Logo of the Office of The State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Meghalaya.

Sensitization Workshop for Government Officials and Employers on Rights and Entitlements of Persons with Disabilities in collaboration with the State Resource Centre, Civil Hospital, Shillong and Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, Mumbai.

A Sensitization Workshop on Rights and Entitlements of Persons with Disabilities was organized by the Office of the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and State Resource Centre, Civil Hospital, Shillong in collaboration with Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped (A.Y.J.N.I.H.H.), Mumbai on 11th December, 2014 at 10.00 A.M. at Yojana Bhawan Auditorium, with a view to sensitize Government Officials and Employers on Rights and Entitlements of Persons with Disabilities. 179 participants attended the programme which includes the Government officials and members of N.G.Os working for the welfare of Persons with Disabilities. List of participants enclosed at Annexure - I.

In the Inaugural Programme, Miss C. Kharkongor, M.C.S, Commissioner for Persons with disabilities while welcoming all participants she conveyed the objectives of the Sensitization Workshop which was followed by the presentation of bouquets to the dignitaries. She expressed her heartfelt thanks to the dignitaries for their support and co-operation. In her introductory address she mentioned the importance of the programme and informed the initiatives taken up by the Government for the welfare of Persons with Disabilities.

Mr. C. Noronha, Executive Director, Bethany Society, Shillong, presented few slides which shows the success and failure of those persons with disabilities and also made a special emphasis on Disability and Inclusive development. In his address he explained the meaning of 'disability' and pointed out that disability is not about blindness, but is about barriers. He also mentioned that India has signed and ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and hence, it should be strongly followed. He pointed out that a society which is good for disabled is a better society for everybody and he advocated that the need is not to segregate difference but to celebrate the difference. He emphasized on four things to break the barrier and open the doors for Persons with Disabilities. These are Awareness, Participation, Comprehensive accessibility and Mainstream inclusion and also highlighted on some of the programmes of the Government of India such as Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, National Rural Health Mission, Rashtriya Madhyamik Siksha Abhiyan, livelihood, etc which ensures inclusion of Persons with Disabilities on equal basis.

Mrs. Alka S. Joshi, Head of Department, Psychology, A.Y.J.N.I.H.H., Mumbai, appreciated for organizing such programme and presented an overview of A.Y.J.N.I.H.H., its mission status, and the composite rehabilitation centres and emphasized that together groups and plans could be set up to make a difference. She also stated that a huge thrust is towards skill development programmes to enhance the scope of activities of Persons with Disabilities through Regional Centres, Composite Regional Centres and other Institutions throughout the country including Northeast and welcoming proposals from Northeast as well for organizing short term programmes on issues concerning disabilities.

Mr T. Dkhar, I.A.S., Commissioner & Secretary, Social Welfare Department, Guest of Honour in his address said that there is a need to understand the various legislations that talk about Disability in order to understand the several rights of the Persons with Disabilities. He also shared on various steps taken by the Government to create a barrier free environment for Persons with Disabilities and build a society which is more inclusive to them. He hopes that the deliberations and presentations will give a way to understand the importance of the issues pertaining to disability in our state and country as a whole.

Mr P.B.O. Warjri, I.A.S., Chief Secretary, Government of Meghalaya, Chief Guest in his address said that we are living in a generation where the world at large has become more sensible to the needs and problems of Persons with Disabilities and exclaimed that the most important thing to recognize is that Persons with Disabilities are human and this gives an opportunity for all to recognize humanity in each one. He also said that the Government and the system are recognizing the fact that Persons with Disabilities have their rights like each one of us and this should be accepted in action and not just merely on papers. He believed that the workshop will succeed in creating positive feelings about Persons with Disabilities and those Persons with Disabilities need to be recognized and assisted so that they can come forward.

The function concluded with a Vote of Thanks by Dr M. Barthakur, Project Director and State Coordinator, State Resource Center, Civil Hospital, Shillong, followed by light refreshment.

Business Session:

  1. Miss. C. Kharkongor, M.C.S., Commissioner for Persons with disabilities, presented in detail the status of implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 in the State of Meghalaya. She made a special reference about National Handicapped Finance Development Corporation under which Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank Limited is the State Channelizing Agency for setting up small business in service and trading Sector, agricultural activities and purchase of vehicle, and Micro credit scheme for Parents Association for the Mentally Retarded Persons. She stated that this scheme is doing very well in the State of Meghalaya and the Meghalaya Co-operative Apex Bank Limited is awarded the best channelizing agency this year.
    She also provided a brief account on Schemes for Implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act (S.I.P.D.A.). These are creation of Disability Friendly Website by the National Informatics Centre (N.I.C.) which is the Implementing agency and Early Diagnostic and Intervention Centres at four District Headquarters of Shillong, Jowai, Nongstoin and Tura. Besides, under S.I.P.D.A., Ministry has sanctioned 2 (two) D.D.R.Cs one at Tura, West Garo Hills District and other at Nongstoin, West Khasi Hills District.
  2. Mrs. C. Shadap, Senior Systems Analyst, National Informatics Centre (N.I.C.), Shillong presented a demonstration on the Draft Disability Friendly Portal. She informed that the portal is headed by the State Informatics Officer, NIC and he has been very closely monitoring the development of this project. She further informed about the care being taken to ensure that website is written in Braille language to cater to the needs of the people with dyslexia and precisely outlined the other initiatives undertaken to make the portal more disability friendly. The Government of India has also incorporated a lot of features to ensure that the website is disability friendly and adopt a universal design worldwide for the same.
  3. Mr. R. Bhattacharyya, Head of Department, S.E.R.D., A.Y.J.N.I.H.H., Mumbai, delivered a presentation on "Employment prospects of P.W.Ds". He opined that all the Departments need to come together and identify their role in employing the Persons with Disabilities and emphasized that all should come together and join hands in the initiative for the full-fledged implementation of the Persons With Disabilities Act, 1995. He also said that a convergence is required to tap the untapped and effective utilization of mainstream training and employment opportunities as well as information and technology services. He said that Vocational Training or S.D.P. is the Gateway to Employment and further highlighted on the initiative taken by his respective departments to train Persons with Disabilities. Further he stressed on creation of congenial working environment and sustainable support services as well as to inculcate positive attitude through Integration and strongly believed that identification of jobs for Persons with Disabilities leads to right job for right person. He declared that NIHH will be happy to offer trainings to the public and private sectors and undertakings in Northeast as well if such trainings are required.
    Finally, he advocated for an action plan and convergence of all the departments to conduct special recruitment drive for Persons with Disabilities as well and identify right person for right job and offered to provide technical supports for the same. He also stressed on formation of working group, creation of Database of job seekers and establishing linkage between training Institute and Industries as well as identification of N.G.Os for S.D.P. and utilization of Mainstream Training Infrastructure besides establishing network with Employers and creating awareness through Employers Meet and also stressed on identification of employ market and suitable jobs for Persons with Disabilities.
  4. Mr. Anupam Das, Vocational Counsellor, A.Y.J.N.I.H.H., Mumbai delivered a presentation titled "Implementation strategies of Welfare schemes for P.W.Ds". The presentation aimed at outlining the various strategies and schemes for the welfare of the Persons with Disabilities. He spoke about types of Disabilities as per the Persons With Disabilities Act, 1995 and thereafter highlighted on the components of rehabilitation which comprises of provision of assistive aid and appliances, educational, vocational training, assistance for employment and training in or assistance for independent living. He advocated on the role of the State Government where he opined that the State Government may make rules for recommending the Organisations from the State and may create a State Data Bank and develop a State Monitoring Agency for proper implementation of various schemes for the welfare of the Persons with Disabilities.
  5. Mrs Alka S. Joshi, Head of Department, Psychology, A.Y.J.N.I.H.H., Mumbai delivered a presentation on "Myths and Reality about Hearing Loss". She pointed important things that one has to know to understand any disability and strongly recommended for early identification and intervention. She spoke of aids and appliances and stressed on the importance of education and vocational training for Persons with Disabilities. She made the participants aware that there is a higher incidence of behavior and adjustment problems among deaf children and opined that there is a need for sensitization programme for work place, parents and trains the employers about their expectations. She said that any Persons with Disabilities could be trained in inclusive setups if the trainers are effectively trained and are aware of the differences and short training modules are required to be developed where work ethics and work culture could be drawn for Persons with Disabilities.

The Programme concluded with the discussions, interactions with Government officials and the recommendations from the participants. Mrs I. Tariang, Assistant Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities presented her concluding remarks where she applauded the Resource Persons for their valuable sharing on the issue concerning Persons with Disabilities and opined that everyone should be committed to reach new heights for the welfare of Persons with Disabilities.

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