Former president Pranab Mukherjee today said of the total population in the country, 2.21 per cent people suffer from disabilities and their condition has been "less than satisfactory", despite several laws being implemented.
At the inauguration of a seminar on 'Rights of Persons With Disabilities: Contemporary Developments' at the Delhi University, he appealed to the people to consider those with disabilities as equals.
"The government, whose primary responsibility is to ensure respect for them, has spent lakhs of rupees and implemented various policies and schemes for their empowerment," Mukherjee said.
"Despite all that, their situation has been less than satisfactory," he said and rued that discrimination, segregation and marginalisation has become common.
"The answer is not only strict enforcement of existing laws, but also simultaneous exposure and education of the people towards disability and how to deal with it with compassion and affection," the former president said.
He also appealed to all participants of the seminar to dwell on all these aspects and, form opinions and ideas for the betterment of the people with disabilities.
From 1995 to 2016, there has been a paradigm shift in respect of laws pertaining to the disabled, Mukherjee said.
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