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Sensitising future administrators about disability

DNIS News Network - The Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration has been quietly but steadily sensitising Officer Trainees with regard to disability issues.

Picture of participants at the recent presentationThe disability sector in India has been campaigning long and hard for its voice to be heard; for its rights to be granted as a matter of course, not as spoils of war.

Generating awareness of relevant issues is, among many others, one of the most important tools in the armoury of disability activists. It is also imperative that this awareness be generated among those echelons that could make the most lasting impact – those who influence and fashion policy.

It is heartening to see that there are efforts being made in that very direction. For the last couple of years, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.) has been invited by the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration – popularly known as the I.A.S. Academy – in Mussoorie to talk to future administrators about disability issues. Sensitisation is the aim, so that these bright young men and women carry this learning into their working life and, hopefully, implement some of the precepts they learn about.

This year the talk focussed on ‘Governance and disability’. Under the watchful eye of Chiranjiv Chaudhary, Deputy Director and Course Coordinator, Officer Trainees were introduced to what is meant by ‘disability’, and that disability actually lay in the eye of the beholder. The concepts of Universal Design were explained, as adherence to these principles benefits not just disabled persons but also senior citizens, children, pregnant women, those with temporary disability, etc.

The benefits of being ‘inclusive’, in all its ramifications – in education, employment, entertainment, tourism, etc – were also stressed. Results from N.C.P.E.D.P.’s education and employment surveys revealed the dismal situation at present in the country. The fact that inclusiveness benefits not only persons with disability but also non-disabled persons who study or work or travel or come in contact with them was not missed by the Officer Trainees.

The fact that even 10 years after the coming into force of the Disability Act, the powers-that-be have not created a conducive climate for India’s disabled citizens, was stressed. The trend of more and more disabled people turning to the law to safeguard their rights, and of cross-disability networking across the world, was discussed. The Disability Act also came under the scanner.

N.C.P.E.D.P. had prepared an information kit for the participants. They leafed through a copy of the Disability Act; a ‘Do you know your rights?’ booklet; the Action Plan on inclusive education submitted in the Rajya Sabha by Arjun Singh, Minister for Human Resource Development; as well as results of N.C.P.E.D.P.’s education and employment surveys. Salil Chaturvedi and Anjali Sen Gupta made the presentation on behalf of N.C.P.E.D.P.

Post-presentation, almost all the Officer Trainees declared that they would not relegate this learning to a dusty shelf, but actively work to make the vision of a disabled-friendly India a reality.