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South Zone Consultation on ‘Census 2011 & Disability’

D.N.I.S. News Network, India: The consultation on Census 2011 & Disability - Finding the Missing Millions, organized by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.) in association with Vidya Sagar, was held at M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation, Chennai on January 8. There were over 150 participants from all southern states, which included disability rights activists, N.G.O. heads, D.P.O.s, federation leaders, officials from the Social Welfare Department and Directorate of Census Operations.

During the first phase of the consultation, officials from the Directorate of Census Operations had a discussion with disability rights organizations on developing strategies to include all persons with disabilities in the Census exercise. S. Gopalakrishnan, Director of Census Operations in Tamil Nadu, elaborated the procedures undertaken in enumeration in the Census and answered questions related to disability.

Sensitizing media, educating leaders of different groups such as youth groups, disabled peoples groups, self-help groups and federations in creating awareness, organising campaigns, rallies, distributing pamphlets, putting up posters, ads, distribution of brochures, creating awareness through school and college students, volunteers at the block level were some of the strategies that were agreed upon.

Also, campaigning through various projects like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in all districts and rural areas, creating awareness among village health workers, anganwadis and mid-day meal workers would motivate them to ensure that disabled people are enumerated.

One of the most important points that was raised during the consultation was creating awareness among people with mental illness and their families, so that they are counted accurately in Census 2011.