Gangtok, 06 Sep (IPR) : Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India, Dr. Kamlesh Kumar Pandey was on a two-day visit to Sikkim to review the activities being carried out by the State in the field of disabilities. The Chief Commissioner was accompanied in the State review visit by Deputy Commissioner for Disabilities, Government of India, Dr. Sanjay Kant Prasad.
The Chief Commissioner met the Secretary and senior officials of the Department of Social Justice, Empowerment & Welfare, Government of Sikkim, the nodal Department dealing with disabilities, on the forenoon of 5th September at Samaj Kalyan Bhawan, Lumsey. He was briefed about the implementation of schemes and programmes for disabilities in the State by Secretary Social Justice Ms Sarala Rai.
The newly setup office of the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities in the annexe building of Samaj Kalyan Bhawan was also inaugurated by the Chief Commissioner.
The Chief Commissioner then met officers of various line Departments and took a detailed review of activities concerning disabilities in each of these Departments. The line Departments present in the meeting were Health, HRDD, Transport, UD&HD, Science & Technology, IT etc along with Social Justice Department.
During the meeting, the Chief Commissioner observed that all the disabled persons in the State should be issued Disability Certificates on priority. He informed that the Government of India has started a new scheme of distribution of Unique Disability Identity (UDID) funded by the Central Government, which is valid throughout the country. He observed that the State Coordinators appointed by the Department specifically for implementation of UDID Scheme are yet to be given training, and urged the Department of Social Justice to take it up on priority.
The Chief Commissioner further stated that the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, emphasized on the need to appoint special educators in all the schools and a training Institute to be established by the Government to train them, in order to aid the children with disabilities.
Further, the Chief Commissioner stated that all the thirty-five buildings selected by the State Government should have special facilities to make them accessible for persons with disabilities, as per the ‘Accessible India Campaign’ launched by the Central Government in December 2015.
The Chief Commissioner also advocated for appointment of a full-time State Commissioner for Disabilities to perform quasi-judicial duties such as redressal of grievances of persons with disabilities, and monitoring of fund disbursed by the State Government for persons with disabilities.
Later in the day, the Chief Commissioner met Chief Secretary Shri A.K. Shrivastava at Manan Kendra and discussed pertinent issues concerning the implementation of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 in the State.
The Chief Commissioner also called on Hon’ble Governor of Sikkim Shri Ganga Prasad at Raj Bhawan in the evening, and apprised him on the objective and outcome of their review visit to Sikkim.
The following points were discussed by the Chief Commissioner with the Governor and the Chief Secretary:
1. A separate Directorate of Disabilities should be established by the State Government to give more thrust to programmes for persons with disabilities.
2. Full-time State Commissioner for Disabilities should be appointed.
3. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 should be implemented in letter and spirit.
4. Vocational Training Centre for Divyangjan should be established to impart skill development trainings.
5. Backlog vacancies of people with disabilities in various departments of the State Government should be identified and special drive should be carried out to raise awareness and fill backlogs as per the reservation.
6. Sports activities should be promoted for Divyangjans by organizing regular events and providing awards and incentives to Divyang sportspersons.
7. Awareness should be created in society regarding schemes and facilities created by the Central and State Governments for persons with disabilities.
8. The State Government should start schemes for Cochlear implantation in line with States like Tripura, Kerala and Goa.
9. Eye donation should be encouraged by establishing eye bank in Government hospitals.
10. Disability Department or at-least a study centre should be established in colleges and universities in the State.