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'Role of disabled vital for India's development'

Posted on Jan 16 2014 | IANS

New Delhi, Jan 16 : A refined and developed society makes policies and schemes for the uplift and welfare of its disabled people and gives them an environment in which they can contribute to the nation's development, an official said Thursday.

"India currently has more than five lakh (half a million) deaf or blind people, but has not been able to provide a platform to the disabled where they can work together with those with no disability for the development of the country", Stuti Kakkar, secretary (disability affairs) of the government of India, said.

She was speaking at the inauguration of the third national conference of the "Multiple Disabilities and Deaf-Blind Inclusion - Paving the way forward".

The three-day conference will end Jan 18.

Kakkar asserted that given the size of the disabled population, they could play a huge role in development if they were allowed the opportunity. She underlined the need for simple but focused information material on deafness and blindness, and other forms of disability.

Speaking on the occasion, Akhil Paul, director of Sense International India, a non-governmental organisation working for the development of services for deaf and blind people, said the onus of creating inclusive environments lay with civil society.

"Inclusive environments should not only address the educational system alone, but all aspects of life of a deaf or blind person, in all areas of development like health, safety, education, work, communication needs, adaptive devices, social and community life etc., through appropriate and considerate methods," he said.

More than 300 participants from various NGOs around the country are attending the three-day conference.

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