It is a sad reality in our country that people with special needs, instead of being supported, are shunned from mainstream society, denied their rightful opportunities for leading a normal life. To address this, various stakeholders at a talk have urged all 17 ministries in charge of development of people with disabilities to allocate a specific budget and a comprehensive plan of action geared towards empowering them.
The importance of proper training for the disabled must not be underestimated if we are to form an inclusive workforce. Persons with disabilities, making up around 2 crore of the population, should be seen as assets -- not liabilities -- for our economy. A little more than 9 percent of the total population has varying disabilities which need to be countered with adequate capability-based training. The ministries in charge must consider devising an extensive plan of action for the disabled and incorporating them into existing mainstream developmental programmes. Persons with disabilities, especially those living in rural communities and urban slums, are often deprived of benefits of development initiatives. We need inclusive development programmes to help ensure broader involvement and assimilation of the disabled population in our civil society.
Development of the disabled population must be seen as a human rights issue to be prioritised and tackled head-on by the government. Important initiatives that address issues faced by these disadvantaged groups with special needs are commendable and a positive step forward towards making our society a more desirable one.