GUWAHATI, Jan 10 - Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar today said that in this age of the internet and technology the dream of Digital India will not be possible without the participation and inclusion of the divyangjan.
The minister was speaking during the inaugural ceremony of a two-day national conference ‘Disability and social inclusion: The role of technology’ organised by the National Institute for Locomotor Disabilities (Divyangjan), Kolkata, held at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati.
He said that through the use of technology the lives of the divyangjan can be made easier and they can be made self-dependent.
“The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has taken the issues of the divyangjan of the North East as a challenge. Technology can play a great role in facing this challenge. It has been felt for a long time that awareness on this issue is very much needed in this region and so the ministry has decided to organise such a conference here,” Gurjar added.
The minister further said that the government has launched a new scheme ‘Accessible India Campaign’ (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan), a nationwide campaign to enable persons with disabilities to gain universal access, equal opportunity for development, independent living and participation in all aspects of life in an inclusive society.
Under this scheme the government is providing cochlear implants to deaf children.
“The government is importing these devices. But if these devices can be produced here, it will give more life to the divyangjan. This is a big challenge and IITs have all the capability to fulfil this challenge,” he added.
IIT Director Gautam Biswas in his speech said innovations in science and technology have changed the lives of people, including the divyangjan. “Healthcare system has improved so much that hearing aid is no longer a matter of discussion,” he said.
Abhishek Kumar, Director of NILD, Kolkata; Prof SK Dwivedi, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering of IIT Guwahati; Prof S Kanakraj from the Department of Mechanical Engineering of IIT Guwahati and PK Lenka, organising secretary of NILD, were also present at the inaugural session.
Around 30 speakers from various institutions from across the country will deliver talks during the two-day conference. In addition, around 60 papers by researchers will also be presented.
The conference is being attended by hundreds of stakeholders working in the area of technology for the divyangjan, including scientists, researchers, engineers, doctors, rehabilitation professionals, NGO members, civil rights advocates, government officers and students.