Celebrating Diversity is a national festival for showcasing the abilities of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) is being organized by the Department of Disability Affairs under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India during 15 – 16 January, 2014 at Siri Fort Auditorium, New Delhi. The event was inaugurated by UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi.
As per Census 2011, there are 2.68 crore persons with disabilities and constitute 2.22 percent of the total population of the country. The persons with disabilities form a very diverse group and include persons with impairments such as visual (18.8%), hearing (18.9%), speech (7.5%), loco- motor (20.3%), mental retardation (5.6%) mental illness (2.7%) and multiple disability (7.9%).
The Constitution of India ensures equality, freedom, justice and dignity of all individuals and implicitly mandates an inclusive society for all including persons with disabilities. The Government recognises that persons with disabilities are valuable human resource for the country and seeks to create an environment that provides them equal opportunities, protection of their rights and full participation.
The Department of Disability Affairs under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment’s mandate and rehabilitation and empowerment of PwDs. As rehabilitation is multidisciplinary, the Department has adopted a multi-pronged collaborative approach involving all the appropriate partners: Governments/UTs, Central/State undertakings, local authorities, NGOs etc.
India has also signed and ratified the United Nations Convention for protection and promotion of the rights and dignity of persons with disabilities. Among the many commitments towards the said Convention, a major one is building capacity among people with disabilities and raising awareness about disability issues. SAMARTH is an important step in this direction.