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CS Care For Differently Able

Bhubaneswar: Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena on Tuesday inaugurated Eastern India Consultation on status of People with Disabilities and Road to Inclusive Development here at Hotel Mayfair.

Supported by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), New Delhi, this programme was organized by “Swabhiman” for the first time; an Eastern India consultation on the above subject.

“Swabhiman” is a cross-disability, rights-based organization, empowers and systematically mainstreams persons with disabilities. Education, accessibility, livelihood and advocacy for the rights of persons with disabilities for empowerment and inclusion are the prime focus areas of its work.

The aim of the workshop was to understand the status of people with disabilities in the Eastern Region across the key thematic areas of education, employment, health and accessibility, specifically in the context of gender and Sustainable Development Goal realization.

At least 70 participants from five eastern States, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal, representing 21 kinds of disabilities, participated and discussed and deliberated a way forward inclusive development and disaggregated data in 2030.

Addressing the delegates from different States, Chief Secretary Jena said that while parents of children with disabilities are taking care and responsibility, the Government has more work to do for them.

The challenge is to ensure that persons with disabilities can live with dignity by getting access to education, health and related facilities, he said.

Shri Jena also said that the Odisha Government is doing a good job for the welfare of the disabled. Steps have been expedited to construct Integrated Infrastructure Complexes (IICs) in all the 30 districts of the State in a phased manner through the Department of Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD).

In the first phase work has been started for 10 districts. State Institute of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SIEP) under the SSEPD department was set up with state-of-the-art facilities for persons with disabilities, Jena said.

In a recently held secretary-level meeting, the welfare of differently-abled persons has been discussed. All Secretaries will visit (SIEP) and other institutions working for the welfare of persons with disabilities to study their ground situation and problems, he added. 

The Chief Secretary also said that just as the State Government has been deciding the course of action in the last few years with emphasis on Zero Casualty in disaster management, the State Government is also focusing on the facilities of the differently abled in the State and will make a lot of changes in their lives by continuing with  more efforts to meet their needs in the coming days.

Shri Jena also focused upon that there is a need to make the institutions and workers more aware who are working for the welfare of the disabled in Odisha.

Efforts will continue to address the problems of 21 types of persons with disabilities, in particular. Welfare of the disabled will be our mission to take into a higher level by coordinating between political leaders and the bureaucracy, he said.

Speaking on the occasion, Arman Ali, Honorary Director, NCPEDP said that Odisha has won accolades in fields like natural disaster management, investment in the State and setting up industries including sports etc.

He also suggested that para sports should be given importance in the State along with facilities for education, employment and access to all sectors for persons with disabilities. Bratati Harichandan, Director, SSEPD was also present as the guest of honour.

Giving information about the program, The Founder and CEO of “Swabhimaan” Dr. Shruti Mohapatra said about the transformative promise of the 2030 Agenda to ‘Leave no one behind’ and to “endeavor to reach the furthest behind first” emphasizes that “all” people should have access to equitable and accessible education, employment, and health services.

She also proposed to collect special data on persons with disabilities in the upcoming census in all States, including Odisha, and sought cooperation of all the States to bring it to the notice of the Government of India. She further said about vision for the Eastern Region vis-à-vis disability inclusion in the next 5—10 years.

A report documenting the status and recommendations for Disability Inclusion in the key thematic areas of education, employment, health, accessibility, gender and SDGs is also the objective of the workshop.