President Droupadi Murmu on Saturday stressed on the maximum use of technology to remove language-related barriers in education and to make education more accessible to children with disabilities. She presented the National Awards for the Empowerment of persons with disabilities for 2021 and 2022 here on the occasion of International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Addressing the gathering, the President said that according to an estimate of the United Nations, more than one billion people in the world are persons with disabilities.
It means almost every 8th person in the world has a disability in some form or the other. More than two per cent of India's population are persons with disabilities. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of all to ensure that people with disabilities can lead a dignified life independently. "It is also our duty to ensure that they get a good education, stay safe in their homes and society, have the freedom to choose their career and have equal employment opportunities," she said.
The President said that in Indian culture and tradition, disability has never been considered as a hindrance in acquiring knowledge and achieving excellence. "Often, it has been seen that divyangjan are gifted with divine qualities. There are innumerable examples in which our divyang brothers and sisters have achieved impressive feats in many fields on the strength of their indomitable courage, talent and determination. Given enough opportunities and the right environment, they can excel in every field," she said. She said education is key to the empowerment of every individual, including persons with disabilities.
"We should make maximum use of technology in order to remove language-related barriers in education and to make education more accessible to children with disabilities," she said. She said she was happy to note that the conversion of NCERT text books for classes 1 to 6 into Indian sign language for hearing-impaired children has been done. She said that it is an important initiative to include hearing-impaired students in the mainstream education process.
The President said the government is taking several steps for the empowerment of divyangjan. She said inculcating self-confidence in divyangjan is very important to empower them. "People with disabilities have talents and abilities just like normal people, and sometimes more than them. To make them self-reliant, it is only necessary to instil in them self-confidence," she said.
She urged all sections of the society to motivate the divyangjan to become self-reliant and move ahead in life. She said that when divyang people would make their effective contribution by joining the mainstream, then the country would move forward on the path of development at a faster pace.
The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment gives away the National Awards for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities every year to individuals, institutions, organisations, state or district, etc. for their outstanding achievements and work done towards empowerment of persons with disabilities.
The applications short-listed by the screening committees were considered by the national selection committee in its meeting held on November 2 and recommended 25 awardees for the year 2021 and 29 awardees for 2022.