New Delhi: The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Shri Paban Singh Ghatowar has said that in the north east there are 7.41 lakh persons with disabilities which constitute 1.9% of the population of the region. Addressing a two-days regional symposium on disability scenario in North-East India in Guwahati recently, he said this is figure is only slightly less as compared to the percentage population of the all – India figure of persons with Disabilities which is 2.1%. He said, as per the census 2001, 75% of persons with disabilities live in the rural areas, 49% are literate and only 34% are employed. The census figure also says that 28% suffer from locomotor disability, 49% from visual, 6% from hearing, 7% from speech and 10% from speech disability. He stated that this broad idea of the pattern of disability nationwide may also be applicable to the states of North- East.
The Minister said that various schemes have been undertaken by the Union Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment in active cooperation from the Ministry of DoNER and recently a few days back, a meeting of the all ministers of Welfare/Social Justice of North Eastern states was held for have a look at the pace of implementation of such welfare schemes. He added that the schemes of Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region pertain, mainly, to investment in physical infrastructure and under major scheme of NLCPR, till date,1393 projects worth Rs. 11529.17 crore in sectors such as roads & bridges, education, health, power, irrigation & flood control, water supply, sports etc have been taken. He informed that under North Eastern Council (NEC), following social welfare related projects and programmes have been funded:-
(i) National Tournament on Cricket for Physically Challenged Players in Manipur during 2010-12;
(ii) Construction of School Building and Hostel at Lyntijam Welfare Development Association, Mawtnum, Ri Bhoi District, Meghalaya for the benefit of physically challenged students;
(iii) Part-funding of construction of De-addiction Centres;
(iv) Training Programme on Hearing Disability Sector organized by IGNOU at Shillong for disabled persons and teachers of North East;
The Minister expressed hope that the symposium would voice the concerns and issues affecting persons with disabilities, which in turn will reflect the ground reality vis-à-vis the rights of persons with disabilities and will indicate strategies for meaningful interactions between governmental and non-governmental organizations working in the sector. Some of the areas that are expected to be covered would include accessibility, education, health, employment and social security for the persons with disabilities. The Minister exuded confidence that the outcome of this symposium will help the Government as well as Ministry of DoNER to fine tune their schemes so that they can address the concerns and needs of the persons with disabilities and also that this symposium will prove to be an important milestone in journey towards a achieving a just and equitable growth leading to all-round development of the nation as a whole and North Eastern States, in particular.
The symposium was organized by Shishu Sarothi, which is a renowned Centre for Rehabilitation and Training for Multiple Disability.