Jammu: Jammu and Kashmir administration is contemplating to engage interpreters at all government functions to promote sign language, a senior government official said on Saturday, as the Union territory organized several functions to mark International Day for Persons with Disabilities here.
Commissioner Secretary, Social Welfare Department Sheetal Nanda said the government is taking coordinated and concerted efforts to ensure all facilities are provided to the specially abled population.
“The thought process has started and we have already decided that in order to promote sign language, we would ask for interpreters in all government functions (to make the events more accessible to the target population),” Nanda told PTI on the sidelines of a programme here.
The programme “Transformative solutions for inclusive development: the role of innovation in fuelling an accessible and equitable world” was organized by the social welfare department in support of UNICEF and ELFA international.
She said a lot of steps have been taken to make the ecosystem accessible to the people with disabilities and also provide them with whatever facilities that should be there for them.
However, she said the whole disability sector, not only in J&K but in the entire country, is at a very nascent stage. “We are taking very coordinated and concerted efforts to ensure that this sector which requires our special attention gets its due,” Nanda said.
She said there is a lot to be done for the disabled population, whether it is education, teaching, health, special homes, rehabilitation centres or skill development. “We are moving steadily into it”.
The hearing-impaired people spoke about accessibility issues in public places on stage with the assistance of interpreter Sukanya Bhan, highlighting the difficulties they face especially in hospitals, schools and government offices since they are unable to communicate with the hearing world.
“Whenever a disabled person goes to work somewhere, it is said that you should have kept him at home and done the work yourself. But no, we need the disabled population to come out with their problems and work on solutions, not just tell them to stay at home,” disability rights activist Sandhya Dhar said.
The panel discussion included Commissioner for Persons with Disability Iqbal Lone, Disability rights activist and interpreter Sukanya Bhan, Dhar and Sub-Judge Prem Sagar.
“The government is preparing data of children with disabilities within the age group of 6-18 to ensure early assistance to them,” Lone said.