Centre is taking steps to ensure that demographic dividend of people with special needs is adequately tapped in for nation building, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday.
He also said the government is working on starting a centre for developing sign gestures for Indian languages.
Modi said this in his message to the ninth World Assembly of the Disabled People’s International starting Monday.
The Prime Minister said the cost of exclusion of people with disabilities from the workplace is estimated by the World Bank to be around 37 per cent of a country’s GDP.
“It is, therefore, imperative that as the world advances to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030, particularly eradication of extreme poverty, people with disabilities are included in this journey,” he said.
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Citing philosophy of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ (world is one family), Modi said India believes in the principles of inclusion and integration.
The Prime Minister said his government is fully committed to the provisions of the United Nations Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities for achieving empowerment and inclusion of persons with special needs, he said.
“In the last two years of office, we have already taken several significant steps to ensure that the demographic dividend of people with disabilities is adequately tapped in for nation building. Initiatives such as Accessible India Campaign aim to make the built environment inclusive for people with disabilities.
“We are also working on making the Railways accessible and starting a centre to develop Indian sign language,” he said.
Disabled People’s International (DPI) has members from over 150 countries. The event is supported by the United Nations and G3IC.
Thanking the Prime Minister, Global Chair for DPI, Javed Abidi said, “I would like to emphasise that rebuilding and retro-fitting to accommodate persons with disability must be discouraged. It has become imperative for governments to collectively have a positive procurement model. Accessibility has to be built into both public and private sector procurement. Otherwise the disabled people cannot even get education, let alone employment.”