D.N.I.S. News Network, India: A delegation of the National Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities - India (N.C.R.P.D.- India), led by convenor Javed Abidi, called on the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh on July 25.
Abidi apprised Dr. Singh on the how access is still a major hurdle for people with disabilities - from pursuing their education to getting employment. He conveyed the sector’s disappointment on the non - implementation of the promises made in the XIth Five Year Plan. The XIth Plan has a whole chapter on disability which promised a National Centre for Universal Design and Barrier Free Built Environment; a Sign Language Research & Training Centre; a National Captioning Centre among others. It also required all Ministries and Departments to allocate 3 percent of their annual budget on disability. None of this has been taken up till now.
He also told the Prime Minister about the disappointment of the sector with Union and Rail Budgets which did not have much for people with disability. The sector had sent in their suggestions much earlier, none of which were incorporated. Dr. Singh promised the delegation that he would look into it.
Abidi requested the Prime Minister for a focal point on disability in the Prime Minister’s Office as part of the implementation of Article 33 of the U.N.C.R.P.D.
On behalf of N.C.R.P.D. - India, Abidi thanked the Prime Minister for his role in starting the process of amendments to the Disability Act. He conveyed the sector’s wish for a wider consultation on the issue.
The Prime Minister assured the delegation that he would consider their requests. The delegation thanked Dr. Singh for his concern for the issues that people with disability are facing.
Ketan Kothari of Sightsavers thanked Dr. Singh for making elections accessible to all. “I want to thank you for giving me and my wife the opportunity to cast our vote independently and in secret for the first time in our life,” he said.
Suhas Karnik, Honorary Joint Secretary, National Association for the Blind; Kanchan Pamnani, Advocate and Blind Activist, Mumbai; Shampa Sengupta of Sruti Disability Rights Centre, Kolkata; disabled rights activists Nilesh Singit of Mumbai, Rajiv Rajan of Chennai and Dr. Sunil Singh of Bihar were also a part of the delegation.