PANAJI: The National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) on Saturday welcomed Goa CM Dr Pramod Sawant’s call to disabled people to join politics terming it a decisive step forward in empowerment their empowerment, and a happy validation of its continued campaign with political parties to mainstream disability in political discourses.
In an address at the Purple Think Tank hosted by NCPEDP in partnership with the International Purple Fest, Goa’s Chief Minister, Dr Sawant emphasized that it’s high time persons with disability take leadership roles in politics. He advocated for disability reservation in politics, similar to women’s reservation.
Dr Sawant pledged support for the inclusion of persons with disabilities to align with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision for a Fit India, Skill India, and Inclusive India. Acknowledging the commendable work of NCPEDP, led by Executive Director Arman Ali, Dr Sawant underscored the need for comprehensive and well-informed sectoral growth through detailed disability data. He also encouraged people with disabilities to work together with the government to develop appropriate schemes and contribute to policy making.
Ali said, “We are indeed grateful to Dr Sawant for this plain-speak, which is one of the first in Indian politics and will ensure this discussion gets into an action mode.”
At the Purple Fest, the NCPEDP is at the forefront of driving critical discourse around disability issues by bringing together key stakeholders. Panel discussions covered topics such as Health Insurance, Assistive Technology, Disaggregated Disability Data, Political Inclusion, Education and Employment, Promoting New Leadership, Social Inclusion, and Challenges in Inclusion for Persons with Deafblindness.
Rajesh Aggarwal, IAS, Secretary, Dept. of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India, emphasized the non-negotiable importance of relevant data for fair resource allocation. He stated, “Disaggregated disability data will help us to understand the unique requirements of this segment.”
NCPEDP-Javed Abidi fellows, engaged in research work in the disability sector, shared findings and proposed necessary measures. Various disability rights organizations, including Sense India, The Society for the Empowerment of the Deafblind, Harkin Institute (USA), and Youth 4 Jobs Foundation, actively contributed to the Purple Think Tank discussions.
Ali expressed optimism about the impact of the deliberations on the discourse for disability in the future, aiming to realize the dreams of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi of a more inclusive India.
The International Purple Festival, a six-day celebration and empowerment event for persons with disabilities, commenced on January 8, 2024. This collaborative effort involved the Office of the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, the Directorate of Social Welfare (Government of Goa), and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India).