Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot, the Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment attended the 23rdRehabilitation International World Congress at Edinburgh, Scotland, being held from 25-27 October, 2016. The Theme of the Congress is, “Create a More Inclusive World“. The Congress is being attended by more than 1000 delegates from 65 countries. Her Royal Highness, The Princess Royal is the Patron of this Congress. The First Minister for Scotland, Rt. Hon Nicola Sturgeon, delegates from China, Great Britain, Germany and other countries attended the Congress. The Minister of SJ&E Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot met Her Royal Highness, the Princess Royal and briefed her about the initiatives of the Government of India in the disability sector. In the VIP Reception of Ministers, the Minister of SJ&E thanked the Rehabilitation International and Shaw Trust for organizing this Conference.
While addressing the Congress on 25th October, 2016, the Minister for SJ&E enumerated that “the Prime Minister of India has put the issues of Persons with Disabilities in the centre stage of the National Developmental Agenda, since his motto is inclusive development “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas”. It is a matter of great pride for our sector that he spent his birthday this year with a record number of more than 11,000 Persons with Disabilities and their families. He is of the view that the Persons with Disabilities can excel as much as others and can contribute to our society and economy. We believe that persons with disabilities are a great human resource and asset for social and economic development. We also believe our policies and programmes should be proactive so that they can integrate with the mainstream with the financial, educational and skill-based support. Inclusion should also mean beyond access to physical environment i.e. social and psychological, cultural and political. Helping Persons with Disabilities to realise their full potential and to make them live a life of dignity, independence and satisfaction should be our strategy. The Government has renamed Persons with Disabilities as ‘Divangjan’ for their development.”
He further reiterated that, “India remains committed to building an enabling environment for Divyangjan in all possible ways. From this platform, I wish to convey my nation’s strong message to the international community, and especially the Civil Societies that the movement for creating an inclusive world needs to be intensified. The World community should speak in one voice, and strongly too, against all kinds of discrimination. Positive attitude and independent living, education and employment should be considered as the key factors for their empowerment and inclusion. International support should be extended to those nations and societies requiring a big push. I sincerely hope that this Congress will chalk out a clear roadmap with specific policy interventions for making the world more pleasant, fulfilling and enlightening for persons with disabilities. We wish that the aim of Indian saying “Vasudhaiv Kutumbakam” that is the World is One Family, is achieved through our exercise.”