Chief Secretary Nagaland, Temjen Toy launching the Three-day sensitization and awareness campaign on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act 2016 for state government officials held at the Nagaland Civil Secretariat conference hall on September 19. (DIPR Photo)
Government officials in Nagaland attend awareness campaign on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act 2016
Kohima, September 19 (MExN): Three-day sensitization and awareness campaign on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act 2016 for state government officials was officially launched by Chief Secretary Nagaland, Temjen Toy at the Nagaland Civil Secretariat conference hall on September 19.
A DIPR report stated that the programme was organised by Mission Mode Team, Accessible India Campaign, in collaboration with the Office of State Commissioner for Person with Disabilities, with a view to sensitize and create awareness on Rights of PwDs.
“Nagas are aware of our rights only when it concerns us and least bothered about other’s rights,” remarked Temjen Toy at the launching campaign. He said that only after we start visualizing and putting ourselves in the shoes of the disabled then only the campaign will sink.
He said the differently-abled have rights and we all need to appreciate and respect their rights. Despite of various notifications issued by the Social Welfare Department to various departments on addressing the issue on accessibility of public buildings and office buildings, Toy remarked that the response is still very poor. Toy said that the team was formed to monitor the activities taken by various departments in the directorate, districts and public buildings.
He stated that henceforth, all office memorandums and notifications must be updated in the web as per the accessibility guidelines. He further said that all public government buildings in the State should be made accessible to person with disability and to create a barrier free environment.
Toy expressed hope that with the launching of the campaign, all departments will be adequately sensitised to address the needs of accessibility with respect to persons with disability.
‘Inclusion and accessibility is about doing right’
State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Diethono Nakhro, in her power point presentation, gave an overview, status of implementation and way forward, where she highlighted that persons with benchmark disability are those been certified by the appropriate certifying authority with 40% or more.
Highlighting the overview of the Act she said that there are 21 specified disabilities under the RPWD Act 2016 and it contains 17 chapters and 102 section and under the Act all educational institutions funded or recognized by the Government shall provide inclusive education to children with disabilities from the age of six to eighteen years; the Government is required to take steps for development of skills and employment, such as providing loans, training, and marketing of products; required to take measures to provide accessibility in the physical environment, transportation, information and communication, including technologies and systems in both urban and rural areas; special courts are to be designated in each district to handle cases concerning violation of rights of PwDs.
Diethono further highlighted that the status of implementation of various provision of the Act in Nagaland is at zero level and there is no current data on disability. She expressed that Nagaland has a very poor track record of implementing disability laws and Nagaland is the only State in the entire country that does not have even a single proper disability rehabilitation facility resource centre.
She also emphasized on various issues, where public buildings and public spaces are yet to be made accessible and another big issue is lack of budgeting whereby there is perpetual shortage of funds for disability affairs.
She further expressed that the inclusion and accessibility is not just about laws and the rule book, it is also about the desire to do the right and then reaching out and putting that little extra effort to make sure that no citizen is left out of life.
Director, Prodigal’s Home, Dimapur, K Ela spoke on the disability scenario in Nagaland and highlighted the challenges and opportunities. She said that we have to sensitize our people to be more responsive to the needs and requirements of the disabled. She emphasized on the need to create awareness and to fight ignorance on issues faced by the disabled in the state. She also stressed on the necessity for an update in the data, research and studies of persons with disability and the urgent need for RCI (Rehabilitation Council of India) training centers in the state.
“It is a vicious cycle of ignorance, indifference, misconceptions, wrong attitude, poor commitment, lack of concern and lack of seriousness about the issue,” she said on the issue of problems and challenges faced in the state by the disabled.