3 Dec : The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is targeted at making commitment to the principles of dignity and justice and to ensure implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The theme of this year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities is ‘Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities: Dignity and justice for all of us’.People with various disabilities are struggling even today to make this world a better place to live.
Even they face discrimination from the society. But today on the World Disabled Day, these people have proved that they are no less than, any body in the world.The aim of this years theme is to bring up the needs and improve the quality of life of the disabled persons all across the world through awareness.It is aimed at enhancing the dignity of the kind of lives disabled persons lead in every country.
Not much done for the disabled despite law: Ansari
Vice President M Hamid Ansari regretted that even 13 years after the Disability Act was passed, not much has been done for the disabled.
"Even after thirteen years, we have been unable to ensure that each ministry reserves not less than three per cent of its annual outlay for the benefit of disabled persons as per the Persons with Disability Act, 1995 nor have we been able to set up accurate statistical information gathering and monitoring mechanism at various levels," he said in New Delhi on Wednesday.
He observed that the transition from a "welfare-based approach" to a "right-based approach" since the Ninth Plan was forward looking and empowering but "the slow pace of various enabling legislation and lack of accountability for non-implementation, has meant that the enjoyment of rights has been subject to the efficiency of the implementation."
Ansari was addressing a programme at New Delhi organised on the "International Day of the Persons with Disability" by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to give away national awards to individuals, organisations and disabled persons for their exemplary commitment and role in fighting disability.
He said the first "major battle" was to accurately and credibly define disability, pointing out discrepancy between the official figures of the persons with disability and the reality in the country.
"In our country, discrepancy between the official figure and the reality can be traced to the fact that the definition of disability used in the Census is at significant variance from our legal policy framework as also from the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities," he said.
Civil Society groups have pointed out that the question on disabilities is amongst the last in the Census questionnaire and many times the question is never asked "citing cultural fears", Ansari said.
He said it was estimated that there were approximately 650 million persons with disability worldwide, constituting roughly 10 per cent of the global population, and around 80 per cent of them live in developing countries.It is also well understood that there is a strong correlation and "perhaps even bi-directional causation" between disability and poverty, he said.
The World Bank estimates that 20 per cent of the world’s poorest people, who live on less than one dollar a day, are persons with disability, Ansari said.
"Contrast this global picture with available national statistics. The 2001 Census and 2002 NSSO figures for persons with disabilities are a very low 2.13 and 1.8 per cent of the population respectively.
Compare this with figures of 20 per cent for Australia and New Zealand and in our neighbourhood, 7 per cent for Sri Lanka, 6.3 per cent for China and 5.6 per cent for Bangladesh," he said.
Ansari said that every government facility that caters to persons with disability should enjoy a "barrier free environment" and added that it was recognised the world over that creation of such environment must start with public buildings.
He pointed out, "we have lost valuable time during the past decade when our economy grew at an impressive pace and thousands of buildings have been built, roads laid and mass transport systems established."
Urban and metropolitan spaces even today continue to constrain persons with disability, Ansari said.Ansari said that the National Policy for persons with Disability recognises that such persons are valuable human resources for the country and said, "It is long overdue for the nation to deliver on the promises made for providing equal opportunities to them."
He felt that the issue need to be part of all programmes, policies and legislations with the objective of achieving equality in all political, economic and social spheres.
"Disability like gender is not a stand-alone thematic issue and it cannot remain confined to the government alone," Ansari said, suggesting all stake holders, including civil society, private sector, international organisations and media be brought within a cooperative framework.