Sunil Sharma (Special Correspondent)
New Delhi: The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind witnessed extraordinary performances by the Divyang Children at the cultural event ‘Divya Kala Shakti- Witnessing Ability in Disability’ organized by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in G.M.C. Balayogi Auditorium, Parliament Library Building here today.
The Vice President & Chairman, Rajya Sabha Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu, the Prime Minister Shri NarendraModi, the Speaker, Lok Sabha Shri Om Birla were the Guests of Honour. Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot and many Ministers were present. Members of Parliament from Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha and the Secretaries to many Central Ministries/Departments also attended this special event, which was organized for the second time.
In March, 2019, the DEPwD received a request from the President’s Secretariat to conduct a cultural programme for Divyang children in the premises of Rashtrapati Bhawan on 18th April, 2019 with an aim to further create awareness regarding the tremendous potential that is waiting to be harnessed. In order to organise the function, three major steps were taken immediately:-
(a) To invite entries of participants through our National Institutes;
(b) To appoint a professional choreographer team to mentor the participating teams; and
(c) To make the Rashtrapti Bhawan cultural centre fully accessible.
175 Artistes have been drawn from different states, cultural societies, institutions, civil societies to make it a truly nationalistic spirit. Department arranged for their rehearsals and practise session with the choreographer and the discipline and precision of timing and performance among such children is the greatest example of their intellectual, creative and their latent ability that needs to be harnessed for their optimal self-actualization.
The President Secretariat made necessary arrangements for making the stage and venue accessible for Persons with Disabilities along with provided necessary arrangements including sound and light equipments. The Cultural event , “Divya Kala Shakti: Witnessing Ability in Disability” commenced in the evening of 18th April, 2019 in the esteemed presence of the President of India who interacted with the participants and group photos were taken. The event was witnessed by about 300 dignitaries representing Ambassadors/High Commissioners/Senior Government officials, Creative personalities, Educators, Principals, various disability advocacy groups etc.
The programme was anchored by 3 youths with visual impairments disabilities; and performances were presented only by children and youth with disabilities ranging from physical, visual, hearing, intellectual, autism to multiple disabilities. They are capable of excelling in any field of life, be it art, culture, sports, profession or anything which a person with disability can do. The children with disabilities and the audience will always remember the inspiring words said by the President of India, who said that we need to spread the message of the rights and skills of Divyang children in every corner of the country.
Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) was established in May, 2012 under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment to give greater emphasis on policy issues and implementation relating to persons with disabilities. Besides administering three Acts of Parliament, the Department is providing rehabilitation services, training, education and conducting research on various disabilities through eight National Institutes spread across the country. Various Central Schemes are being run to provide support to institutions, State Governments and NGOs. Awareness Generation is a continuous process. Besides providing financial support to civil society organisations and institutions for sensitising people about the rights and entitlements of persons with disabilities; the Government confers National Awards every year in recognition of excellence of persons with disabilities and their organisations and also to individuals and organisations for the welfare of persons with disabilities. The RPwD-2016 has come into force on 19th April 2017. Section 29 of RPwD Act envisions the Government to promote cultural and recreational activities amongst the Persons with Disabilities.