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As India gears to celebrate World Disability Day it's time for introspection

D.N.I.S. News Network - This year, the World Disability Day has assumed a special significance as it also happens to be the 10th year of the Disability Act, 1995, and, as is with all such landmarks, has become a reason for introspection rather than an event merely for celebrations.

This mood or rather an underlying concern over the state of affairs in country vis-a-vis disability rights is evident in the preparations planned by disability organisations. On one hand, the organisations are planning cultural and sports activities to mark the Day in a festive way; on the other hand, preparations are underway to organise seminars, workshops, awareness camps, discussion forums, conventions, rallies, and activities to highlight the issues of non-implementation of Disability Act.

Apart from organising their own activities in State Capitals and Districts, National Disability Network Partners are sending representatives to Delhi to participate in the World Disability Day activities that are being organised by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.). N.C.P.E.D.P., with the associate disability organisations, will be organising a one-hour cultural event followed by Walk to Freedom from India Gate to Rashtrapati Bhawan. N.C.P.E.D.P. had also organised a meeting of key disability NGOs in Delhi at AADI on 11 November, 2005, to exchange information about the activities planned by various organisations in Delhi.AAMAD and disability theatre.com - a production house and Internet site promoting integrated art and culture for people with disabilities, is organising World Disability Week - to be observed between December 1 and 7 - called "Possible". This cultural festival will showcase the works created by people with disabilities that would include plays, movies and painting exhibition.

Disability organisations in Himachal Pradesh, Goa, Meghalaya and Tamil Nadu across India are submitting 10-point demand to the Government so as to force the Government to accelerate the process of implementation of Disability Act, 1995. Action for Abilities Development and Inclusion, New Delhi, in association with F.I.C.C.I., is organising a one and half day Career Development Forum Programme on 3 and 4 December. ActionAid India, in association with National Human Rights Commission, is organising a daylong National Convention titled “ Towards a New Paradigm: De-custodial Mental Health Care Services in India for People with Psychiatric Disability”.

The U.N. theme for this year's International Day of Disabled Persons is a call for the inclusion of people with disabilities in development strategies. In declaring this theme, the U.N. acknowledges that in order to achieve development goals, it is important to consider how citizens with disabilities can be more fully integrated into society. In India also, 3 December has come to symbolise a day to celebrate and plan strategies for the future that would ensure an equitable, just and inclusive society.