D.N.I.S. News Network, India: Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said that the Incentive Scheme to promote employment of people with disabilities in the private sector has failed to make any headway. He said this while addressing the State Welfare Minister’s conference in New Delhi on September 7.
The scheme titled ‘Scheme of Incentives to Employers in the Private Sector for providing Employment to Persons with Disabilities’ was launched by the then Finance Minister P. Chidambaram in April 2008. Chidambaram had grandly announced that the scheme would generate 1,00,000 jobs every year but till June 2009, only 126 people have benefited from the scheme.
“As our economy is now emerging from the economic slowdown, I would urge the corporate sector to respond handsomely in the implementation of the scheme,” said Dr. Singh.
“Central and State governments should work hand in hand so that persons with disabilities get employment opportunities,” he added.
“I have in the past few months been meeting groups representing persons with disabilities. I found in each one of them a desire and a determination to live productive lives and also to make their own individual contributions to society. We should give them every possible opportunity to do so,” Dr. Singh added.
The Prime Minister reiterated the Government’s stand to amend the Disability Act of 1995 to make it more in line with U.N.C.R.P.D. He also highlighted the need for barrier free construction.
“I would urge that our educational and healthcare institutions, government offices, banks and other offices with public dealings ought to be made accessible. Small steps like building ramps or designating officers to facilitate their work can go a long way in this direction,” he said.
Dr. Singh also reiterated the need for web accessibility and said that the Ministry of Information Technology needs to promote development and accessibility of software in Indian languages. He also said that electronic goods should also be made accessible.
“The National Institute of Design should encourage the design of everyday appliances and instruments that cater to the needs of people with various disabilities. These are the kind of institutions that should, in my opinion, take the lead in building social consciousness in support of legitimate aspirations of people with disabilities,” he added.