Economically empower persons with disabilities, says President

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee presented the National Awards for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) in New Delhi today (December 3, 2016) on the occasion of International Day of Disabled Persons.
Speaking on the occasion, the President said employment is a vital factor in economic empowerment of persons with disabilities. Vacancies have been reserved for such applicants in Government Ministries and establishments. Government’s National Action Plan for Skill Development will cover 25 lakh persons with disabilities by 2022 to enhance their employability. He called upon both the public as well as private sector to be active partners in this endeavour.
The President said the “Accessible India” campaign is a good step in creating barrier-free access to public buildings and public transportation. Similarly, information and communication technology has contributed in many ways to improving the daily lives of the disabled. This supplements the Government’s efforts in distribution of modern aids and devices. Such initiatives not only encourage beneficiaries and strengthen their morale but also create a positive awareness.
The President said the value of early detection and effective intervention cannot be emphasised enough. A number of simple precautionary steps can prevent the illnesses and chronic conditions that can cause disabilities - particularly among susceptible age groups. Immunization, disease prevention, better hygiene, sanitation and nutrition, comprehensive maternal and neonatal care are areas where we should apply ourselves with vigour. Our media can play a major role in creating awareness and projecting positive stories in this respect.
Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were Shri Thaawar Chand Gehlot, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment as well as Shri Ramdas Athawale and Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar, Ministers of State for Social Justice and Empowerment.


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President pays floral tributes to Dr. Rajendra Prasad on his birth anniversary

The President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee paid floral tributes to Dr. Rajendra Prasad, the first President of India on occasion of his birth anniversary at Rashtrapati Bhavan today (December 3, 2016). The President, officers and staff paid floral tributes in front of a portrait of Dr. Rajendra Prasad in the Durbar Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan.


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Excerpts of Address by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee on the occasion of the presentation of National Awards for the Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) for the year 2016

03 December 2016
(Vigyan Bhavan, New Delhi)

It is indeed a pleasure for me to present amidst you on this occasion which is recognized as the International Day of Disabilities. 
2.         I have immense pleasure to confer these awards to recognise and honour individuals and organisations who have selflessly contributed to the empowerment of persons with disabilities. I congratulate them and thank them for their commitment and their invaluable work. 
3.         I would stress the importance of inclusive education for children with special needs. Much more needs to be done. I am glad that Government of India provides scholarships, creates effective teaching-learning conditions, designs study material in appropriate formats and facilitates access to relevant educational technology. I am glad that equal focus is being accorded to training of teachers and updating of their methods to make them more effective. 
4.         The “Accessible India” campaign launched last year is, to my mind, a good step in creating barrier-free access to public buildings and public transportation. I understand that 50 cities have been identified for the campaign and more than a thousand buildings in those cities will have retro-application of new access systems. Similarly, information and communication technology has contributed in many ways to improving the daily lives of the disabled. This supplements Government’s efforts –in distribution of contemporary aids and devices. Such initiatives not only encourage beneficiaries and strengthen their morale but also create a positive awareness.
5.         I understand that in the last two and half years, 5.8 lakh persons with disabilities have benefited from the distribution of Rs 350 crore worth of equipment. Government has funded almost five hundred implant surgeries in more than 140 hospitals. The National Handicapped Finance Development Corporation has also released Rs 300 crores in loans for self employment and skill development, benefitting about 78,000 recipients. Government has also established 6 new Braille Presses. In order to develop a common language and communication for hearing impaired in the country, Government of India has established the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre. It intends to launch a Unique ID project to create a national database of persons with disabilities to guide its further outreach and make it as wide and comprehensive as possible.
6.         Ladies and Gentlemen, employment is a vital factor in economic empowerment of persons with disabilities. Vacancies have been reserved for such applicants in Government Ministries and establishments. Government’s National Action Plan for Skill Development will cover 25 lakh persons with disabilities by 2022 to enhance their employability. I would encourage both the public as well as private sectors to be active partners in this endeavour.
7.         I am happy to note that Government of India had, in collaboration with National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra, organised, for the first time in our country, a national level IT competition among youths with disabilities. I would like to see more such competitions held at State-level for instilling IT skills in youth with disabilities.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
8.         The value of early detection and effective intervention cannot be emphasised enough. A number of simple precautionary steps can prevent the illnesses and chronic conditions that can cause disabilities - particularly among susceptible age groups. Immunization, disease prevention, better hygiene, sanitation and nutrition, comprehensive maternal and neonatal care are areas where we should apply ourselves with vigour. Our media can play a major role in creating awareness and projecting positive stories in this respect. 
9.         I look to each citizen of India to see how he or she can contribute to the collective effort for the benefit of the disabled in our society : Once Rabindra Nath Tagore’s observed in one of his poems which come in my mind and I quote: The problem is not how to wipe out the differences but how to unite with the differences intact.” As I leave these thoughts with you, I once again congratulate all the National Award winners and convey to them my best wishes for their further success.


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Home and Health Ministers address 44th Convocation of AIIMS

Government is focussed on improving the quality of care through tertiary, primary and secondary healthcare systems: Rajnath Singh


Ensuring the highest standards of medical education is a top priority for ourGovernment: J P Nadda


 “In addition to the world-class tertiary healthcare, the government is also focused on improving the quality of care through tertiary, primary and secondary healthcare systems.” This was stated by Shri Rajnath Singh, Hon’ble Union Home Minister during his address at the 44th Convocation of AIIMS, New Delhi, here today. He further said that in view of the population pressure in the country the government is trying to bridge the gap between demand and supply of quality healthcare through public private partnerships (PPPs) where the private sector is being roped in. Shri Manoj Sinha, MoS for Telecommunications and Railways also graced the occasion.

The Union Home Minister stated that though the government has successfully overcome many health challenges, there are many health frontiers that still need to be conquered such as malaria in the country. The Home Minister further drew attention towards hygiene, sanitation and cleanliness which play a crucial part in preventing many diseases and urged citizens to contribute to the “Swacchata Abhiyaan” started by the Hon’ble Prime Minister. Shri Singh also said that the Institution is a nursery of medical talent and it needs to expand to meet the growing need for medical human resource in the country. He informed that the expansion plans for the Institution have been taken up and are underway. “I am experiencing an ‘inspirational’ and ‘spiritual’ moment here, as you all are in the field where lives are saved. Doctors experience deep satisfaction after saving patients and successful treatment. Hence, the profession of doctors is a very noble task,” Shri Rajnath Singh added.

Delivery the Presidential address at the convocation, the President of the Institution and Union Health & Family Welfare Minister Shri J P Nadda stated that ensuring the highest standards of medical education is a top priority for our government and 6 AIIMS have already been made operational and 12 new AIIMS are being set up in different parts of the country to set standards of medical education and healthcare at par with the best institutions in the world.  “Existing premier medical colleges are also being upgraded with top notch infrastructure and facilities. Medical teachers will also be closely involved in policy planning, regulation and enforcement of standards in medical education,” Shri Nadda added.

The Health Minister assured that the Government is committed to ensuring that the new AIIMS will meet the same standards of service as AIIMS, New Delhi. No effort will be spared to make them the very best, he added. Shri Nadda stated that AIIMS has created a benchmark in the field of healthcare not only at the national level but internationally also. It has a great testimony and we must try to replicate it in the new AIIMS, he added. He noted that the new Institutes will be “AIIMS” and not “AIIMS-like”.  “Innovation for cost effective and affordable healthcare is the need of the day. To take up all these challenge AIIMS needs strengthening and expansion of its facilities. Which we are committed to provide,” Shri Nadda said.

The Health Minister stated that India faces the dual burden of communicable and non-communicable diseases unlike many other countries which have to address only one of these and the government is moving forward on various internationally mandated health indices. “AIIMS influences the health scenario in the country not only directly by providing state of the Art healthcare to almost 40 lakh patients a year; but also indirectly, first by training hundreds of graduates, postgraduates and in service trainee doctors and nurses; second, by research in priority areas; and third by support to the national programs and other organizations and institutions. AIIMS has been making these multifaceted contributions with distinction,” Shri Nadda said.

Shri Nadda reiterated that 'health for all' is a national goal and a priority for the Government and the Ministry is committed to doubling the capacity of AIIMS, Delhi in next two years. “The Government of India is tackling this by rapidly increasing the capacity for training undergraduates and postgraduates in existing medical colleges, and also by establishing new medical colleges,” the Health Minister added.

During the function 693 students received their degrees. Shri Nadda also gave away the lifetime achievement awards. Congratulating the students and the other awardees, the Health Minister advised to explore possibilities to establish interdisciplinary research groups to address larger research priorities, the grand challenges of basic, translational, clinical and public health research. “New solutions in healthcare are inherently complex and cannot be cracked without interdisciplinary expertise. Multidisciplinary teams are the need of the hour. I would like you to forge research coalitions that span different department of AIIMS, as well as reach out to other centres of excellence and researchers in the country,” Shri Nadda elaborated.

A commemorative stamp was also unveiled to mark the Diamond Jubilee Foundation Year of AIIMs, Delhi. The Health Minister also inaugurated the first advanced cardiac Dual Source Dual Energy CT Scanner in India. This advance high end CT scanner is the first of its kind in South Asia and is capable of doing every cardiac acquisition within few seconds, virtually eliminating challenges related to heart rate and patient motion. It is versatile equipment for investigating various cardiac vascular disease states.

Also present at the convocation function were Prof. M C Misra, AIIMS Director, Prof. Balram Airan, Dean AIIMS, senior officers of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare along with faculty and students of AIIMS.


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Swachhability run at Noida

A ‘Swachh-Ability Run 2016’ being organized in seven cities, over seven days culminated with the last 10 Km run at Pathways School, Noida, today, to commemorate the ‘International Day of Persons with Disabilities (PwD)’.  ‘Veer Naris’ (War Widows), were invited as guest of honour to flag off the run in each city and Smt Meena Nayyar, Mother of Kargil War hero Capt Anuj Nayyar, MVC was the guest of Honour at the event held at Pathways School, Noida.

This unique concept was conceived by Major D P Singh, the Indian Blade Marathon Runner a Kargil war veteran and was supported by the Indian Army. The run aimed to give confidence to differently-abled people and was held in cities of Chandigarh, Ambala, Kurukshetra, Karnal, Panipat, Sonipat, and National Capital Region (NCR) along the historic Grand Trunk road. 

‘Swachh Ability Run 2016’ is a unique event highlighting two important social causes, firstly, to showcase the abilities of persons with disability and bring inclusion and secondly, conduct a ‘Swachh Drive’ led by ‘Divyangs’ to convey a strong message to public to create awareness and social responsibility towards cleanliness. Towards this goal people with disabilities challenged their physical capacities through a run and further led the Swachh drive. A total of 10,000 Divyangs, veterans and school children have participated in this mission. In Noida, 2200 had joined to undertake this challenge.

To celebrate the culmination of SwachhAbility Run, a grand finale function is being conducted at Ayur Vigyan  Auditorium, RR Hospital , Delhi on 04 Dec. 


Need for undertaking comprehensive review of the Representation of the People Act: Dr Nasim Zaidi

The Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Dr Nasim Zaidi has emphasised the need for undertaking comprehensive review of the Representation of the People Act in view of issues and challenges thrown up before the Election Commission . Dr Zaidi said “ it is also being felt that EC should undertake comprehensive review of the RP Act in view of issues and challenges that have been thrown up before EC from time to time and come up with Draft RP Bill which then go through the motion of examination by competent authority in due course to time.”  Dr Zaidi was delivering his inaugural address at the “National Interactive Conference on Electoral Laws -Strategic vision for future” Laws being organised by the Election Commission of India (ECI) here today .  The CEC further said “ comprehensive review of the RP Act is overdue for past few decades.”

To take this task forward , Dr Zaidi further stated that ECI’s legal research wing is also undertaking comparative study of electoral laws in comparable democracies .

On Electoral reforms , Dr Zaidi said this is another important area which need to be addressed in very systematic manner .  47 proposals of Electoral reforms sent by the ECI from time to time for law making have also been examined by the Law Commission and many proposals have been endorsed for legislation , Dr Zaidi added. Listing out important ones pertaining to decriminalisation of politics , prevention of abuse of money , transparency in funding of political parties , making bribery an cognisable offence , criminalising paid news , empowering ECI to countermand election in cases of bribery and abuse on the lines of countermanding in event of both capturing , Dr Zaidi said these recommendations of the ECI and Law Commission are being scrutinised by a task force in the Law Ministry and outcome is eagerly awaited.

In order to deal with new issues during conduct of elections  in the absence of availability of legal provision in relevant laws  , Dr Zaidi proposed relevant laws should be considered for amendment by Law Ministry once well considered proposals are forwarded by the ECI .  The CEC said “ We feel that there should be well defined electoral laws rather than using residuary powers under Art 324 frequently.”  “ Of course ECI will not hesitate to invoke Art 324 in the  interest of purity of election.” Dr Zaidi added. Giving example of cancellation of elections in two ACs in Tamil Nadu in May 2016 on account of abuse of money , Dr Zaidi said ECI invoked Art 324 and cancelled the elections .  “ EC soon thereafter proposed amendment in RP Act to have a mirror provision in  the law on parallel of countermanding of elections on account of booth capturing . We have requested Law Ministry to revisit our proposal.”  , the CEC added.  If law would have been amended in time enabling EC to countermand elections on account of bribery , it would have served as deterrence in recently held elections ,  Dr Zaidi said.

While speaking on the occasion , the Election Commissioner Shri AK Joti highlighted the importance of partnership among Chief Electoral Office & Legal Counsel in handling court  cases of election disputes. 

In his address , Shri OP Rawat , the Election Commissioner said that legal frameworks must be re-evaluated and improved as lessons are learnt and countries advance through more substantial steps on their democratic paths.

On the occasion , the CEC and Election Commissioners also released compilation of 47 proposals of electoral reforms sent by the ECI from time to time to the Government for law making Click link to get download compilation --- http://164.100.34.138/Judicial/Document/PROPOSED%20ELECTORAL%20REFORMS.pdf and landmark judgements on Election matters.

The Conference was attended by senior officers of the ECI , Chief Electoral officers and legal counsels of the ECI from all states .


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PM pays tribute to Dr. Rajendra Prasad on his birth anniversary

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has paid tributes to the first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, on his birth anniversary. 


“I bow to Dr. Rajendra Prasad on his birth anniversary. Our nation owes a lot to him for his inspiring leadership at a crucial time”, the Prime Minister said. 


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