PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi on Thursday said his government was committed to the welfare of divyangs (differently-abled) and appealed start-ups to come up with ideas for helping them. “The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has started distributing aid among divyangs. It started getting budget for it. This happened after so many years of the Independence. You will be surprised to know that since 1992 to 2013, when our government was not formed, only 55 events were organised in the entire country to distribute aid among divyangs. Within three years — between 2014 and 2017 — we have organised 5,500 camps for distributing aid among divyangs. This is evidence of how sensitive our government is and this is how we are trying to live by the slogan of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas,” he said.
The PM was addressing more than 18,430 divyangs from Saurashtra region and their family members at Samajik Adhikarita Shivir, a camp organised by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment for distributing aid among divyangs. Aid like tricycles, mechanised tricycles, laptops, teaching learning material and artificial limbs — cumulatively worth Rs23 crore — were given away at the camp organised by the Centre with help from the Gujarat government.
“Divyangs are responsibility of the entire nation. Therefore, we have taken small steps like lowering pass marks in examination to 25 out of 100 for divyangs. We have introduced uniformity in teaching of sign language, which will help divyangs connect with the entire world. We have also launched Sulabh initiative to make country accessible to divyangs. We have made it compulsory to make new buildings divyang-friendly,” Modi said.
The PM said that technology was changing lives of divyangs for better. “There are crores of divyangs in the country. I appeal to start-ups to take up studies of what new is happening in aiding divyangs. Then you come up with ideas to introduce technology for improving lives of divyangs and the government will help to the extent possible,” said the PM.
He said that after assuming the office of Prime Minister, he had announced that his government will be pro-poor. “We are not only helping divyangs, but are setting up new world records. I congratulate the Gujarat government and officers of the Rajkot district administration for setting up two new records today,” the PM said referring to the two new Guinness world records in the category of largest lesson in sign language and fitting calipers to largest number of people at same venue.
While 1,442 people took part in the largest sign language lesson, thus beat the existing record of 978 set up in Taiwan, 788 people were fitted calipers at the camp and the Guiness World Records entered that attempt in a new category.
Addressing the gathering earlier, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawarchand Gehlot said his ministry had reached out to 7.5 lakh divyangs through 5,500 camps in the last three years and handed aid to them. Recently, a similar camp was organised in Navsari where three world record were set up there. Another camp was held in Vadodara. He said this was the fourth camp in Gujarat and that 10,000 divyangs had been given aid.
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, while addressing the gathering said, his government had abolished the provision requiring renewal of travelling passes given to divyangs and made them valid for lifetime. He alleged that previous government did nothing for divyangs. “But. Modi came and he abolished the word viklang and replaced it with divyang. It demands tenderness of heart to do so,” said Rupani.
Modi also thanked the public of Rajkot for helping him win his maiden election in 2001 and paving the way for him to become chief minister of Gujarat.