The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment organized a “National Workshop on Skill Development for Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan)”in the capital. This day long workshop was planned to provide a platform to all stakeholders including training partners, the policy makers and employers. The workshop was inaugurated by the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment and Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship was the Guest of Honour. The Secretary, DEPwD, senior officers of DEPwD, representatives from Corporate Sectors, State Governments and Empanelled Training Centres of DEPwD also participated in the workshop.
The Minister addressed the participants and said that employment is the key to empowerment. He mentioned that ‘The Right of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPwD)’, that came into force last year mandates the Government to create schemes that will promote Skill Development of Persons with Disabilities in order to enhance their scope of employability. DEPwD has launched the National Action Plan for Skill Development of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) along with the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship. DEPwD has implemented an umbrella scheme called the Scheme for Implementation of Right of Persons with Disabilities Act (SIPDA) which has a Skill Development component for PwDs.
The NAP has a target of imparting skill training to 90,000 PwDs this year, they have already trained 75640 PwDs since 2016-17. The implementation of the Skill Development programme for PwDs happens through multiple sources like the training Partners empanelled with the department and through its National Institutes, their Composite Regional Centres and also through National Handicapped Finance & Development Corporation (NHFDC).
He said that till Date, 258 training partners spread across 28 States and 1 UT have been empanelled with DEPwD for imparting skill training to PwDs comprising of 26 Government Organizations and 232 Non-Government Organizations. During the last 4 years about 1.4 lakh PwDs have been imparted skill training under the Skill Development /Vocation Training program of the Department.
In his keynote address, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan said that so far as the Emerging challenges are concerned, creating adequate avenues of employment is a challenge we are trying to address for effective implementation of the skill development program by creating more and more industry linkages. He assured full help and cooperation of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas and the Ministry of Skill development and Entrepreneurship for the betterment of the lives of the Persons with Disabilities. He mentioned that there is separate Sector Skill Council which has been created to ensure seamless planning and implementation of skill development for PwDs with all the compassion, commitment of MSDE. MSDE has trained more than 51,000 PwDs under Skill India’s flagship scheme of Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana (PMKVY).
Shri Gehlot also said that Persons with Disabilities are one of the most marginalized segments in the society. Most of them do not have access to education, training and thus remains deprived of gainful employment. Every category of Disability has unique ability. Similarly, different regions/areas in the country have different market demand. Each industry/corporate has its own requirement, for example, the requirement of apparel industry and retail sector would be entirely different. Bringing a synergy among all these 3 components i.e. ability of a particular category of PwD, Local market demand and industry requirement is also a challenge while devising course curriculum for PwDs.
Smt. Shakuntala D. Gamlin in her address said that economic empowerment is one of the key element of independent living and it comes through gainful wage employment or through self-employment. With a view to create a society inclusive of Persons with Disabilities, it is imperative to develop schemes and programs to enhance skills of Persons with Disabilities to enable them to meet job requirements.
The Workshop dwelt upon all the issues involved in the skill development for Persons with disabilities and come out with workable solution in identifying core areas for skill development in the context of PwDs, mechanism for appropriate mapping of categories of Disabilities viz. a viz. industrial requirement and also promoting positive attitude in the private sector to consider PwDs as one of their valuable workforce. Apart from the Inaugural Session, the Workshop had three technical sessions and an Interactive session.
According to census 2011, there are 26.8 million Persons with Disabilities in India, which constitutes 2.21% of our population. These include Persons with Hearing Disability, Locomotor Disability, Visual Disability, Speech Disability, Intellectual Disability, Mental Illness, Multiple Disabilities and other unspecified categories of Disabilities.
India is a signatory to the UNCRPD which came into the effect from May 2018. The Government of India has enacted the RPwD act which came into force from 19.04.2017 and is aligned with the spirit of the UNCRDP.