Structural shift necessary to address issues of disabled: activists

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Mumbai, Dec 3 (UNI) A structural shift was needed to address various issues faced by disabled people, observed rights activists today.

In a panel discussion on the Person with Disabilities Act, 1995, held here to observe the World Disabled Day, the activists said 90 per cent of the physically-challenged children in the country remain out of education as the thrust of the Union government was more on the rehabilition of such community than on imparting education.

The panelists were of the view that to address this systemic failure, a structural shift had to take place.

In the discussion, Malini Chib, Founder Chairperson of Able Disabled All People Together (ADAPT), Sumita Sen, Chief Executive of Spastics Society of India, Anita Prabhu, co-chair of ADAPT, Ram Aggarwal, an entrepreneur with visual impairment who deals with assistive technology for the disabled, Uday Varunjekar, an advocate involved in PILs on the Act and Vandana Garware of National Job Development Centre participated.

To prevent exclusion of children with special needs from educational programmes, the Human Resources Ministry must put back special education, the panelists opined and said the teacher training must include the education of children with disability.

''The disabled people continue to be politically weak and powerless. They are the weakest people amongst the vulnerable groups in India. Their needs are not in any political manifesto. They do not have a constituency and they do not have a voice in Parliament. For them to be a part of day-to-day society, there is a long way to go.

And to make this happen, the government intervention is critical,'' they concluded.

UNI

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