The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is celebrated every year on 3rd December.
Proclaimed and promoted by the United Nations, this international observance is marked the world over to intensify efforts aimed at the sustained effective action with a view to improving the situation of persons with disabilities. The day was marked by a ‘walk to freedom‘ for 5000 persons with disability; organised by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People in partnership with American India Foundation (AIF) at Amar Jawan Jyoti, India Gate.
Celebrated with yellow and blue balloons, the colours of disability, it was a pleasant surprise to see the same colours worn by Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi, National Spokesperson of the BJP. Also present was the Hon. Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Vijay Goel.
Shri Vijay Goel praised the four para-lympians who won at the Rio Olympics earlier this year and saluted the spirit of para-athletes.
Coming straight to the point, he warmed the hearts of the 5000+ people gathered at the event, by speaking about the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill which is scheduled to be considered for discussion and passing in the Rajya Sabha on Monday, 5th December. He said, “ I will not only talk to my own party members but also across party lines for the smooth passage of the bill.”
Smt. Meenakshi Lekhi, Member of Parliament, and the Chairperson of the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) assured her commitment towards accessibility and inclusion. She expressed, “ I support the passage of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill. Monday will be a day of celebration for all of us and not just persons with disabilities if the Bill gets passed.”
Other dignitaries present at the celebration included Shri Zorin Singha, President; Shri A.S. Narayanan, Secretary, National Association of the Deaf and Shri Javed Abidi, Honorary Director, NCPEDP.
Says Javed Abidi, “I was hoping that the Bill would be passed yesterday. It would have been a gift to the disabled community from the Indian parliament. We look forward to the 5th, and I would like to thank the 5000 + crowd that has turned up here today. I also congratulate all the performers who put up a great show.”
For India which is home to over 70 million people with disabilities, with few rights, few entitlements, and even fewer opportunities, this day assumes a greater significance, creating visibility and awareness on the issues faced by people with different disabilities before a larger audience.
This year, has special significance. It is not only the 20th year of NCPEDP, but also
1. It is the 10th anniversary year of United Nations-CRPD – the first human rights convention concerning persons with disabilities.
2. It is the first anniversary of the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and the accompanying 17 SDGs which have provided for a disability inclusive development agenda for the first time.
3. 3rd December 2016 also formally marks the first anniversary of the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s flagship ‘Accessible India Campaign’ or ‘Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan’ which has brought the issue of accessibility outside the disability discourse into the public realm in India.