2.1 percent of Indians have disabilities, says expert

September 20th, 2008 - 6:57 pm ICT by IANS  

Ahmedabad, Sep 20 (IANS) India has 2.1 percent of its people with disabilities, with blindness comprising the largest percentage and hearing disability on the rise, said an expert at a seminar here.S.N. Goswami, managing director and CEO of Media Lab Asia, a company promoted by the Union Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, said that of the disabilities, blindness amounted to 48.5 percent while locomotive disability was 27.8 percent and mental illnesses 33 percent. Hearing impairment in elderly citizens is now on the rise due to urbanisation.

Goswami was addressing a two-day national conference on ‘Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) for Differently Abled People (DAP)’ which began here at Gandhi Labour Institute Friday.

Since independence, the government has taken several initiatives for improving the lives of people with disabilities. “I consider 1995 as the high watermark because it was then that the People With Disabilities (PWD) Act came into being along with PCs, CPU/hard disks which came into mass circulation,” Goswami said.

Although progress has been made in the country through various provisions and policies still much needs to be done to help people with disabilities. Media Lab Asia is supporting several projects to empower differently abled.

It is implementing a Comprehensive Satellite/Internet based National Network through Edusat for students, parents, trainee teachers and professionals engaged in different areas of disabilities like mental retardation, autism, cerebral palsy and multiple disabilities, he said.

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