Drive to accept disabled in 8 districts

Social welfare minister Vimla Pradhan on Friday flagged off an annual campaign for persons with disabilities that focuses to sensitise the public to the problems of the marginalised section in eight districts this year.

As part of Badhte Kadam ' a nationwide drive of National Trust, which is an autonomous body of the ministry of social justice and empowerment ' a six-member team will tour Jamtara, Dumka, Sahebganj, Pakur, Deoghar, Godda, Dhanbad and Ramgarh districts from November 22 to 29 in a mobile van.

The mobile van comprising members of social outfits will sensitise the masses and also encourage disabled children to take part in cultural programmes and sports activities that they will organise in every district.

The formal launch of the campaign at Albert Ekka Chowk was organised by Deepshikha, Institute for Child Development and Mental Health, a state nodal agency centre of National Trust.

"We have already framed the state disability policy 2012, which is awaiting a cabinet approval. It will ensure basic rights to persons with disabilities," minister Pradhan told a gathering of around 200, including children from Ranchi and Ramgarh and representatives of NGOs.

She stressed that three per cent of the budgets of every department should be allocated for the welfare of disabled children. "This will help in mainstreaming the disabled, who are still not accepted as normal persons by the society."

Mridula Sinha, principal secretary in the social welfare department, echoed the minister, laying stress on ensuring basic rights to disabled children.

"For this, we need active participation of the members of the community who will be sensitised during the campaign," Sinha said.

Director (academics) of Deepshikha Alka Nizamie told The Telegraph: "The main aim of the campaign is to integrate the disabled with the rest of the society because they continue to be neglected in various sectors, including education and health."