4 Jan :To mark the birth bi-centenary of Louis Braille, the Government of India instituted a new award in 2008, for the best Braille Press in the country that was given for the first time to Shri A.K. Mittal of All India Confederation of Blinds by the Speaker of Lok Sabha Shri Somnath Chatterjee, here today. The award carries prize of Rs.One lakh and a citation. ‘From the year 2009, this award will be given as a part of the National Awards for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, which are given on 3rd December every year on the occasion of the International Day for persons with Disabilities,’ announced Smt Meira Kumar, the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment.
She further added, ‘This Ministry promotes the self-employment of persons with visual impairments through vocational training and loans on concessionals rates. Their employment in the Government is mandated through reservation, against identified suitable posts all levels. There has been gradual increase in employment of persons with disabilities in the Government. There is still, however, a lot to be done in this regard. After continuous persuasion on our part, 10 organized civil services have been identified as suitable for appointment of persons with visual impairments’.
On the occasion commemorative coins of Rs.100 and Rs.2 denominations were also issued. Rs 2 coin will be in circulation. Besides, one postage stamp of Rs 5 denomination, three Braille books published by National Book Trust and a documentary by Films Division were also released.
The function was also marked by the presence of Minister of State for Finance, Shri Pawan Kumar Bansal, Prof. Bipan Chandra, Chairman, National Book Trust and others.