Announces SLC & Rs 1 cr corpus fund for welfare of people with disabilities
DIMAPUR/KOHIMA, DECEMBER 2: Nagaland Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio today called upon the people, especially the privileged, to do something for the upliftment of the disabled people, while also calling for promotion of their well being in socio-economic, political and cultural aspects.
Inaugurating the Disability Pride Fair in commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities at Kisama Naga Heritage Village, Rio said a lot has to be done for the upliftment of disabled people. He opined that vocational training and other skill-development trainings be imparted to the Disabled so that they can earn something and live with dignity.
The Chief Minister appreciated the office of the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, led by the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Diethono Nakhro, for the unwavering work and initiatives for the disabled community. He also appreciated them for the initiative to make the International Day of Persons with Disabilities an annual event and informed that the Government will create a corpus fund from the following year.
The Chief Minister also announced the formation of a State Level Committee (SLC) to look into the welfare of persons with disabilities (PwDs).
Deeply touched with the performances of the people with disabilities and also the different products put on sale, Rio said the Government and the abled people have to do more for the welfare and the uplift of the PwDs.
Rio also announced creation of a corpus fund of Rs 1 crore as capital for the welfare of the less privileged.
Speaking at the inaugural programme of the Disability Pride Fair 2023 organised by State Commission for PwDs and Department of Social Welfare commemorating the International Day of PwDs at Naga Heritage Village Kisama here, Rio said the State Level Committee will be headed by Chief Secretary with the Home Commissioner, Finance Commissioner, Social Welfare Department and State PwD Commissioner as members.
They will relook into the welfare of the PwDs and recommend programmes to help the PwDs to be more productive, he said.
Secretary, Social Welfare, Martha R Ritse stated that observation of International Day of Persons with Disabilities is about securing the rights of the disabled and raising awareness about the community. She added that it is a day to highlight their creativity and resilience.
She informed that about 30,000 disabled people have registered and about 7,000 have been digitised and certified. She added that the Department has been providing pensions, scholarships and grant-in-aid to NGOs. She also informed that two new Rehabilitation Centres will be coming up at Mon and Tuensang.
While acknowledging that some Government offices and buildings have been made barrier-free, she highlighted the need for more of such buildings and environment.
Delivering the keynote address, State Commissioner for Persons with Disability, Diethono Nakhro said that there is still a long way to go for which she sought the full support from the Government and the public. She said that developmental goals will be achieved only if there is inclusion of the disabled. She also highlighted that accessible tourism is needed to make Nagaland a top tourist destination.
Nakhro said in these past few years, many significant steps have been taken in the disability sector and it is for the first time that such steps have ever been taken in our State like the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 has been adopted in the State, the Nagaland Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules has been notified, 4% Job Reservation for PwDs has been notified and this quota is being strictly implemented in the recruitment processes, special courts have been set up to try offences against PwDs.
“This is great progress, and of course we celebrate every step forward. But the truth of the matter is that the disability sector was badly neglected in our State for a very long time and so, despite the strong support and cooperation of the Government of the day, we are barely beginning to scratch the surface and we have a very, very long way to go still. We still lack so many essential disability services for which the disabled community continue to struggle and suffer”, she said.
She said that so many of our children with disabilities are still unable to step into our classrooms and get a proper education because our education ecosystem continues to be extremely inaccessible; so many adults with disabilities continue to be forced to live a life of dependency because they are not being provided enabling environments and equal opportunities to carry out income generating activities; so many families dealing with disability continue to struggle to make ends meet every day because the social security assistance they deserve and is due to them under the law is not forthcoming.
She also informed that the State Commission for PwDs have very little funding support for disability sector organisations and groups working on the ground through sweat and tears in areas like education, rehabilitation, skill development, etc.
Census 2011 also records 29,631 persons with disabilities in Nagaland, which is about 1.5% of the total population, she said.
Saying that this is a very conservative figure for various reasons, she said the fact is that the actual total number of people with disabilities will be several times higher than the figure being followed by the state currently.
It must be kept in mind that global statistics point out that 1 in 6 people experience significant disability, she quipped.
At 16% of the global population, people who live with disabilities are the world’s largest minority group, and yet, they are also a group that are often forgotten and left behind, she said.
Highlighting on the Disability Pride Fair, Nakhro said that the fair is to provide a platform for the disabled to show and embrace themselves as they are. She added that it is also an opportunity for the others to understand the disabled community and spread awareness about them. She informed that a disability information booth is being set up at Kisama for the duration of the Hornbill Festival.
The Disability Pride Fair 2023 is being organised in commemoration of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by the office of the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Department of Social Welfare.
During the programme, differently-abled persons performed various items where 3 visually-impaired girls, Gracyly, Sonali and Wangdai, presented a special song ‘Itaya Nungu’; P Daihe Kape, a differently-abled person shared his journey ‘My voice, My Story’ and Mhonchumo Shitoi, a visually-impaired, presented a guitar and harmonica piece ‘One Day at a time’.
A video on Disability Awareness by Dreamz Unlimited was also released during the programme.
The Day is observed on December 3 annually, however as it falls on a Sunday this year, it is being observed on December 2. Various stalls, including a stall where one can learn the basic sign language, are set up in the vicinity of the Bamboo Hall, Kisama.
(Page News Service)