take you through winding narrow staircases with exquisite Victorian tiles lining their side walls, quaint porticos and balconies with resplendent views of the city of the sun.
You stop by the Saleh Khana or the armoury and admire the paintings that pay homage to Panna Dhai, the selfless caretaker of a young Udai Singh (founder of Udaipur), who sacrificed the life of her son to save the prince. The golden chapter in the yellowed pages of history comes alive at Pratap Gallery I that houses the original armour, sword and shield of Maharana Pratap, the hero of the Battle of Haldighati (1576).
The Mewar style of construction integrates Persian architectural influences in Chandra Mahal, an outcome of Rana Karan Singh’s visit to Delhi to sign a treaty with Emperor Jehangir.
Baadi Mahal on the fourth of the palace has 104 elegantly carved pillars and is the highest point of the monument. It is here that royal banquets were hosted. In one of the balconies that flank this mahal is the chair that was placed in Delhi Darbar, held in honour of King George V, for Maharana Fateh Singh, who refused to attend the darbar.
A few sections of the palace indicate how art and literature thrived in Mewar. For instance, the miniature paintings at Dilkush Mahal, the walls and ceilings of Kanch ki Burj carry glass inlay work, Chitram ki burj showcases elaborately painted wall murals depicting court scenes, boat rides, festivals and processions.
Vani Vilas is where Kaviraj Shyamaldas wrote the four volumes of ‘Veer Vinod’, the official history of Mewar and Madan Vilas displays pages from the book ‘The Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan’ by Lt. Col. James Tod, who came to Udaipur as a British representative and stayed on for five years, undertaking extensive tours.
The book is a labour of his love for the region.
The physically challenged Maharana Bhupal Singh was the last Maharana to live in this palace before Mewar merged with the Union of India in 1948.
Though most parts of this palace, constructed in a phased manner, stand out for their blend of different architectural styles, the Surya Chopad and Surya Gokhada capture the design aesthetics and culture of Mewar.
On a cloudy day, the people and royal family used to look at this ornamental sun and begin their routine.
The Surya Chopad opens into a spectacular courtyard where ends the tour of the Mardana Mahal or the Kings Palace. A narrow passage leads to the the Zanana Mahal or the Queen’s Palace. Royal textiles, musical instruments, sculptures, paintings, photographs and palanquins preserved caringly transport you to a world of grandiose.
As you exit through Moti Chowk, the dun-coloured Aravallis and the still waters of Lake Pichola seem to reiterate that the sun never sets on Mewar.
(The writer was in Udaipur at the invitation of Maharana of Mewar Charitable Foundation)

Source : The Hindu , 3rd Nov 2016 

HC directs JU for admission to physically challenged girl - JAMMU

High Court has directed the University of Jammu to provide admission in MA Sociology subject to a physically challenged girl under reservation category.

The petitioner Shivangi Sharma, daughter of Inderjeet Sharma of Rajpura Mangotrian Jammu, with 75% permanent disability had sought admission in Jammu University under reserved category (handicapped).

But she was not given admission on the ground that she has failed to secure minimum marks which were prescribed for general category candidates as well as other categories namely scheduled caste and scheduled tribes.

The petitioner took up the matter to the High Court which ordered to reserve one seat for the candidate.

Lateron a final order dated 01-09-2016 was also passed in favour of the candidate thereby directing JU to consider the person at par with other resereved categories availing reservation.

But JU authorities outrightly denied justice and Vice Chancellor JU preferred to take the matter with Division Bench against the Single Judge judgment.

The Division Bench comprising Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice B S Walia passed an order directing the Jammu University to consider the physically disabled candidate on the basis of Inter-se merit for MA Sociology and complete the exercise within a period of two weeks.

Source : Daily Excelsior, 3rd Nov 2016

Prosecution need not prove motive every time: High Court

While confirming the life sentence awarded to a man who brutally killed a physically handicapped person, packed his body in a plastic bag, and threw it near Gorewada Ring Road, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court ruled that prosecution was not bound to prove motive of crime every time to secure conviction. It noted that if chain of circumstances sufficiently proved an accused's guilt, there was no need to establish motive.

"Motive is one of the circumstances in prosecution case based on circumstantial evidence. An accused may not exhibit his motive to anybody prior to the commission of an offence. It is not possible that every time the prosecution will have evidence to show that accused was having any motive to commit an offence," a bench of Justice Bhushan Gavai and Justice Vinay Deshpande held.

The ruling came on a plea by Paramjit Singh Kake, who contended that the prosecution had failed to show there existed any motive and there was not sufficient evidence to prove it. "Every time the prosecution is not obliged to establish motive or its adequacy in commission of an offence. It is enough if some motive is established that indicates it would be the accused who is interested in doing the crime. Non-payment of rent and gold ornaments, which were ultimately found in petitioner's possession, could be treated as motive for commission of offence," the judges said before rejecting the petition.

The deceased, also known as Goldie, was suffering from post-polio paralysis and used to drive a scooter with additional wheels. A resident of Lashkaribagh, his family had rented out their old flat to Kake, who failed to pay the rent for long. The deceased had a habit of stopping by in the same area to meet with friends. On August 23, 2011, the deceased didn't return home and a search by relatives was in vain. Next day, the police received information that a blue bag containing something was found in area between Gorewada Ring Road and Katol Naka Chowk. Police found deceased's body in it tied up with lace.

After that, a search was conducted at Kake's house. Several bloodstained clothes were discovered from his home and chemical analysis confirmed that those matched with Goldie. Kake was arrested and he confessed to killing Goldie during interrogation. His confessions led to recovery of deceased's vehicle along with weapon and also about 16 tolas gold ornaments that Goldie used to wear.

Nagpur Sessions court sentenced Kake to life imprisonment, which he challenged it in the high court that upheld the verdict while noting down 32 circumstantial evidences to nail his role in the killing of the handicapped man.

(With inputs from Sakina Dawood)

Source : TOI , 4th Nov 2016 

An idyllic getaway - Kocchi

PJ Princess Regency is a pretty surprise tucked away in a secret nook of Puthuvype in Vypeen. The property pops up at the end of a narrow road, a couple of kilometres off the main road. The white Indo-European style building sits on a lush five acres, surrounded by coconut palms and the backwaters. A perfect fit for the ‘God’s Own Country’ tag line. A statue of a cheery blue cavorting dolphin, the mascot, welcomes us to the property.

Holiday luxuryA view of the propertyPhotos:By Special Arrangement
Holiday luxuryA view of the property

Built by entrepreneur Prakash James, the resort is a dream come true for him. “The dream was to build a five star property, I want to provide the best of facilities but I had to open it as a three-star rating,” he says. But now, it is ready and waiting for a five star rating. An island of calm, it looks like the perfect getaway from the city, without really going away. The rooms spell luxury and comfort, the view is resplendent - take in the sunrise or the sunset or watch the moon rise, its reflection skimming the water’s surface.

Luxury suites, premium, deluxe and basic rooms are the options you can choose from. The categories, and the levels of the luxe element may differ, but the same attention has been given to each room.

There is a room for the physically challenged, with all requirements met. Interestingly, the art on the walls represent aspects of the Kochi of yore, painted versions of old photographs.

The proximity to the beach would make it more attractive for the lovers of the sea. The view from each of the rooms, especially the premium ones, is breathtaking. At nights you can see the light from the lighthouse play peekaboo. A mangrove by the backwaters near the resort forms a cover over the canal, unfortunately it is not in a state to be used for boating or any kind of tourism-related activity. The Puthuvype beach is close by as is the light house. Cherai beach is another 15 or so kilometres away. A curio shop offers memorabilia and sports gear such a swimsuits and such.

The property also boasts a spa, a health club and of course, a swimming pool. There is a larger pond for peddle boats. The resources, like the backwaters, have been utilised well. Not just as a weekend getaway, it is ideal for conferences, get-togethers, workshops, parties and weddings too - these can be accommodated in a boardroom (Leo), a mini hall (Ashwathi) which can fit in 75-85 and a larger hall (Abin), which can fit in around 450-500.

There are a couple of lounges which can also double up as play area and even a boardroom.

Each of these bears the names of Prakash’s family members. The restaurant offers a bouquet of cuisines - the star is seafood. “We have access to fresh seafood and we offer the best of the catch. In the expert hands of our chefs, we assure you the best will be put on the table,” says Andrew Noronha, deputy general manager.

“There are a number of activities for our guests - indoor and outdoor games, canoeing, pedal boating, bird watching and angling. There is a special play area for kids also,” he adds. Tours can be arranged to nearby places of interest as well, Andrew says.

Source : The Hindu , 4 Nov 2016 

Language proficiency classes planned for Kerala school students: Thiruvanthapuram

Students from Classes I to VII will be given language proficiency classes starting with English, Education Minister C Raveendranath has said. 
“The government is of the view that the learning medium should be the mother tongue. But we will make the children fluent in speaking and writing Malayalam, English and Hindi,” he said in the Assembly on Friday. 
SSA is conducting masters training programme in English and next is Hindi.  The Minister said the LDF Government was the first to introduce reservation in aided schools by giving three per cent quota to the physically-challenged, he said.  Handloom uniforms will be given to students in classes one to five from next academic year.  
Redeployment of protected teachers will not affect the opportunity of PSC rank holders or disturb reservation, Raveendranath said.  
“Of the 3,674 protected teachers, 2,974 were redeployed. Posting of the remaining 700 will be done as per the directive of the High Court. None of the teachers were deputed to posts reported to the PSC. Appointment as per reservation norms too will not be affected,” he told the Assembly on Friday.
The Minister said protected teachers were redeployed on deputation in place of teachers who were assigned with other duties or to the IT@school project. Those on deputation have to be recalled when the incumbent comes, the Minister said.
Higher Secondary School teachers who were not paid salary for months will get it soon as the Finance Committee has sanctioned Rs 70 crore.   The Minister said data on teachers in aided and government schools up to March 31, 2019, were compiled using a software which would be used for timely reporting to the PSC.
Programmes are being designed for infrastructure development in government schools with the help of voluntary organisations. All parties interested in helping the government will be entertained. A decision has been taken to raise 1,000 schools to international standards. The government is examining options to receive funding from different private agencies for this, he said.

Source : The New Indian Express , 5Nov 2016 

Rajasthan woman wanted in over 100 cheating cases across country detained in Bengaluru

Khushbu allegedly posed as an IAS officer and lawyer and extorted money from men she befriended on social media.Khushbu allegedly posed as an IAS officer and lawyer and extorted money from men she befriended on social media.BENGALURU: A 28-year-old woman from Rajasthan was arrested by Pulakeshinagar police in east Bengaluru on Saturday for allegedly duping people of money and other valuables, across the country.

The suspect, Khushbu Sharma is physically challenged, and wanted in approximately 100-150 cases in Delhi, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and  and Maharashtra. "Claiming to be a Supreme Court advocate or an IAS officer, she is reported to have stolen Rs 80,000 cash and a mobile phone from a city-based advocate on October 29, 2016. According to the complainant, Sharma visited the office under the pretext of discussing civil matters, and joining his team as an advocate," police said.

However, the advocate refused her a job, citing lack of vacancies. "In the course of the conversation, she managed to divert his attention and allegedly stole cash and a mobile phone," cops added. Senior police officers said that Sharma would be handed over to Rajasthan police after questioning.

Sources pointed out that she had previously been arrested by Jaipur police in 2015 on similar charges. "Sharma was spotted in a car she had stolen from a businessman. Also, she has many aliases such as Smriti Sharma, Lady Coca," they added.

On many occasions, Sharma posed as an IAS officer and extorted money from men, she befriended on social media. "Sharma had created a fake Facebook ID, in which she called herself an IAS officer. She came into contact with a lot of people, including those from the upper strata of the society, people from the film industry, etc. Following an initial round of conversation, she went out with them on parties and other such outings. She would later extort money from them threatening to file rape charges. Her Facebook account, which has been blocked, has many photographs wherein she is posing as an advocate," sources said.

Recalling a car-jacking incident that involved Sharma in 2015 in Delhi, a senior police officer said, "One evening, Sharma took a lift from a man from DCM near Ajmer Road, Adarsha Nagar, Delhi. She subsequently asked the man to take her to Raja Park, after managing to gain his confidence. Sharma then asked if the man was interested in getting intimate with her, and when he responded in the affirmative, she asked him to bring contraceptive from a medical shop. The man then drove the car to a chemist, and just as he alighted from the car, Sharma drove away with the automobile."

"We are cross-checking with police officials across the city to see if Sharma was involved in other cases, After questioning her, we shall hand her over to Rajasthan police," DCP, east Bengaluru, Satish Kumar told TOI.

Source : TOI , 6 Nov 2016 

Physically-challenged con woman wanted in 200 cases nabbed in Bengaluru

A 25-year-old woman who claimed to be a Supreme Court lawyer and cheated an advocate of `2 lakh was arrested on Saturday.
Investigations by Pulakeshinagar police revealed that she had cheated about 200 people posing as either a celebrity, an advocate or an IAS or IPS officer.
The accused is Kushbu Om Prakash Sharma, a native of Jaipur. She was living in a PG accommodation in
Kushbu Sharma
Indiranagar. She is also physically challenged and has been living in the city since April.
A police source said, “Kushbu recently came in contact with the advocate (Sanket Yenagi) on Facebook and asked him to take her on as his junior at work. Claiming to be the daughter of a retired IAS officer, she said that she has a commercial space in UB Towers which she was ready to give to him on rent.
“On October 28, Yenagi and Kushbu went in his car to complete the formalities. Yenagi, however, had to meet somebody. So he asked Kushbu to wait in the car. This is when Kushbu made away with the `2 lakh cash Yenagi had carried with him. Yenagi came back home and searched about Kushbu online and was shocked to see that there are some 150 cheating cases against her across the country. He then filed a complaint with Pulakeshinagar police,” the source said.
According to police sources, she is a Class 8 dropout. However, she carries a graduation certificate which seems to be forged, police said. She was recently arrested by the Mumbai police for stealing a car from a man.

Source:The New Indian Express,6 Nov 2016 

AAP govt deputing teachers for court work, not teaching: HC told

In its contempt plea, the NGO had contended that there were 26,031 posts of teachers, including special educators for differently-abled children, lying vacant in municipal and Delhi government-run schools.

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Delhi government has deputed 176 teaching staff for court work instead of teaching students, especially when there is a massive shortage of teachers in schools run by it and municipal corporations, Delhi High Court was told today. The allegation was made in an application filed by an NGO before Justice Manmohan who issued a notice to the Delhi government and sought its response before the next date of hearing on December 8.

Source : The Indian Express , 3rd Nov 2016

Career initiative launched for differently-abled - UAE

The Careers Network, an initiative to drive workplace inclusion for people with cognitive disabilities in the UAE, has been launched to organise a panel discussion on various aspects of the issues and policies by different stakeholders.

The initiative launched by Emirates NBD under its flagship #TogetherLimitless advocacy platform seeks to help people with cognitive disabilities find private or public sector employment and further their full inclusion.

The programme will also assist partners in the private sector with the selection, hiring and training of potential employees. 

In collaboration with its strategic partners, the Community Development Authority, Manzil, and Sustainable Square, the Careers Network will enlist work-ready individuals from pre-existing work-training programmes from centres, organisations, and schools, and aid them in taking on long-term employment positions with the programme’s corporate partners in the public and private sector. 

The launch was announced at the third edition of the #TogetherLimitless panel discussion where Dr Sheikha Alya Al Qassimi, Acting CEO of Social Care & Development Sector, Community Development Authority (CDA); Majid Abdulla Al Usaimi, Executive Director for Dubai Club for the Disabled; Ahmed Altarawneh, Senior Customer Care Specialist, Road Transport Authority (RTA) were present.

Source : Gulf Today , 5th Nov 2016 

Manipur attempt to create record; distributes over 6000 hearing aids

In an attempt to create Guinness World Record, Manipur Saturday distributed hearing aid and assistive devices to more than 6000 persons in an event held in Imphal’s Khuman Lampak Indoor Stadium.  By distributing a total of 600 hearing aids within 8 hours in a single camp, India’s Gujarat state has held the world record in September 17 this year.

In today’s camp held in Imphal, it was targeted to distribute 700 hearing aids within an hour. “Our target is to achieve distribution of 700 hearing aids within an hour to set a new world record”, state health commissioner PK Singh has said.
To set the record, hearing aids were distributed to over 6000 beneficiaries coming from across the state by opening 49 camps at the venue. The total cost of the hearing aids was Rs 4.44 crore. The event was organised by the Programme for Prevention of and Control of Deafness, National Health Mission Manipur in collaboration with Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India. Union minister of social justice & empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot and Manipur chief minister O Ibobi Singh jointly opened the event which was started at 8 am.

Addressing the occasion, Union minister Thaawarchand Gehlot said that the Centre was taking steps to prepare Universal Identity Card for differently abled persons. “The total number of people with disabilities in the country was 2.68 crore as per the 2011 census report and we have to take care of them with sympathy and rehabilitate them,” he asserted.

The camp held today in Manipur was the biggest event held ever in India, he said while expecting distribution of hearing aids to 6400 beneficiaries.

Today’s camp held in Imphal has broken the record set by Gujarat and will be the biggest camp of its kind in the world.
Asserting that government of India has introduced a number of schemes for persons with hearing impairment and persons without limbs, the Union minister said that Pre Matric and Post Matric scholarships were being provided to differently abled students. 

Free treatment was being provided to children below five years with hearing impairment, he added.

Manipur chief minister O Ibobi Singh, in his address, reiterated his government’s commitment towards better healthcare service and said that 4% of the state’s Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) was being investing this sector.

Source : Nagaland Post , 5th Nov 2016 

Call to include differently-abled in literature and stories by Chennai school

If one has to recall a book where a protagonist or for that matter even a side character is differently-abled, it is hard to do so. This is because there are barely such characters written about at all.

Vidya Sagar, a school for the differently-abled, decided  that in its fight for an inclusive society it is also important to include the differently-abled in literature and stories.

At a panel discussion, the school brought together eminent children’s book writers in the city such as Shoba Vishwanath from Karadi Tales, Zia Whitaker, Sujatha Padmanabhan, Zainab Suleiman and Namita Jacob, who work towards making books more accessible to children with disabilities.
Minister for Industries M C Sampath receiving the India Today’s State of States Award from Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in New Delhi 
Speaking on the occasion, Raju Padmanabhan, director, Vidya Sagar, said besides the fact that it was a pity there was barely a differently-abled character in a book, it was all the more unfair to differently-abled readers.

Source : The New Indian Express , 6 Nov 2016 

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Scholarship rescues poor meritorious students

Sourav Kaibartya, a fisherman's son who scored 94.2% in his higher secondary examination this year got entry into NIT Durgapur for engineering course. The boy was at a loss as to who will fund his education. That is when a corporate house came into his rescue. Thirty-seven students like him from West Bengal meritorious but from poor families will now get to continue their studies with an initiative from Magma Fincorp Ltd.

As a part of the organisation's CSR activity, M scholarship for 2016 that will help the scholarship holders for their undergraduate studies has been announced.

"Every year many meritorious students hailing from poor families are forced to discontinue their higher education due to lack of funds. Keeping alive our motto of investing in the smallest dreams, Magma Fincorp Ltd., started the scholarship last year and offers 50 scholarships every year. This year, a large number of students from West Bengal, has won the scholarship - winning almost 75% of the total number offered," said Kaushik Sinha, vice president and head of CSR at Magma Fincorp Ltd.

Sumana Shit despite being physically challenged due to idiopathic juvenile scoliosis did not give up. When she scored 94% in the higher secondary examination she was worried as a family income as low as Rs 3000 per month, was not enough to support her studies further. Sumana too is a recipient of the scholarship.

The scholarship will fund the undergraduate studies of the 37 recipients from West Bengal. 

Source : TOI , 23rd Oct 2016

Pune: Institute for differently-abled veterans to mark 100 years

QMTI will launch an initiative called Hrunn on October 21.

Queen Mary’s Technical Institute, QMTI, Hrunn, Indian armed forces, rehabilitation, differently abled, Indian soldiers, Indian army, Pune, Pune news, Indian express news
The initiative aims at respectable rehabilitation of differently-abled soldiers of the Indian armed forces.

As part of its ongoing centenary year celebrations Queen Mary’s Technical Institute (QMTI), in association with Redefine Concepts, will be launching an initiative — Hrunn – Ab Hamari Jimmedari — at Balgandharva Rangmandir, 6 pm on October 21.

The initiative aims at respectable rehabilitation of differently-abled soldiers of the Indian armed forces.

The inauguration and logo unveiling will be at the hands of former captain of the Indian cricket team and chairman of BCCI Selective Committee, Chandu Borde. The occasion will also see the presence of renowned scientist and DRDO Director-General Anil Datar, founder-president of Lakshya Foundation Anuradha Prabhdesai and actor and association member for QMTI centenary committee Vikram Gokhale.

CEO of QMTI Col. Devendra Gupta (Retd.) said, “We are in the process of upgrading the training facilities and infrastructure of the institute. We want to raise awareness about the nobility of the institute. Hrunn aims towards participation of public at large in this cause.”

QMTI has been working for and imparting vocational training to differently-abled ex-servicemen or those rendered unfit for service in the Armed Forces due to medical reasons or prolonged medical treatment for the last 99 years.

But, with this initiative, it aims to further its cause by generating funds to help make these soldiers more equipped and empowered. Redefine Concepts will be working as the official communication partner for this cause throughout the year.

Redefine Concepts will be coming up with different initiatives throughout the year to raise funds to support QMTI.

QMTI was founded in Mumbai on May 16, 1917 by Lady Marie Willingdon, wife of the then Governor of Bombay province. In 1922, QMTI was shifted to a better and 17.3-acre location at Khadki.

Source : Indian Express , 21st Oct 2016

Make buses differently-abled friendly: Govt

For the convenience of the differently-abled, the government has asked states to ensure that buses are adequately equipped with user-friendly features.

"Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has directed all states to have 10 per cent of the total fleet of buses to be equipped with disabled friendly features to provide people with physical and visual disabilities easier access," industry body Assocham said in a statement today quoting Joint Secretary, MoRTH Abhay Damle.

Addressing a conference on 'Safe road-safe Life', Damle said majority of people with disabilities are mostly apprehensive of using public transport as presently state owned and private buses are not equipped and do not meet the requirement of people with special needs.

"State transport authorities have been asked to acquire and equip buses designed to enable people with disabilities to board and disembark without having to be assisted," the statement said quoating him.

It said that Ministry has also issued advisory to State transport departments to issue driving Licenses to the differently abled clearing all normal driving tests and formalities.

"A person without both the hands has been issued a driving license in Indore recently. Moreover, the state transport and Motor Vehicle registration authorities in the country have been asked to immediately register vehicles modified by the disabled without and certificate from the vehicle manufacturer," said Damle.

Regarding motor vehicle safety, Indian cars presently being manufactured are quite safe, the official said and that more stress should be given on two wheeler safety by vehicle manufacturers as 80 per cent of the vehicles in the country are two wheelers.

India is signatory to UN Decade of Action for reducing fatal road accidents by 50 per cent by the year 2020 , but road accident deaths are on the rise with about 1.5 lakh deaths in crashes every year.

Source : Business Standard , 19th Oct 2016

Society must sensitise itself to the differently-abled

The 2011 census says there are 21 million differently-abled persons in India

Travelling is generally a tedious process for all, because it involves reporting at the airport at least two hours before the departure of the flight, going through the security checks, having to discard objects the security personnel do not allow on the flight, etc. However, for the differently-abled, the hassles become manifold, as was seen in the case of the Paralympian Aditya Mehta, who had to take off his prosthetic and strip down during security checks at the airport in Bengaluru. On an earlier occasion too he had been asked to take off his prosthetic at Delhi airport. He had then written to the PMO and the relevant civil aviation authorities but he is still to hear from them.

This has once again brought up questions on security protocol for the differently-abled.
Before this incident, as early as 2014, several disability rights activists had given guidelines to the airports to be followed. Some of these were not forcing wheelchair users to stand for checks, not lifting wheelchair users, etc. The alternatives suggested were screening the passengers, and in seclusion. The problem can be lessened to a considerable extent by making it obligatory for the differently-abled to give an advance notice of, say, two days to the airport authorities, and arriving a little earlier than the rest.

As a matter of fact, we do have rules for the convenience of differently-abled passengers. However, nothing exempts them from security checks, which results in objectionable things happening. But there are ways of avoiding inconvenience to the differently-abled. For example, a differently-abled person can be made to go through electronic checks and not be compelled to take off his or her prosthetic. In the United States, there is legislation in this regard and both in the UK and the US there are systems and procedures governing the dignity of the differently-abled.

Apart from facing problems at airports, the differently-abled are inconvenienced in other ways also. The 2011 census says there are 21 million differently-abled persons in India and the target is to make 50% of government buildings convenient for them to use in various ways such as having wheelchair lifts, ramps, Braille signposts, etc. Constructing accessible buildings and creating mobile apps for information on inaccessible places can be made part of corporate social responsibility. But all these will remain just dreams if we do not have the right attitude towards the differently-abled and recognise that there must be enough space for them to overcome the hurdles they face. 

Source : Hindustan Times , 19th Oct 2016