President Droupadi Murmu presented the National awards for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities for the year 2021 and 2022 in New Delhi on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2022 on Saturday, December 3.
Speaking on the occasion, the President mentioned the UN estimates that over one billion people in the world are persons with disabilities. It means almost every eighth person in the world has a disability in some form or the other. Over two per cent of India's population are persons with disabilities. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of all to ensure that the persons with disabilities can lead a dignified life independently, she said.
"It is 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 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.
Education is the key to empowerment of every individual, including persons with disabilities. She stressed for 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 that the National Education Policy 2020 also underlines the importance of enabling arrangements for providing equal opportunities for quality education to children with disabilities. She was happy to note that the conversion of NCERT text books for classes I to VI 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 that the government is taking several steps for the empowerment of Divyangjan.
According to her, 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 our Divyang brothers and sisters would make their effective contribution by joining the mainstream, then our country would move forward on the path of development at a faster pace.
The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment gives away the National Awards for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities every year to Individuals, Institutions, Organizations, State/District etc for their outstanding achievements and work done towards empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, acording to a PIB release.