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27 Jul, 2013

India Holds First National Fair on Assistive Devices for Disabled


New Delhi, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, 25-July, 2013 – The Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Kumari Selja inaugurated the National Fair on Aids & Assistive Devices “SWAVALAMBAN” here today. Speaking on the occasion the Minister said that this is the first fair of its kind, being organised by Department of Disability Affairs.

The Minister congratulated Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) along with other National Institutes who worked very hard to put up the show and added that one of the Ministry’s scheme for rehabilitation of Person with Disabilities is the Assistance to Disabled Persons for Assistive Devices, popularly known as ‘ADIP’ scheme. The main objective is to assist the needy disabled persons in getting durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, modern assistive devices. These devices will help in promoting their physical, social and psychological rehabilitation, by reducing the effects of disabilities and enhancing their economic potential.

Currently, aids & appliances for locomotor disabilities, visually impaired, hearing impaired & mentally handicapped are being provided under the scheme. Currently the income limits and limits of the cost of appliances permissible for assistance are quite low. The Ministry is working to increase these limits.

Praising ALIMCO the Minister said that it is a non-profit manufacturing Industry working for the past 4 decades. It is serving persons with disabilities by way of manufacturing and supplying aids & appliances and organising camps for providing them devices. ALIMCO has so far provided aids & appliances to more than 40 lakhs beneficiaries. In the last two years, ALIMCO has expanded its production activities as well as camp activities in leaps and bounds. It could register a growth rate of 128% in that period. Recognizing this fact, ALIMCO has been awarded “Best Managed PSE Award” by SCOPE by the President of India. Currently, it is reaching around 2 lakhs PwDs, directly and indirectly.

The Minister further added that a wide range and sophisticated devices are needed in large number as almost 50-60% PwDs needs assistive technology at one or other point of time. Accordingly, ALIMCO is being modernized and strengthened to increase its manufacturing capacity.

The Minister also said that there is need to recognize requirements of many more disabilities that are arising out of modern life styles and to develop suitable assistive technologies for them. Considering these factors, it has been decided by the Ministry to hold a National level Trade fair of various assistive devices that are available across the country. This would help in creating awareness and assessing the availability of various stake holders in this field. This would help in exchange of ideas amongst manufacturers and potential users, and to attract industries in this sector. This will also open opportunities for ALIMCO to explore trading partners and technology providers so that ALIMCO may undertake mass scale manufacturing at affordable cost.

Mr Manikrao Gaviti, Minister of State, Social Justice & Empowerment expressed his pleasure and congratulated ALIMCO for bringing the manufacturers, suppliers in the country to show case the assistive devices at one place. The Minister further added this fair will provide an opportunity to Persons with Disabilities to see modern aids & appliances.

The Secretary, Department of Disability Affairs, Ms. Stuti Kacker welcomed all to the National Fair on Aids & Assistive Devices “SWAVALAMBAN” to showcase the assistive aids/appliances which will improve the functions and thus reduce the disability of individual to make him Swavalambi- ‘Independent’.

The Secretary said that the department has taken various initiatives for the empowerment and inclusion of PwDs in the main stream of the society as envisaged in the National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, 2006 which recognizes persons with disabilities as valuable human resource and focuses on their physical, economic and educational rehabilitation.

The Secretary further added that as per census, 2001, there are 2.19 crore persons with disabilities (PwDs). The disabled population is diverse, in terms of their age, gender, disability types, extent of disabilities and their socio-economic conditions. Their needs are different and most of them need assistive technology at one or other point of time.

It’s a fact that majority of PwDs require assistive technology to overcome their disability and improve their functions, mobility and independence in living. There is all round development in such assistive technology world over. Accessibility software, Augmentative & alternative communication, Assistive technology for cognition, Cochlear Implant, Joystick operated mobility devices, Bionic limb and Intelligent devices etc. are few to quote on high end technology in the plethora of such assistive devices. In the many challenges in rehabilitation of PwDs, it is to make people aware of such assistive technology and to make them available is important one.

Under the ADIP scheme, Department provides Grant-in-aid to the NGOs to provide durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, ISI standard aids and appliances to PwDs to empower them by reducing the effects of disabilities.

To sensitize and create awareness on various schemes and programs of the department, in addition to regular annual conferences of Ministers, State Secretaries and State Commissioners for PwDs, Regional and State level issue specific workshops have now been initiated. Two such regional workshops for Southern region at Hyderabad and NE region at Guwahati have been organized recently. The issue specific national conferences by the seven national institutes under Ministry have also been finalized, recently.

To increase the coverage of disabled population under our various schemes, the thrust on voluntary sector is being given by further simplifying the scheme, streamlining the procedure, coordinating with state governments to accord due priority to the sector, removing the bottle necks in the release of GIA with the improved internal monitoring mechanism. The budget for XII FYP vis a vis XI FYP has been doubled. To encourage education amongst students with disabilities, scholarships at all levels, pre/post matric, higher studies, studies in top class institutions are being introduced on the line of such facilities for SC/ST students. Rajiv Gandhi National Fellowship for higher studies has already been started through UGC and other schemes are in pipeline. To widen the coverage under SIPDA, one time Grant for infrastructure development for the office of State Commissioners for PwDs and Grant for vocational training through NHFDC have also been added in the existing schemes for grant assistance.

To provide rehabilitation services to the PwDs, countrywide in a sustainable manner, a CBR approach is under consideration and accordingly, DDRCs and CRCs in the remaining districts and states, respectively, are being developed.

The Secretary congratulated ALIMCO for working relentlessly for manufacturing aids & appliances, but said that there is a need to bring more manufacturers, technology and aids & appliances of international standard, at a reasonable cost.

The Secretary said that the concern of the department is to popularize assistive aids, available; which can improve functions and reduce disability and to promote their manufacture by using appropriate technology for the common PwDs. The existing ADIP scheme is also under revision to include such high end technology assistive devices namely motorized wheel chair, digital hearing aid, IT education gadgets and cochlear implant etc.

The Secretary said that this fair shall provide an opportunity to manufacturers/suppliers, researcher and PwDs to exchange their views and evolve a method by which these modern aids & appliances can be made available to the needy ones at reasonable cost.

Present on the occasion were Mr Sudhir Bhargava, Secretary, Social Justice and Empowerment, Mr Awanish Kumar Awasthi, J.S., Department of Disability Affairs, Mr Prasanna Kumar Pincha, Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Ms Poonam Natrajan, Chairperson, National Trust, Mr Narayan Rao G., CMD, ALIMCO.