New Delhi : The vision of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities is to build an inclusive society wherein Persons with Disability (Divyangjans) can lead productive, safe and dignified lives with adequate support for their growth and development. It aims to support and empower PwDs through programmes of educational, economic and social development and rehabilitation wherever necessary. The mandate of the of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities is empowerment of the socially, educationally and economically marginalised persons with Disability (Divyangjans)
Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) under Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment was set up in May 2012 with the aims to facilitate empowerment and inclusion of the persons with disabilities and acts as a nodal agency to look after all development agenda of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan).Empowerment of persons with disabilities is an inter-disciplinary process, covering various aspects namely, prevention, early detection, intervention, education, health, vocational training, rehabilitation and social integration. The vision, mission and strategies of the Department are: Vision: To build an inclusive society in which equal opportunities are provided for the growth and development of Persons with Disabilities so that they can lead productive, safe and dignified lives.And Mission: To empower Persons with Disabilities, through its various Acts/ Institutions/Organizations and Schemes for rehabilitation and to create an enabling environment that provides such persons with equal opportunities, protection of their rights and enables them to participate as independent and productive members of society.
MAJOR ACHIECEMENTS OF D/O EMPOWERMENT OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (DIVYANGJAN) ARE:
DEPwD’S Tableau on “Indian Sign Language” Special Attraction at this Year’s Republic Day Parade :
The Tableau of Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC), Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment at this year’s Republic Day Parade showcased the theme ‘Bhartiya Sanketik Bhasha– Ek Rashtra, EkSanketik Bhasha’. It highlighted the unifying nature of Indian Sign Language (ISL) in a nation, where there is a great diversity in spoken languages. The aim of the Tableau was to raise awareness and highlight the commitment of the Government towards creating a barrier-free environment for persons with hearing disabilities by promoting ISL.
Sign language is a visual language that uses hands, facial and body movements as a means of communication for persons with hearing disabilities. It is a unique and unifying language that connects all persons with hearing disabilities in the country. There are many spoken languages in the country, but there is only one Indian Sign Language. With a view to enhancing accessibility for the hearing impaired, a need was felt to set up an Institute focusing on the development and furtherance of Indian Sign Language.
The List of Posts Identified Suitable for Persons with Benchmark Disabilities notified:
The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities on 4th January 2021 notified 3566 posts in Central Government establishments as suitable for persons with benchmark disabilities (disability of 40% and above) under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. These posts include 1046 in Group A, 515 in Group B, 1724 in Group C and 281 in Group D posts. Posts have also been identified suitable for new categories of persons with disabilities such as dwarfism, acid attack victims, muscular dystrophy, autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability, specific learning disability, mental illness and multiple disability have been added.
‘3rd Edition of Indian Sign Language Dictionary with 10,000 Terms’released:
On 17th February, 2021, the then Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot virtually released the “3rd edition of the Indian Sign Language (ISL) Dictionary with 10,000 terms (including 6,000 earlier terms)” in a virtual programme.
The ISL Dictionary brought out by ISLRTC, a NI of Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities contains a total of 10,000 terms of everyday use, academic terms, legal & administrative terms, medical terms, technical terms and agricultural terms. The videos contain the sign, the English term for the sign and pictures where relevant. The Dictionary also contains regional signs used in different parts of the country.
The Dictionary is being used as a resource to develop educational content for children with disabilities and speech/text-to-sign and sign-to-speech/text machine translation software. The ISL Dictionary is a crucial resource for promoting awareness about ISL, facilitating communication and providing better accessibility services to persons with hearing disabilities, and thus is a necessary step in realizing the goals of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act, 2016.
“Sugamya Bharat App” launched and Handbook “Access – The Photo Digest” released:
On 2nd March, 2021, the then Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot virtually launched “Sugamya Bharat App” and a handbook entitled “Access – The Photo Digest” through video conference in New Delhi. Shri Rattan Lal Kataria, the then Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment, Smt. Shakuntala D. Gamlin, the then Secretary, DEPwD and Smt. Tarika Roy, JS, DEPwD were also present. The App and the handbook have been developed by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. The Mobile App can be downloaded from Play Store by Android users. The iOS version of the App will be available by 15th March 2021.
A six month’s duration Community Based Inclusive Development program launched and first batch of the program commenced:
On 19th May, 2021, the then Union Minister of Social Justice Empowerment, Dr.Thaawarchand Gehlot launched a six month’s duration Community Based Inclusive Development program jointly developed by the Rahabilitation Council of India and the University of Melbourne. The objective of the program is to develop a pull of grass-root level workers who can work along side Asha and Aangadwadi workers for rehabilitation and inclusion of PwDs in the society. The first batch of the program commenced from September 2021 in 16 organisation selected by RCI. 527 students including 38 students with disabilities have been enrolled for the first batch. Hon’ble Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment Dr. Virendra Kumar interacted with the students and faculties on 30th October, 2021.
14 Cross-Disability Early Intervention Centres for children inaugurated :
In a pathbreaking initiative, the Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment Shri ThaawarchandGehlot virtually inaugurated 14 Cross-Disability Early Intervention Centres located at 7 National Institutes and 7 Composite Regional Centres under the DEPwDin New Delhi 14th June, 2021. The Centres provides screening and identification, rehabilitation, counselling, therapeutic services among others for different disabilities under one roof and in a contiguous manner in an accessible and aesthetically designed environment under one roof. These services include facilities for screening of children to identify risk cases and refer them for appropriate rehabilitative care. Provision for therapeutic services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy have also been made in these centres. Parental counselling and training as well as peer counselling is an integral part of these centres with a view to enabling the parents to cope up with the needs of children with disabilities. School readiness facility at these centres aims at improving physical and cognitive ability including communication and language skills of the children with disabilities for enabling them to live an independent life.
Digital format of converted textbooks for Class I to V in Indian Sign Language launched on the Sign language Day :
The Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC) ISLRTC celebrated Sign Language Day on 23rd September, 2021. ISLRTC launched the ISL e-content of NCERT textbooks of classes I-V in the Sign Language day programme developed by ISLRTC. In this project, total 310 chapters of 20 textbooks of classes I-V have been converted into 490 ISL videos with audio, pictures and captioning in collaboration with CIET, NCERT.
The ISL e-content of classes I-V for all subjects is freely available on DIKSHA portal. ISLRTC also celebrated International Week of the Deaf from 27th Sep to 1st Oct, 2021 by conducing online awareness sessions on ISL at 9 different venues across the country including Uttarakhand Open University, Raipur Airport, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) New Delhi, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal, Samagra Shiksha, Assam and DEPwD, MSJE.
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment felicitates Tokyo 2020 Paralympic medal winners & members of the Indian contingent :
The Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment, Dr Virendra Kumar and Union Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment, Shri Ramdas Athawale felicitated Tokyo 2020 Paralympic medal winners and other members of the Indian contingent and their coaches at a ceremony held at the Convention Hall, Hotel Ashoka, New Delhi on 10th September, 2021.
For the first time the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has taken a decision to provide cash awards to Paralympic winners. Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment declared cash award of Rs 10 lakh for Gold Medal, Rs 8 lakh for Silver Medal and Rs 5 lakh for Bronze Medal winners. The cash award will be paid directly into the bank account of the players.
Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Dr. Virendra Kumar Releases Training Modules for various level of functionaries about Rights of PwDs :
Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Dr. Virendra Kumar released the Training Modules of Central Sector Scheme i.e. “In-service training and sensitisation of key functionaries of Central and State Government and Local bodies at India International Centre, New Delhi on 9th November, 2021.
The Training Modules have been developed by Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) for different level of target groups i.e. health and allied professionals, education functionaries, grassroot level functionaries, senior and mid – level functionaries including introductory modules in English and Hindi with pictorial and graphic designs.
Hon’ble Minster of Social Justice and Empowerment and Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation jointly launched the 2nd Volume of the series on Airports and Air Travel for Demystifying Accessibility in the Civil Aviation sector on 19th November, 2021 :
For enhancing awareness regarding accessibility and sensitization of professionals, the Department is in the process of developing a series of guidebooks, titled ‘ACCESS-The Photo Digest’. The 1st Volume of the series on public centric buildings was launched on 2nd March 2021. Hon’ble Minster of Social Justice and Empowerment and Hon’ble Minister of Civil Aviation jointly launched the 2nd Volume of the series on Airports and Air Travel for Demystifying Accessibility in the Civil Aviation sector on 19th November, 2021. These handbooks serve as guides for understanding the requirements and specifications of accessibility explained through simplistic illustrations and photographs.
On International Day of Persons with Disabilities President Kovind Confers National Awards for Outstanding Work Done Towards Empowerment of Divyangjan :
The President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind conferred the National Awards on Individuals, Institutions, Organizations and State/District etc. for their outstanding achievements and work done towards empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).
National Awards for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities for the year 2020, were given under following categories: –
- Best Employee/Self-Employed Person with Disabilities;
- Best Employers and Placement Officers and/or Agencies;
- Best Individual and Institution, working for the cause of Empowerment of Persons withDisabilities;
- Role Model;
- Best Applied Research or Innovation or Product, aimed at improving the life of Personswith Disabilities;
- Outstanding Work in creation of barrier-free environment for Persons with Disabilities;
- Best District in providing rehabilitation services;
- Outstanding Creative Adult Person with Disabilities;
- Best Creative Child with Disabilities;
- Best Braille Press;
- Best State (i) in promoting Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities;
- Best Sports-person with Disabilities.