BHUBANESWAR: The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) has directed the Odisha Government to establish a Department of Disabilities Studies (DDS) in all State Universities to prepare professionals in the field of rehabilitation and special education.
At a recent review meeting with the State officials, the Chief Commissioner has suggested to open the DDS or a study centre in at least one university, if not possible in all varsities as of now, to impart professional education to candidates interested in disabilities studies.
“The Government should establish a training institute to produce special educators in the State to provide and promote inclusive education to differently-abled children with special needs,” Chief Commissioner Dr Kamlesh Kumar Pandey advised.
Though the Odisha Government has appointed a full time Commissioner, some important activities like district review, monitoring of funds disbursed by the Government and mobile courts by the State Commissioner are affected due to shortage of staff.
Suggesting that now, as per Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, the State Advisory Committee needs to be constituted in place of the State Coordination Committee, Pandey observed that there is an urgent need to strengthen the office of the State Commissioner by appointing one Deputy Commissioner, Legal Officer and other staff.
Since disability certificate is an important document for PwDs to avail the benefits of schemes and facilities being provided by the Government, the State Commissioner has been urged to liaison with the Health Department to facilitate issuance of disability certificate to eligible persons as it is necessary to get unique disabilities identification card. So far, around 60 per cent certificates have been issued in the State.
Apart from asking to make speedy efforts to clear backlog vacancies with maintenance of rosters, the Chief Commissioner advised the State Government to conduct a special recruitment drive for filling the vacant posts.
The State Government also needs to generate awareness about different aspects of persons with disabilities, various schemes run by the Central and State Governments, their rights, educational opportunities and skill development up to panchayat level, he insisted.
The Odisha Government has also been recommended to hike the amount of disability pension, establish eye-bank in all five medical colleges, implement more schemes for rehabilitation of differently-abled persons and formulate a policy for cochlear implantation for children with hearing impairment as implemented by other State Governments.