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National Workshop on Empowering PwD in Education

  • 18 May 2023
  • 7 min read

For Prelims: Article 41 of the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP), National Education Policy: 2020, Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, Accessible India Campaign, DeenDayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme, National Fellowship for Students with Disabilities

For Mains: Constitutional and Legislative Framework for Persons with Disability in India, Issues Associated with Persons with Disability in India.

Why in News?

The National Workshop on "Capacity building of training institutes and HRD in the disability field in the context of National Education Policy (NEP): 2020" was recently inaugurated in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh.

  • Organized by the Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI), the workshop aimed to empower individuals with disabilities and implement the goals of the NEP 2020.
  • Also, the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, is observing Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) on May 18th, 2023.

What is Global Accessibility Awareness Day?

  • GAAD is an annual event celebrated on the third Thursday of May, dedicated to promoting awareness and understanding of digital accessibility for individuals with disabilities.
  • It emphasizes the importance of designing and developing digital technologies with accessibility in mind, ensuring that everyone can access information, engage in online activities, and participate in the digital world without barriers.

What is the Constitutional and Legislative Framework for Persons with Disability (PwD) in India?

  • The Constitution of India ensures equality, freedom, justice and dignity of all individuals and implicitly mandates an inclusive society for all including the persons with disabilities.
  • Article 41 of the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) states that the State shall make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, within the limits of its economic capacity and development.
  • The main legislation on disability rights is the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
    • The Act covers a wide range of specified disabilities and provides additional benefits for persons with benchmark disabilities and those with high support needs.
    • The Act also provides for grant of guardianship by District Court or any authority designated by the State Government under which there will be joint decision-making between the guardian and the persons with disabilities.

What are the Issues Associated with Person with Disability in India?

  • Accessibility Concern: One of the primary challenges is the lack of accessibility in public spaces, transportation, buildings, and infrastructure. Many places do not have ramps, elevators, or accessible toilets, making it difficult for people with disabilities to move around independently.
  • Lack of Access to Education: Access to quality education is limited for people with disabilities.
    • Special education facilities and trained teachers are scarce, and inclusive education practices are not widely implemented. This lack of educational opportunities hinders their personal and professional development.
  • Lack of Proper Healthcare: A large number of disabilities are preventable, including those arising from medical issues during birth, maternal conditions, malnutrition, as well as accidents and injuries.
    • However, there is a lack of awareness, lack of care, and lack of good and accessible medical facilities.
  • Social Stigma and Discrimination: Negative attitudes and social stigma surrounding disabilities are prevalent in Indian society.
    • People with disabilities often face discrimination, exclusion, and marginalization, which affects their self-esteem and social interactions.

What are the Recent Initiatives to Empowerment of PwD?

Note: Rehabilitation Council of India, established as a Statutory Body by an Act of Parliament, has the mandate to standardize, regulate, and monitor training programs, maintain the central rehabilitation register (CRR), and promote research in the field of special education and disability.

Way Forward

  • Building Pathways to Inclusion: There is a need to design and construct accessible buildings, public spaces, transportation systems, and communication technologies should be prioritized. This includes features like ramps, elevators, tactile paths, audio announcements, and braille signage.
  • Empowering Abilities with Cutting-Edge Solutions: There is a need to promote the development and adoption of affordable and locally sourced assistive technologies such as prosthetics, mobility devices, hearing aids, and communication tools. Embrace emerging technologies like 3D printing and AI to customize solutions for individuals.
  • Unlocking Doors to Knowledge and Equality: Implementing inclusive education policies that ensure students with disabilities have equal access to quality education. This involves providing assistive devices, specialized training for teachers, accessible learning materials, and inclusive curriculum development.
  • Shattering Stigmas through Awareness and Sensitization: There is a need to Conduct awareness campaigns to promote inclusivity and reduce societal stigmas around disability.
    • This includes sensitizing communities, employers, educators, and healthcare providers about the rights, abilities, and potential of individuals with disabilities.

UPSC Civil Services Examination, Previous Year Question (PYQ)

Q. India is home to lakhs of persons with disabilities. What are the benefits available to them under the law? (2011)

  1. Free schooling till the age of 18 years in government run schools.
  2. Preferential allotment of land for setting up business.
  3. Ramps in public buildings.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a) 1 only 
(b) 2 and 3 only
(c) 1 and 3 only
(d) 1, 2 and 3

Ans: (d)

Source: PIB

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