The President of India, Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam gave away National Disability Awards to the persons who have excelled in various walks of life despite their disabilities here today on the International Day of Disabled Persons. Addressing the awardees, he said that it was very important to recognize creative disabled persons from different walks of life. 'Special people are our asset because they radiate confidence', the President said. Dr. Kalam expressed the hope that the reservation for employment of mentally challenged persons in Government establishment would come into force very soon.
On the occasion, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Smt. Meira Kumar said that the Government had for the first time formulated a comprehensive National Policy for Persons with Disabilities. Steps were being taken to implement the policy in coordination and collaboration with various stakeholders including organisation of parents of disabled persons. The Centre has also requested the State Governments that they should also come up action plans so that all the provisions of the policy might be implemented in the States simultaneously, she said.
Reiterating the Government's commitment towards disabled people, she said that full fledged institution of State commissioner for persons with disabilities was in place in all the States with the responsibility to catalyze implementation of Persons with disabilities Act including the filling up the 3% vacancies in each Government establishment. Increased efforts are being made to provide the services to remote uncovered areas. One hundred and sixty five camps for distribution of aids and appliances in the North Eastern States had been held last year, she disclosed.
Congratulating the winners of national awards, Smt. Meira Kumar said that the Government's efforts would be to focus on empowerment of persons with disabilities so that the quality of their life may be improved and they may participate in the development of the nation as equal partners.