Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu Monday asked the corporate sector to contribute to the cause of "inclusion" by creating adequate employment opportunities for the differently abled people, and said it would supplement the government's efforts to empower them.
At an event organised by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on the occasion of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, he said India's development story will be incomplete without "inclusion" and harnessing the hidden potential of all people including the differently abled.
Naidu also also asked the corporate and the private entities to include in their Corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities the development of infrastructure accessible to persons with disabilities.
"I urge the corporate sector to contribute to the cause of inclusion by creating adequate employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. This will supplement governmental efforts to reserve positions for persons with disabilities in government establishments," he said.
On the occasion, the vice president conferred National Awards on individuals, institutions, organizations, state/district and others for their outstanding achievements and work done towards empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).
"Increasing access to public facilities is a priority area. Given the size of the existing infrastructure, this is a gigantic task," he said.
The vice president called on the states and Union territories to effectively implement the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, which provides for promoting inclusive education, skill development, healthcare, social security, rehabilitation, recreation and sporting activities the differently abled.
Only one-third of India's states have notified rules under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act since it was notified for enforcement in April last year.
The rules for the implementation of the act was notified by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in June last year.
Naidu also pitched for reinventing the education system to create inclusive educational opportunities, and stressed on the use of technology creatively to make this possible.
Societal norms should be changed through intensive awareness campaigns to remove the stigma attached to disability, he said, adding governance system needs fine-tuning to respond to the special needs of the differently abled.
Early identification of disability and effective intervention are important and there is a need to harmonise immunisation and disease-prevention programmes with appropriate rehabilitation models, the vice president said.
Children in the susceptible age groups should be given access to better healthcare and nutrition to prevent occurrence of disability, he said.
"Education is the key to empowerment of every person including persons with disabilities. I strongly believe that the provisions of the Act have to be strictly implemented to ensure that children with disabilities have access to school education with proper pedagogical support," he said.
The PwDs, Naidu said, need appropriate career and life-enhancing policies and programmes to lead a dignified life and measures to boost their self-confidence.
Although the government has taken a number of initiatives to systematically address the challenges that the differently abled face, there is still a long way to go, he said.
"We have to take a number of actions with speed and sincerity to build an inclusive society," the vice president said.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)