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Alyte will ferry passengers in an emergency for free including senior citizens, pregnant women, disabled individuals among others if they can't find transport during the lockdown.
Mahindra Logistics' mobility business Alyte has expanded its emergency cab services across multiple cities in the country, during the coronavirus lockdown. Alyte will provide its services for free through a dedicated fleet that will focus on senior citizens, disabled individuals, pregnant women, among others who can't find transport during the lockdown. They can avail the free cab ride for essential services including, visit to banks, post offices, periodic medical visits and more. Alyte first started its operations in Hyderabad during the lockdown, and has expanded it in cities like Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Cochin, Pune and now even Mumbai.
The service can be availed by calling the Alyte helpline. You can also connect with the local police and avail of this facility. Do remember, this only for those in need. While the state and central governments are running limited buses and three-wheelers in the cities but the services are not accessible to all corners. Moreover, with the lockdown being extended till May 3, 2020, there is little respite for those who would even want to postpone stepping outside.

In addition, Alyte will also free rides to doctors, nurses and all those working in the essential services sector at the moment. The company is working in close collaboration with the Commissioner of Police in Mumbai (North and West Zones), from Bandra to Dahisar in Mumbai, and is operable within the city limits. The company will extend its services to other regions soon. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
COVID-19 : Health care Guidelines to the Rehabilitation HomesWorld Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the recent COVID-19 epidemic affecting many countries in the world including India as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).
As people living in residential/rehabilitation homes are at higher risk for any communicable disease like COVID-19 infection, and we are all facing the unprecedented challenges of COVID-19, the in charge person of these homes are held responsible for maintaining a stable physical and mental status of the inmates. Due to the close proximity of living in residential / rehabilitation homes, special precautions are to be taken to protect both the inmates and employees of these homes. World health organization (WHO) has recommended the following guidelines to safeguard the residents of these homes. Those guidelines are as follows:

Maintenance of high standard of hygiene and sanitation.
Physical Distancing in the rehabilitation homes
Assessment of Health Status
Prospective Surveillance for employees should be established
Prospective Surveillance for visitors should be established
Source control (Care for COVID-19 patients and prevention of onward transmission)
Monitoring of elderly people
Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection.
Restriction of Movement / Transport
Support Health Care Workers and Care Givers
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Political and cultural attitudes to tackling coronavirus forget those who are already isolated due to age, disability and illness.Madeline Williams, a former secondary school teacher, can barely make it from her bed to the sofa. Some days, she has to crawl. She lives with symptoms of a condition known as dysautonomia trifecta, which causes severe dizziness and unstable joints. Before she fell ill, she says, her “students were my world”. She finds the “loss of autonomy” worse than the pain she experiences from her condition.
The news is rife with stories of isolation at the moment. The jaunty ableism of newspaper columnists (“Self-isolation sounds like heaven” ) is fading into fear, as we realise that we can’t dress isolation up as an artistic retreat. Not hugging another person for weeks is grim. Leaving the house only at rare and restricted times is frightening. It’s a life that housebound and disabled people have experienced, invisibly, for decades.
Except that it isn’t really what housebound and disabled people have experienced. Because the experience of healthy people self-isolating for a few weeks is not comparable to the abuse, disbelief and financial punishment many chronically ill people face while cut off from society.
In a press briefing on the 8 April, Rishi Sunak called the coronavirus “indiscriminate” in who it attacks. But many people with disabilities now also face death, as the lockdown obliterates already grossly underfunded social care. The inequalities of regular society are reproduced in the world of Covid-19, subjecting disabled people to even worse outcomes than before.
Anna Tyler, chair of the board of trustees for Vision Foundation, tells me about a deaf-blind woman who, after testing positive for Covid-19, was refused care. “She needed to see a GP, but there was no interpreter available, because it’s a tactile occupation,” she says. “So this woman had no access to health services. The GP just said, ‘Sorry, can’t help.’”
Jon Abrams, campaigns and justice officer for Inclusion London, tells me that disabled people are struggling to get food. Many who relied on online food deliveries for years are now unable to get slots. “Unless you’re on the medically high-risk government register, it’s very hard to get priority registration”, he says. “But what if you’re visually impaired? Trying to navigate a supermarket and social distancing puts you at risk.”
Abrams tells me about people who need assistance with eating, washing and dressing now losing their carers due to the government’s call to self-isolate.“We’re beginning to see gruesome reports on the lack of personal protective equipment going to carers and disabled people. But if you need help washing and eating, which is close-contact, you don’t have any choice. You can’t avoid the risk”.
It’s clear, as the virus increases its grip, that the government has not envisioned a world in which people can’t leave their houses and go to the supermarket once a week. It has not considered situations in which people rely on daily carers for the basics of life, and that those carers need protective equipment to halt the spread of the disease.
“This idea that we’re protecting the vulnerable is utter nonsense,” says Tyler. “The shutdown of services has put disabled people at even greater peril.”
She tells me about disabled people who have now lost their only contact with the world – a phone call with a volunteer once a week. About blind people who, instead of their usual services, are getting letters from the council which they can’t read, telling them to call a number which is permanently engaged. She speaks of older, disabled people, with no access to the internet, who are relying only on old-style radios and televisions for company.
“If they press the wrong button, or the tuning gets messed up, there’s no one to come round and fix it,” she says. “So what do they do instead? They sit at home, and they rot. They’re condemned to weeks of silence.”
Tyler is afraid, she says, because the disabled people who will suffer the most from the shutdown of services are the ones with the least recourse to complain afterwards (if they survive). She recalls the doctor who told her, as a partially sighted woman, “With your eyesight, it’s better not to live too long”, and she wonders: who decides the value of a disabled person’s life, if they’re hospitalised with Covid-19?
The speed at which we’ve moved whole cultures online in the Covid-19 crisis is astonishing, and frustrating for the disabled people who have routinely been denied such accommodations. Online book clubs, churches and pubs are springing up, attempting to alleviate the loneliness of people stuck inside. Within hours of the government’s call for social distancing, companies moved meetings and communications to Skype and Zoom.
“Why does it take a whole nation to be in lockdown for these things to happen?” asks Chris Nixon. A former social worker, she’s been mainly housebound with chronic illness for 15 years. “Are the chronically ill and housebound not deserving of these things in their own right?”
Jenny Rowbory, a poet and blogger who has experienced symptoms of ME and Ehlers Danlos syndrome for 15 years, echoes this. “All the things that I haven’t had access to while bed-bound are suddenly magically possible now that abled people want them.
“Plays are available for streaming online. Universal Pictures are making cinema releases to watch at home. It’s upsetting, because before coronavirus, there was already a whole population of people who needed these things.”
There’s a flood of advice on surviving lockdown at the moment, from everyone from astronauts to psychologists, and people who have had a week alone in their flat. Yet very few of us can imagine real isolation.
“I’m invisible, behind closed doors. I’m incarcerated in my own body,” says Nikki Clarke, who fell ill with an unnamed neurological condition thought to be genetic, when she was a student at Central Saint Martin’s in London.
“This government has taken so much away from disabled people. You’re made to feel redundant. So many sick and disabled people have been driven to suicide, or had their conditions worsened from stress.”
We’re missing the crucial voices of the elderly and those isolated through chronic and mental illness – many of whom have lived a solitary life for far longer than a few weeks – with only the television to substitute as a human voice.
“Now that everyone else is in this situation, I’m not noticing any consultation with disabled people,” observes Tanya Marlow, author of Those Who Wait, who has only been able to go out every two weeks in a wheelchair for a decade.
“Imagine that society is this great, walled city which disabled and chronically ill people are shut out of. We’ve had to make our own temporary lodgings outside. Now, the people who’ve said, repeatedly, ‘No we can’t bring our services into your tent’ have now flooded our tent. They’re taking over the organisation of it, and ignoring the expertise of the people who live there.”
“When Boris Johnson introduced herd immunity, to people like us, it felt like culling”, says Clarke. “I called it the ‘culling phase’. And there’s this collective fear among people with disabilities about whether we’ll get the care we need in hospital. It felt like we were dispensable – but no life is dispensable.”
“Later this year, most people will walk away from social isolation,” adds Williams. “I won’t. So many others won’t. I’m guessing that, at the moment, most of the world is anxious to return to their life. I plead that the world remembers that some of us have felt that same ache for years and decades. This isolation will never be over for us.”

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The difficulties faced by people who are deaf and hard of hearing in communicating with the world around them translates to acute isolation and discrimination. A scenario that LetsTalkSign, developed by Indian start-up DeepVisionTech.AI aims to change. Find out how.
Be it early education or at the workplace, the communication barriers faced by deaf and hard of hearing people are immense. What it translates into is acute isolation at every stage.
Consider this. Of the estimated 20 lakh deaf children in India, only 12 lakh attend basic schooling. Rest either drop out or have no access to education. Those who do attend deaf schools don’t have access to quality education or are denied access to sign language, restricting development.

LetsTalkSign aims to end social isolation faced by deaf
Indian start-up DeepVisionTech.AI aims to change this with LetsTalkSign, an artificial intelligence-powered solution that enables easy two-way communication for people with hearing or speech impairments.

DeepVisionTech.AI Founder-CEO Jayasudan Munsamy started LetsTalkSign as a project to assimilate his understanding of Machine Learning/Deep Learning. As he dug deeper, he was surprised by the lack of affordable solutions for the deaf and hard of hearing community.
I realised how LetsTalkSign can help change lives of millions of hearing impaired and took it upon as a challenge to build it as a solution. Since then I have made good progress – researching on technology choices, building a solution that can be easily used by anyone, making the solution affordable to everyone, optimising the solution for various devices, improving the performance of the solution to make it interpret in real-time on any device and patenting the solution. – Jayasudan Munsamy, Founder-CEO, DeepVisionTech.AI

Two-way communication that offers many firsts
LetsTalkSign enables easy two-way communication between people with hearing or speech impairments using sign language with others who don’t know sign language. Jayasudan says the design takes into account:
Ease of use and affordability to enable regular use.
Support of mobile devices across platforms and devices with camera and web browser capabilities.
Interpretation on the device without cellular network or internet connection.
Interpretations, real-time and offline.
Can be scaled and customised to translate any sign language across industries.
Enables in-person conversation and online multi-user conversations.
“We believe that our patented solution will revolutionise the way people communicate with the hearing and speech impaired community”, adds Jayasudan. Currently his team is focusing on India.
“We are working on a couple of pilot implementations as of now and other functionalities development are work in progress. Our primary target is India and hence LetsTalkSign interprets Indian Sign Language promoted by the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC). Since we use Deep Learning technology, it’s easy to extend to any other sign language”. Talks are on to extend to American Sign Language as well.
LetsTalkSign needs no extra hardware
What makes LetsTalkSign such a unique and complete platform is that it is the first to provide two-way communication without additional hardware like instrumented gloves or gesture-capturing devices, etc to convert sign language to text. There are not many that work on real-time either or support multiple languages.
The initial feedback from the deaf and hard of hearing community has been positive. One user praised the “innovative use of AI”, calling this much needed. Another user praised the easy usage on mobile phones.

Clearly, LetsTalkSign has all the makings of a game changer for the deaf community.
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For over 100 years, Braille has been helping the people who are blind and low vision to read and communicate. Google wants to help the visually impaired community use Braille on their smartphones as well. To make this happen, Google has launched a Braille keyboard named TalkBack.

For disabled people, tech is a great equaliser and Google‘s latest offering is a step in that direction. Called TalkBack, Google has launched a virtual braille keyboard for people with vision impairments.
What TalkBack does is divide the user’s screen into six zones, with each zone representing one of the six dots that are used to represent different letters, numbers and characters in the braille alphabet. By touching the six zones in different combinations, blind and low vision Android users can put the braille to work. It will let them type in a format they are comfortable with.

Today, braille displays make typing accessible on most phones and computers through a physical braille keyboard. But it can be time-consuming to connect an external device each time you want to type something quickly on your phone. TalkBack braille keyboard is a new virtual braille keyboard integrated directly into Android. It’s a fast, convenient way to type on your phone without any additional hardware, whether you’re posting on social media, responding to a text, or writing a brief email. – Brian Kemler, Product Manager, Android Accessibility, Google

TalkBack works across all apps on Android devices
TalkBack is currently available in English only and is on all devices running Android 5.0 or later. Apart from normal typing, the keyboard also lets users delete letters and words, add lines, and submit text
You can turn it on and off the same way you switch between different international keyboards. “As part of our mission to make the world’s information universally accessible, we hope this keyboard can broadly expand braille literacy and exposure among blind and low vision people,” added Kemler.
The virtual Braille keyboard can be integrated directly into Android. “Our team collaborated with braille developers and users throughout the development of this feature, so it’ll be familiar to anyone who has typed using braille before. It uses a standard 6-key layout and each key represents one of 6 braille dots which, when tapped, make any letter or symbol. To type an “A” you would press dot 1 and to type a “B,” dots 1 and 2 together”, said Kemler in the Google press release.

How to use TalkBack
To set up TalkBack on Google’s Braille keyboard, these are the steps:
Go to the Accessibility section under the Settings option.
Choose Braille keyboard.
Select ‘Tap to set up’.
In the dialogue, select Settings.
Turn on TalkBack Braille keyboard. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window

Many disabled people are unable to attend regular physiotherapy sessions due to the lockdown. The Commissionerate for Welfare of the Differently-Abled in Chennai has instructed the Tamil Nadu state Physiotherapy Council to provide e-physiotherapy sessions for disabled people in the state. The team has already got 500 calls since the past four days. They hope that more disabled people can avail the services that are free of cost.
The lockdown period has affected disabled people in different ways. Most of them are stuck indoors with lack of jobs or accessible transport to go outdoors. In Tamil Nadu, there are thousands of people with disabilities who should be attending regular physiotherapy sessions. Ever since the lockdown, they find it difficult to undergo the sessions. Good news is that e-physiotherapy sessions are now available across the state.
A welcome move
The Commissionerate for Welfare of the Differently-Abled in Chennai has instructed the Tamil Nadu state Physiotherapy Council to appoint district coordinators across the state. They will conduct online sessions for physiotherapy during this lockdown period.
So disabled people, who needs to undergo the sessions, can take them through video calls. The process is easy and hassle free. Moreover, services are free of cost. The state government has appointed over 30 coordinators from various districts for this. All of them will ensure to provide the best services to people with disabilities in the state who needs regular physiotherapy sessions.
A much needed service
Physiotherapies are inevitable for certain types of disabilities as it enhances better body movements. Interruption of the sessions can affect the body in many ways. During this lockdown period, people are unable to go to hospitals or clinics to attend physiotherapy.
“These sessions need continuity. If it gets interrupted, it can lead to various health problems. As physiotherapists, we need to break the discomfort and we are doing it through Skype, WhatsApp etc. We started the sessions almost four days back and the response has been great”, says Rajesh Kanna, Coordinator for Coimbatore district.
Reportedly, the team has got over 500 calls from across Tamil Nadu. Most number of calls are being made from Chennai and Coimbatore. “More people must be aware of such a service. We are trying to reach a wider audience”, says Rajesh.
Apart from hearing, speech impaired and mental disabilities, the team will cater to physiotherapy needs for people with all other kinds of disabilities.

State Coordinators:
Physiotherapist                   Role                                  Contact Number
Dr B.Murugan PT               President                                 9444255685
Dr S.Krishnaswamy PT      Vice-President                          9840143324
Dr.B.S.Desikamani PT        Member                                    9500013573
Dr.Nagarani PT                   Member                                     9894637027
Dr.Aruna PT                        Member                                     9840124008
Dr. karthikeyan PT               Member                                     9842769790
Dr. M. Senthilkumar PT       Member                                      9842786746
Dr. P.Senthilselvam             Member                                      9444309160

District Coordinators
District                     Physiotherapist                     Contact Number
Chennai                  Dr.Hamsa Raj                          9840243534
Chennai                  Dr.Jagadeesan PT                    9500200345
Chennai                  Dr.B.William stanely                  9500001620
Chennai                  Dr.Vigneshwaren PT                 9884576007
Chennai                  Dr.Ajithkumar PT                       9994175437
Chennai                  Dr.Prakash                                9884987336
Tiruvallur                 Dr.Churchill PT                          9994606140
Kanchipuram          Dr.Senthil Natrajan PT               7010340650
Villupuram              Dr.Lakshmivasan PT                  9843699889
Kallakurichi            Dr.Kalimuthu PT                         9731755631
Vellore                   Dr.Selvin James PT                    9994437109
Ranipet                  Dr.Amardeep P                          9894661381
Tirupattur               Dr.Siva subramani PT                9894411832
Tirupattur               Dr.L.Prithivirajan PT                   9443489600
Tiruvanamalai        Dr.Madan PT                              9566376777
Cuddalore              Dr.Shankaran PT                        9443275249
Thanjavur               Dr.Lakshmikanth PT                   9443150939
Trichy                     Dr.Balachandar pt                       9842449912
Trichy                     Dr.R.Srinivasan                           9488604868
Pudukkottai            Dr. Prabhakar doss pt                 9894855100
Ariyalur                   Dr. Sumathi pt                             9443807475
Perambalur             Dr. John franklin pt                      9787938044
Salem                     Dr.Rajan samuvel pt                   9362128860
Salem                     Dr.Ramaya senthilkumar pt        9842672343
Salem                     Dr. Dhandapani pt                       9842746512
Salem                     Dr. Sam thumbraj p                     9003598038
Salem                     Dr. Arulkumar p                            7010360493
Tirunellveli              Dr.Seladuraipandiyan pt               9443113526
Kannyaikumari       Dr. Basil pt                                    9994666916
Madurai                  Dr.S.Nova pt                                 6380570525
Madurai                  Dr. Krishna kumar p                      9843558158
Madurai                  Dr. Selvanderan p                         8883150006
Madurai                  Dr.Karthick pandiy                         9843043238
Karur                      Dr. Bharath pt                                9443271123
Tiruvarur                Dr.Raja pt                                       9698765775
Dharmapuri           Dr. Baskar pt                                   9443271123
Coimbatore           Dr. Franklin shaju pt                        9843671222
Coimbatore           Dr.B. Raja selvakumar pt                 9043796777
Coimbatore           Dr. Rajesh kanna pt                         7200300032
Erode                    Dr.O.N.Sudhakar pt                         9842904233
Krishnagiri             Dr. John titus pt                               9894545481
Namakkal              Dr. Anandan pt                                 9942306977
Nialagiri                 Dr. Renuka pt                                   8778482821
Tiruppur                 Dr. Vijaya perumal pt                       9843996890
Dindigul                  Dr. Shyam sundar                           9894046765
Ramanathapuram  Dr.Bala pt                                        9943339999
Ramanathapuram Dr. Vimal pt                                      7558118917
Sivagangai            Dr. Vel murugan pt                          9843290305
Theni                     Dr.Deepak raj pt                             8056644339
Thoothukudi          Dr. Nazeer pt                                  9894344753 
Thoothukudi          Dr.Babu pt                                      8754372679
Thoothukudi          Dr. Daniel pt                                   7373706003   
Virudhunagar        Dr. Nagarajan pt                             9994544429
Virudhunagar        Dr.C.David Premkumar PT              8610027018
Tenkasi                  Dr.Poosai pandi P                          8144444994
Chengalpattu         Dr. Jeevanandam PT                     9787642536
Chengalpattu         Dr. Santhosh kanna PT                 9840773284
Nagapattinam        Dr.Jimmy cotton PT                       9842497633
Puducherry            Dr Mohan raj PT                            9443007944 Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
In many cities across India, NGOs and state government agencies have set up helplines and delivery services for disabled people during the coronavirus lockdown. We have put together a list for you and this will be updated on a regular basis. If you would like to add to this list, email
Before we get to the list of private organisations who are helping the disabled community get medicines, groceries and other essential supplies at the doorstep, here is a link to the government helplines set up across different states. You can access these numbers if you wish to reach out to government officials for help.

Project Mumbai – Free delivery of groceries/packed food/medicines.
For groceries/packed food:

Call – +91-98795 08404. WhatsApp – +91 96533 30712

For medicines:

Call – +91 9992999929

Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled – Reach out for basic groceries and mask kits.

Naveen – +91 94498-64786
Sunil – +91 94498-64691
KickStart Cabs and Big Bazaar are partnering to deliver groceries and vegetables to people’s homes. WhatsApp your grocery list to +91 81056-00445

The Tamil Nadu government has set up two helplines for disabled people to call with queries and requests for supplies.
Dial toll free at 1-800-425-0111.

For WhatsApp and Video Calling: +91 97007-99993. Sign language interpretation facility available.

For a list of grocery stories that are delivering to homes, click this link

Many grocery stores in Coimbatore are delivering essential supplies to homes. Click this link

Helpline service for deaf and hard of hearing people – +91-98881-76357

We will keep updating this list. If you know of organisations or individuals helping the disabled community during this lockdown, email us at Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Coronavirus deaths in the United States have hit a record high with 1,480 people dead on one single day between Thursday and Friday. This is them most any country has seen since the pandemic began. Given the critical scenario, EyeTech Digital Systems has launched EyeOn LifeLine, a potentially life-saving eye tracking communication tablet for hospital emergency rooms and ICUs.
To enable doctors, nurses and caregivers to communicate easily and quickly with critical coronavirus or COVID-19 patients, EyeTech Digital Systems, a leader in eye-tracking for health, has launched EyeOn LifeLine for use in hospitals across the United States.
EyeOn LifeLIne is a potentially life-saving eye tracking communication tablet for hospital emergency rooms and ICUs and can be used to communicate with patients who are unable to speak while confined to their hospital beds.
EyeOn helps patients with severe disabilities to communicate
A self-calibrating augmented and alternative communication device (AAC), EyeOn was launched in the US earlier this year for people with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, spinal cord injuries, Rett Syndrome, traumatic brain injuries or stroke and for people on the autism spectrum. The device was modified to create EyeOn LifeLine. This was to enable COVID-19 patients to communicate critical needs to their healthcare workers while intubated or using a ventilator or respirator.
As a long-time eye-gaze user with hand disabilities, I was devastated to see doctors and nurses not being able to communicate with ICU patients under a ventilator. If we can save one life, it will be a huge contribution. – Robert Chappell, EyeTech CEO
Portable, simple to use
The stand-mounted tablet faces the patient who simply looks at word squares to express pain level or a request. The tablet voices it through speakers for nurses and doctors. EyeOn LifeLine is ultra-portable so it can be utilised with multiple patients to improve patient outcomes.
“I just wish we had enough units to serve all the ICUs around the country”, adds Chappell. “We are also donating $500 per unit to the American Nurses Foundation to express our heartfelt supports thousands of global users across medical, research and augmentative and alternative communication channels, support to those fighting this pandemic on the frontlines.”
EyeTech is a global leader in health AI for more than 20 years. It supports thousands of global users across medical, research and augmentative and alternative communication channels. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
People with disabilities are struggling for basic needs says the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), which has set up helpline numbers and an email where people can reach out for help. Shakuntala Gamlin, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Person with Disabilities, Government of India has also written to disability commissioners in all states and union territories urging them to implement the Centre’s disability inclusive guidelines for the safety of the community.
“I need lifesaving drug clotting Factor VIII injections other products. I have a severe genetic bleeding disorder and am a person with disability. I have no money. Please help.”
This cry for help on WhatsApp from Prabhjot Singh from Ludhiana, Punjab is just one of the many distress messages flooding helpline numbers. Prabhjot has Thalassemia, a blood disorder and patients like him are among the worst hit after the COVID-19 outbreak. There is limited blood available and many private hospitals have stopped delivery of services. This makes the situation worse for people without private transport.

The disability inclusive guidelines issued by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPWD) directing states to ensure the safety of disabled people during the 21-day lockdown are fairly comprehensive but there are issues on the ground.

Lapses in implementation
Take Maharashtra for instance. Though the Social Welfare Ministry announced that ration for persons with disabilities will be delivered at home, this has not been taken up in an urgent manner by the state government. Caregivers need passes to collect benefits on behalf of disabled people, but these are not being issued. The extra pension of ₹ 1,000 announced by the Finance Minister in the COVID-19 economic package has not been made available either.
Taking note of these lapses, Shakuntala Gamlin, Secretary, DePWD, sent a mail on 31 March to disability commissioners across all states to take the necessary steps on an immediate basis. In her letter, Ms Gamlin said:
This office has been receiving complaints regarding difficulties faced by PwDs in getting services of caregivers, maids and access to essential items due to non-issue of travel passes to NGOs/caregivers/PwD Associations, etc. You are requested to tie up with concerned authorities to streamline issue of local travel there is no delay in providing necessary support to Divyangjan. – Shakuntala Gamlin, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Person with Disabilities, Government of India
One of the key reasons for such lapses is that many states are yet to appoint disability commissioners. Some states like Goa have been proactive and appointed a nodal officer to meet the disabled community’s needs. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are also showing great initiative. “We are attending to all the requests that come our way”, said V S Basavaraju, Karnataka Disability Commissioner. “There are many challenges in tracking down the community as many people don’t even have a phone from where they can call us”.

 Proactive steps by some states
Along with Assam, Karnataka has also developed videos and circulated information on COVID-19 through social media platforms. This has been made available in sign language as well. Uttarakhand has facilitated easy movement of caregivers, as well as help required by persons with disabilities in terms of food, medicines or counselling. Separate helpline numbers have been set up for disabled persons in Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra. Jharkhand and Delhi governments have issued special e-passes specific for disabled people. For hearing impaired people Tamil Nadu, Punjab and Karnataka have set up video conferencing facilities with sign language interpreters. Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have also implemented the Centre’s order exempting disabled employees from the attending essential services within their ministries or government departments.
This needs to become more widespread, points out Arman Ali, Executive Director, NCPEDP. “Persons with disabilities are in all the 28 states, not just the few that are taking proactive steps. The fundamental right to life and dignity cannot be dispensed with even in a medical emergency. People with disabilities are not a homogenous, distinct group – they are to be found in every strata of society and in every aspect of life and they need to be enabled during this pandemic”.

Any disabled person needing assistance can reach the NCPEDP at +91-73039 44839. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Literary agent and debut author James Catchpole has penned a disability-themed picture book based on his own childhood experiences. The world rights of the book is now bought from the Oxford-based author by Alice Swan, Faber Children’s editorial director, according to The Bookseller.

Titled 'What Happened to You??', the book is illustrated by Karen George. It is about one-legged Joe, a boy who simply wants to play with others but he is fed up with constantly being asked about his disability. Slowly the other children notice that Joe doesn't want to answer the question. They also realise that they can play and have fun together if they stop asking about his missing leg.

Faber Children's announced about the new book on March 31 on social media. "We are so thrilled to announce the publication of James Catchpole's groundbreaking picture book 'What Happened to You?' illustrated by Karen George and out on 6th August!," they posted.

Talking about penning this book, Catchpole said, according to The Bookseller, “There’s a real need for books that genuinely reflect a disabled person’s perspective, for both disabled and able-bodied readers. I hope my book can give an insider’s perspective and speak to the experience of being a visibly disabled child. The reality for those children is often that of continually being made to feel different from everyone else, by the question ‘What happened to you?’”

'What Happened to You?' will release in August 2020 Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami recently announced setting aside funds for various development projects of people with mental disabilities, muscular dystrophy and hearing impairment. Disability rights groups in the state welcomes this latest move. But they also point out that there is a long way to go when it comes to creating an inclusive environment.
Amidst all the Coronavirus scare, here is some good news for people with disabilities in Tamil Nadu. The state government, under the leadership of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, has announced a huge amount to be set aside for schemes for development of disabled people.
On Monday, Palaniswami announced that Rs 10 crore will allotted for treatment of people with mental disabilities, those with muscular dystrophy and hearing impaired as well. Funds are allotted from the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Medical Insurance Scheme. Disability rights groups in the state have mixed reviews about this latest announcement.

Reaching out to the disabled community

Palaniswami further added that the state government will allot 1.31 acres of land to construct a high-school for hearing-impaired children in the state. An amount of over Rs 6 crore will be set aside for this.
A new differently-abled women and children compensation scheme will be introduced for welfare of disabled women and children who are sexual assault survivors.
He further added that Rs 24.25 crore will be set aside for construction of modern classrooms, community halls, vocational training centres, hostels for women and purchase of computers and other technology. The latest initiative is indeed remarkable. But the disabled community will have to wait and see how well this is going to be implemented. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
In addition to taking care of equipment like Wheelchair, Crutches, Assistive Devices and etc., be sure to also take care of you! Wash your hands often, for at least 20 seconds, especially before and after cleaning equipment, as well as anytime you arrive back at your home after being outside.
The Coronavirus: What to do if you’re in a wheelchair or using Crutches article help to you.

Protect Yourself
Clean your hands regularly.
Wash your hands with soap and water, and dry them thoroughly.
Use alcohol-based handrub if you don’t have immediate access to soap and water.

How do I wash my hands properly?

Step : 1

Wet hands with water
Step : 2

Apply enough soap to cover all hand surfaces
Step : 3

Rub hands palm to palm
Step : 4

Right palm over left dorsum with interlaced fingers and vice versa
Step : 5

Palm to plam with fingers interlaced 
Step : 6

Backs of fingers to opposing palms with fingers interlocked
Step : 7

Rotational rubbing of left thumb clasped in right palm and vice versa
Step : 8

Rotational rubbing, backwards and forwards with clasped fingers of right hand in left palm and vice versa.
Step : 9

Rinse hands with water
Step : 10

Dry thoroughly with a single use towel
Step : 11

Use towel to turn off faucet

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A nationwide challenge to empower disabled people has been announced by Microsoft India and NASSCOM Foundation. This is in partnership with the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Department of Science & Technology (DST), Ministry of Science and Technology and National Research and Education Network (ERNET).

It’s called Innovate for Accessible India and it is nationwide innovation challenge that aims to empower people with disabilities with the technology and tools needed to integrate better in society as well as access opportunities on an equal footing. The initiative has been launched by Microsoft India and NASSCOM Foundation.

Innovate for Accessible India will be an aggregator of workable technology solutions developed using Microsoft Cloud, Artificial Intelligence and other technologies that address gaps faced by disabled people. The focus is on services and support in education, skill building, employment, mobility, rehabilitation and other government services.

Pan-India innovation challenge on assistive tech

Applications will be invited from students, citizens and social impact organisations to build customised solutions that address challenges faced by people with disabilities. This is across the 21 disabilities officially recognised under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act. Developers will be encouraged to focus on areas that include mobility, e-governance and access, education, skilling and livelihood and health. Ideas can be sent to before 15 April 2020.

With over a billion people around the world living with some form of disability, it is critical that we find new ways to use technology to enable everyone to fully participate in the socio-economic environment around us. Innovate for Accessible India presents an amazing opportunity to bring new ideas for building an inclusive future. We are very excited to partner on this effort and look forward to some ground-breaking ideas. – Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India.

Applications will be screened by a jury made up of subject matter experts in cross-city pitch sessions. Ten ideas will be selected as the winning innovations. This will be followed by a six-month screening process and finalists will be supported for another six months to roll out their solutions in the market.

10 best solutions to get support

The 10 best solutions that address key challenges faced by people with disabilities will be provided mentoring support by Microsoft and NASSCOM Foundation, along with grants to develop and scale their solution. The winning innovations stand to win a grant of ₹ 10 lakh each. There will also be pilot testing with a group of more than 25 beneficiaries and a grant of ₹ 5 lakh each in the early stage category with a working prototype to be tested by less than 25 people.

Calling these exciting times where innovative tech solutions can make the world a better place for disabled people, Ashok Pamidi, CEO, NASSCOM Foundation, said, “We may soon be able to replace braille dots with electrostatic charges allowing the visually impaired to use touch screen smartphones; facial recognition software coupled with home assistants may now help reveal who else is in the room; sounds and vibrations may be used to tell if there is danger ahead and with IoT, the objects may soon be able to describe themselves. With Innovate for an Accessible India, we hope to capture all possible tech-based innovations that can make the lives of people with disabilities easier”.
The initiative is being supported by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Department of Science & Technology (DST), Ministry of Science and Technology and National Research and Education Network (ERNET).

Speaking at the event, Shakuntala Gamlin, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, talked about the larger vision of the Accessible India Campaign launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and said, “the Ministry will provide guidance and awareness to the program to keep it aligned to the disability policy framework and the department’s vision to empower persons with disabilities with equal access and opportunity.” Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Shabnam Rangwala from Mumbai has been shortlisted to win a coveted humanitarian honor at the Bond International Development Awards 2020, London, UK.

Nominated for her volunteer work with disability charity MAITS, Shabnam has been helping to improve the lives of disabled people across India and Sri Lanka. She introduced a pioneering programme so that children with disabilities and their families can receive practical support in their own homes from trained staff.

“I am immensely grateful to be shortlisted for this award,” says Shabnam. “Being acknowledged for the work we do motivates us to continue our journey. Learning from the inspiring journeys of others gives us the feeling that “We are not alone.” I am honoured that my work has been recognised internationally.”Shabnam was instrumental in getting her Community Health Worker programme introduced by the Government of India in Himachal Pradesh, before it was rolled out across the whole state. She trained 35 government healthcare staff and 30 trainees from local charities, equipping them with knowledge to identify disabilities and break down taboos surrounding disability.

MAITS CEO Esther Hamilton nominated Shabnam for the award. She says: “Shabnam has tirelessly and selflessly volunteered with children with disabilities multiple times per year, travelling as far afield as Jamaica and Cambodia from her home in Mumbai. She is a powerful testament to how training can really change lives and improve the fortunes of some of the most marginalised children.”

Shabnam is joined by two other deserving finalists in this category, with the overall winner announced at an awards ceremony in London on March 23.

Now in its seventh year, the awards celebrate the exceptional work undertaken in the development sector that often goes unrecognised.  The Volunteer Award specifically honors the hidden heroes giving up their time and donating their skills, often in challenging and demanding environments.

Mike Wright, Director of Membership and Communications at Bond, says:

“The standard of entries this year has been particularly high across all award categories, which is a great reflection of the hard work and innovation currently taking place in the sector. We are particularly delighted to be honoring such a diverse range of volunteers and shining a light on these inspirational individuals and the incredible work they are doing.”The Bond International Development Awards form part of Bond Annual Conference, Europe’s biggest international development event, bringing together diverse organisations and thinkers to share ideas and discuss emerging trends in the international development and humanitarian sectors. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
ULCSS Foundation and Kozhikode Down Syndrome Trust is organizing a recruitment drive for women with Down syndrome on 11 March. Six women will be provided vocational training and they will later work at a shop run by ULCSS. Through this latest venture, organizers hope to empower women with Down syndrome and bring inclusion in the employment sector.

ULCSS Foundation and Kozhikode Down Syndrome Trust in Kerala are joining hands to host an exclusive recruitment drive for women with Down syndrome. The team are all set to hire at least six women with Down syndrome who will become a part of the ULCSS shop. Products made by these youngsters will be sold here. The organizers hope that this will be a great opportunity to make these young girls independent and also promote inclusion in employment.

An event for women with Down syndrome
21 March is celebrated as World Down Syndrome Day whereas 8 March is International Women’s Day. Organizers of the recruitment drive decided to do something to empower women with Down syndrome this month. The event drive will be held at Kozhikode on 11 March.
The Kozhikode Down syndrome trust was started in the year 2000. Now 20 years since its forming, the trust has empowered thousands of youngsters with the disability. These youngsters are provided with opportunities to bring out the best.
Dr Shaji Thomas, Founder Chairman of Kozhikode Down Syndrome Trust says that women empowerment is need of the hour.

Empowering youngsters through many activities
ULCSS is the CSR wing of Uralungal Labour Contract Cooperative Society (ULCCS). They have a craft village and they are also opening a shop where products made by women with Down syndrome will be sold. Over the years, they have empowered nearly 80 youngsters with disabilities. They are now employed in hospitals, clinics, cafes and even as lift operators. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Great news from Lucknow. On the first anniversary of its launch, the Lucknow Metro has introduced Braille smart cards for the convenience of visually impaired passengers. Called Go Smart Cards, Lucknow Metro is the first in India to launch this.

Travel in Lucknow becomes accessible and convenient for blind and low vision people! To mark the first year anniversary of its launch, the Lucknow Metro has introduced Go Smart Cards in Braille for visually impaired commuters. Lucknow is the first Metro in India to launch this service.
UP Metro Rail Corporation Managing Director Kumar Keshav confirmed the news during the formal launch of the Go Smart Cards. The Braille smart cards were distributed to some visually impaired people as well.

Go Smart cards distributed for free to visually impaired at launch

The smart cards were launched in partnership with Meet Welfare Foundation, an NGO that works for the welfare of the visually impaired community. Rohit Sharma, Founder of Meet, said the idea of Braille smart cards struck him when he saw the struggles faced by a visually impaired youth.

It took nearly eight months for Rohit to perfect the card. “A lot of teamwork went into this. I don’t know Braille and I took a lot of advice and help”.
The Braille smart cards were distributed for free to visually impaired people on the day of the launch. Lucknow Metro authorities and Rohit hope this will encourage Metro authorities in other cities to do the same.

“This achievement has already given us a lot of strength and courage to see ourselves as creating Braille smart cards in all the metropolitan cities and hopefully we will surely do this”, says Rohit, who is also working on a fresh idea to empower visually impaired people. That is to build Braille corridors. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
To build a cadre of bureaucrats who are sensitive to the issues faced by people with disabilities can be a challenge in a country as diverse as India. In a welcome step, the government of Karnataka is working actively in this regard in collaboration with the well-known NGO EnAble India.
Come March, the Karnataka government is launching a five-year programme that aims to build a cadre of bureaucrats who are sensitised to disability issues. This will include officers of the Indian Administrative Services (IAS) as well as the Karnataka Administrative Services (KAS). The programme will be conducted in partnership with EnAble India.
The EnAble Inclusion team leading the initiative will work closely with the Administrative Training Institute (ATI), Government of Karnataka. The ATI is the apex training institute of the state government and caters mainly to the needs of Grades A and B officers. There are 30 District Training Institutes (DTIs) which conduct training programmes for Groups C and D employees.

5-year partnership to start with
The partnership is for five years with an understanding that if the programmes are not completed, the training will be extended for a further five-year period. “This will be done across Karnataka for cadres A to D recruited under the 5% PwD reservation quota”, adds Murali.Shanti Raghavan, Co-founder, EnAble India, hopes the sensitisation will help bridge the awareness gaps. “Bureaucrats are extremely smart and if given the right knowledge, they can do a lot. With disability, attitude gaps comes into play. Unless we have seen a person with severe disability at work, we think it can’t happen. This gap can create many challenges and may come in the way of a policy that can make a change”.

Making Inclusive Officers the norm
Be it P Narahari in Madhya Pradesh or Nidhi Srivastava in New Delhi, there have been visible and honest attempts made by many bureaucrats towards inclusion. “How to scale this and make it sustainable is the question”, points out Shanti, who hopes to see this spread like wildfire. “We want a system where we capture the good happening in one and make it 20,000”. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Every year the Collective Action for Basic Rights Foundation (CBRF) recognises and celebrates the achievements of nine people with disabilities from all around India. The aim is to create awareness in the larger public about the enormous potential that lies within all of us, regardless of disability.

Subhadra from Odisha was born without arms. But she can do everything on her own – get dressed, comb her hair, eat and write – all using her feet. That’s not all. She also helps out her family, cooks and cleans the house. She is also a good student and is passionate about art.

39-year-old Shashikant from Basia village, Gorakpur, is bedridden due to a tumour on his back. He helps people in surrounding villages access disability certificates, UDID and rail passes, with online booking of train tickets, application for PAN, online banking transactions, etc. He does all this from the confines of his bed.

Naveen, who sustained a spinal cord injury in a accident, is a skilled cricketer and has represent ed Tamil Nadu in a National Wheelchair Cricket Tournament in Maharashtra.

Samarthya awards given every year to disabled achievers
This is just a small sample of the disabled achievers who will be felicitated and honoured with the Samarthya Awards for 2020. The awards are given every year by the Collective action for Basic Rights Foundation (CBRF), an NGO founded in 2011 to work with people with disabilities in rural India. Today, CBRF reaches out to over 89,000 disabled people, their families and communities across 20 states.
Like Naveen, Shahsikant and Subhadra, the CBRF has enabled many disabled children and adults. The Samarthya awards are given year in celebration of their hard work and determination.

Such a metamorphosis is in process across 20 states and one Union Territory of India. This year, nine of these people with disabilities are being felicitated at Samarthya 2020. This is an an event of Collective action for Basic Rights Foundation (CBRF) to applaud the extraordinary achievements of rural PwDs in Empowerment, Education, Livelihood, Art and Sports. – Nicholas Guia Rebelo, Executive Director, Collective Action for Basic Rights Foundation.Samarthya 2020 brings to public awareness the heroism of individual persons with disabilities who go the extra mile to ensure that disabled people are included in day to day life. Winners get a cash award f PwDs, who went the extra mile to ensure that PwDs are included in our day to day life. Each of them will receive a cash award of  ₹ 10,000 and a trophy. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Microsoft India and SBI Foundation have announced plans to collaborate to create job opportunities for disabled youth in the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) sector. This is a three-year programme and in the first year, 500 youth with disabilities will be trained.

Microsoft India and SBI Foundation have come together to equip disabled youth in India with the technology and training needed to prepare them for integration into the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) workforce.

This is a three-year programme under which both organisations will develop an Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered marketplace that is aimed at helping the BFSI sector to connect people with disabilities for up-skilling and employment.

Focusing on accessibility, diversity and inclusion is central to delivering on our mission of empowering every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. With over 26 million people living with disabilities in India, it’s essential that we find new ways to use technology to enable everyone to fully participate in the 21st century economy. By partnering with SBI Foundation, we have an amazing opportunity to benefit both people living with disabilities and the BSFI sector. – Jean-Philippe Courtois, Executive Vice President and President, Microsoft Global Sales, Marketing and Operations

In its first year, the programme seeks to upskill 500 disabled youth for jobs in the BFSI sector across the cities of Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Mumbai, and the National Capital Region. The programme will be done in partnership with various government organisations, industry skilling bodies and NGOs. The goal is to build a sustainable programme empowers disabled youths with the jobs skills they need and advance cross-industry advocacy efforts to drive inclusion.
“SBI has always striven for inclusion and empowerment of people with disabilities in the banking sector”, said Rajnish Kumar, Chairman, State Bank of India. “We are also helping our peer banks to do so. Our collaboration with Microsoft will help us leverage technology and our experience in training employees with disabilities will open more avenues for employment and engagement of people with disabilities not only in the banking sector, but the entire BFSI sector.” Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
The All India Physically Disabled Chess Association is seeking to encourage and promote talent across India. To begin with it has asked different states to form their own associations and conduct state-level tournaments to unearth talent. Delhi is the most recent state to form an association and organise a tournament.
Twenty eight physically disabled chess players from Delhi and Haryana made history as competitors in the Chess Tournament for Physically Persons. This was the first such tournament organised in Delhi by the Delhi Physically Challenged Chess Association (DPCAA) and aims to unearth and promote talent.

Event aims to spread popularity of physically disabled chess:
The DPCAA is affiliated to the All India Physically Disabled Chess Association which comes under the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).
This was the first chess tournament for the physically challenged organized in Delhi and our aim is to build a strong team and take them to national-level tournaments. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh already have state-level associations for physically disabled chess and Delhi is the most recent one to follow. – Manoj Gautam, President, Delhi Physically Challenged Chess Association.Vaibhav Gautam emerged on top at the end of the tournament. The 20-year-old, has cerebral palsy and is 90% disabled. He cannot speak or walk and does all his talking through his chessboard moves.
“He started playing chess competitively three years ago”, says his dad Manoj. “He used to play as a child and got hooked”. Vaibhav used to play for his school and his ELO is 1293. “Such tournaments are an opportunity for the disabled community to show the world that disability is not the only thing that defines them”, adds Manoj. “There is much more to them than that”. Vaibhav is already busy preparing for the national-level tournament in Chennai.
In second place was Sonu Bisht, also from Delhi. Sonu, who has cerebral palsy and a speech disability, has been playing for three years. “I am glad for such an opportunity. It will give me a chance to improve my skills and play at national and international levels”.

Neha, who was declared winner in the third place, has been playing chess since 2012. She has an orthopaedic disability and takes chess classes for beginners, mostly non-disabled.“This was my first competitive event on this scale and I am grateful for the opportunity. This gives us hopes of taking our game to a bigger platform”. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
The iF Design Award for 2020 has been given to global design company Tata Elxsi for its Mixed Reality (MR) Based Smart Assistive Wearable Devices. These are devices that enable people with disabilities like autism and Alzheimer’s disease handle social situations.
Global design company Tata Elxsi has won this year’s iF Design Award. This is an internationally recognised award for design excellence and Tata Elxsi has won it for its Mixed Reality (MR) Based Smart Assistive Wearable Devices.

Devices help disabled people handle social situations
These devices help people with disabilities like autism or Alzheimer’s disease handle social situations, which they might find difficult. The system is discreet and uses audio in a manner that others in the social environment are not so aware of the support being provided. The device can help with things like helping to recognise a person whose name the user may have forgotten, or calm the user in stressful situations through music.
The devices use Mixed Reality by taking information from input devices like discrete wearable cameras that help drive facial and environment recognition and microphones. The information is then fed back to the user through earphones or ear buds and sound collars. These devices enable users to participate in social interactions by giving them guides in the form of audio cues.

Active support offered subtly
Speaking to the media, Jack Quarmby, Designer at Tata Elxsi London Studio said, “We were interested in MR solutions that did not require headsets or visual feedback, which we believe may not be appropriate for everyone. A combination of ‘natural vision’ for environment perception, combined with augmented audio seemed to open up interesting use cases. Seeing this as an opportunity, we designed an innovative solution, which is less intrusive than an obvious ‘wearable’ and yet has potential to be chic, smart and desirable”. The devices use face and environment recognition cameras which are designed in a manner to empower users by offering support in an active but understated way.
“Getting recognised globally for our work is really rewarding”, said Nick Talbot, Head of Design & Innovation at Tata Elxsi. “For these MR based Smart Assistive devices, we see real-world application opportunities in healthcare, social care, augmented retail experiences, entertainment through audio gaming, and others that would be interest to service providers and solution providers in these segments.” Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Blind football, popular in many parts of India, comes to Nagaland. The Indian Blind Football Federation conducted a first time training camp for blind footballers in Dimapur on 14 February. This will be followed by a demo game with boys and girls.
The first ever training camp for blind footballers in Nagaland kicked off to an enthusiastic start at the Don Bosco School Grounds in Dimapur on Friday. This was followed by the North East Tournament & League matches. The camp is being conducted by the Indian Blind Football Federation (IBFF) a voluntary organisation dedicated to promoting the game of football among the visually impaired community in India.

Camp to be followed by demo game:

Blind football made its entry in the north east in 2016 and last year the IBFF organised a tournament for the region in Shillong. This is being organised in collaboration with State Commissioner Disabilities, Nagaland, Prodigals Home and Nagaland State Disability Forum.
This is the first camp in Nagaland and blind organisations have come together to make this happen. We are also organising a demo game for blind boys and girls. Two teams from Meghalaya will come for the demo game on 16 February. The aim of the demo game is to give local blind footballers an idea of how the game is played. – Sunil Matthew, Sporting Director, Indian Blind Football Federation.The IBFF is an independent body affiliated to the Paralympic Committee of India. It has been developing grassroots level blind football players and holding awareness camps across India. It runs the country’s only full-time Blind Football Academy at Kochi, Kerala.The Dimapur event will be officiated by national-level referees recognised by the International Blind Sports Federation (IBSA).

How blind football is played:

Blind football is a fast paced 5-a-side match played by visually impaired athletes using a ball with a noise-making device inside. It is played on a smaller pitch in an enclosed court. There is more dribbling and short passing as compared to regular football and crowds remain quiet during play to ensure that players can hear the ball, their team-mates and opposition players.
Matches are played between two teams in a ground size of 40m X 20m, each with four outfield players and a goalkeeper. The outfield players are visually impaired and wear eyeshades to ensure fairness. The goalkeeper may be fully or partially sighted. The pitch is surrounded with a rebound wall. All players are blindfolded before a game so that this becomes a ‘level playing field’ for all players partial or fully blind.

“The aim is to get Nagaland to participate in the national blind football championships to be held in March 2020 in Guwahati”, says Matthew, who is widely credited with popularising the game. The national event will see 20 boys’ teams and 6 girls’ teams fighting it out. The northeast has a major presence in blind football. “The football fraternity is big here”, adds Matthew. “Even the national team has many players from this region and there is genuine interest in the game”.

Keen interest from blind girls in football:
The growing popularity of blind football, especially among girls’ makes Matthew happy. Last year, many new states like Gujarat took part in the national championships. He is hoping to take the blind girls’ team to the international championships in Nigeria later this year. “There is a lot of interest from blind girls. We allow partially sighted girls to play as well but with their eyes covered. India is the second country after Japan in Asia to have a blind girls’ team”.
The Nagaland camp is special as this is the first time that the State Disabilities Commissioner has shown keen interest in organising the camp.
“We have been hearing about blind football for a while now and we approached IBFF to organise a forum for blind football”, says Ashe Kiba, Secretary, Nagaland State Disability Forum. “For this camp, we have eight boys and eight girls. We strongly believe there is great potential and Nagaland will soon outrank other states in blind football”.

Words that make Matthew hopeful about the future of blind football. Few players receive any government support. “The government of Meghalaya is supporting some players but most of them come from poor backgrounds and cannot support themselves financially. We want to bring them out of their homes and show them what a beautiful game this is”.

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Over 60 people with disabilities have signed up for a wheelchair racing training camp in Chennai. This is the first of its kind in India and aims to offer disabled people an opportunity to try out different sporting activities.
People with disabilities are eager for opportunities to check out different sports but don’t get the opportunity. That’s what Thiramai 2020 aims to change. This is India’s first ever wheelchair racing training camp which is being held in Chennai.

Few opportunities for disabled when it comes to sports:

64 disabled people have signed up for Thiramai 2020 and the event offers them a chance to participate in a range of sporting activities apart from wheelchair racing like shotput, discus, club throws and rifle shooting. The force behind the event is Justin Jesudas, a keen para sportsperson who excels at a range of sporting activities like shooting and swimming.The finals will be held on 16 February in Chennai and leading up to that we are organising training camps where participants can get try their hand out at various sports. The event is being supported by the United States Department of State Global Sports Mentoring Program and v-shesh. – Justin Jesudas, Para sportsperson
Among the participants is Dhivya Krishnaswamy. A Chennai resident, 32-year-old Dhivya has spina bifida, a birth defect and uses a wheelchair. “I never got the opportunity to take part in any sports and when I read about this camp, I was really eager to try out. In the camp, I tried wheelchair racing, javelin and discus throw and I am very excited about the final next Sunday”.

Put India on world map of wheelchair racing:

Putting the participants through the paces is Paralympian Vijay Sarathy. Vijay is India’s first wheelchair racer and has represented the country in the 2010 Commonwealth Games. “In the first day of camp, we taught them how to handle the wheelchair on the track and the second day was focused on racing”.Vijay’s dream is to have more Indians take part in international wheelchair racing competitions. “There are over 18 competitions worldwide in wheelchair racing and from India we have just one participant. I want more people to take part. That is the dream Justin and I share”. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
This actor with Down syndrome made history at the 2020 Oscars
His film, The Peanut Butter Falcon, may not have won any awards at the 2020 Oscars this year but actor Zack Gottsagen sure made history. Zack is the first actor with Down syndrome to be a present at the prestigious Academy awards.

In a year when the Oscars have been slammed for being racist and gender-biased, one welcome sign of inclusion. The 2020 Oscars ceremony will go down in history books as the first to have a presenter with Down syndrome. Zack Gottsagen, an actor with Down syndrome, took the stage on Sunday to announce the Oscar in the best live action short category.

Zack’s debut film released in 2019
Zack went on stage with Shia LaBeouf, his co-star in the 2019 film The Peanut Butter Falcon. In the film, Zack plays the part of a man with Down syndrome who runs away from the nursing home where he lives to pursue his aspirations of becoming a professional wrestler. Shia and Zack became close friends while making the movie.

In an interview to NY Post, Zack’s mother Shelley Gottagen said, “They love each other and really encourage each other. Shia’s been very supportive of Zack as an actor, his professionalism. [He] did a lot with promoting the movie, you know, which, Shia always doesn’t — that’s not really his thing, but he did it for Zack.”

Childhood dream to act
Zack, who is 35 years old, wanted to be an actor since he was a kid.The filmmakers behind The Peanut Butter Falcon said they wrote the film for Zack after meeting him at a summer camp for people with disabilities.

His presence at the prestigious Academy Awards ceremony is being seen by many as a welcome sign. The Ruderman Family Foundation, which advocates for disability inclusion, hopes this will mark the beginning of a larger change. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
The central government has announced that the Statue of Unity’ located at Kevadia in Gujarat will be made disabled-friendly very soon. This is the world’s largest statue and by making it accessible for disabled and elderly people, the government hopes to draw ore tourists.
The BJP government claims that the Statue of Unity built by their government in Gujarat is the tallest statue in the world. Unveiled on October 2018, the statue of Indian independence activist Sardar Valabhbhai Patel is located at Kevadia in Gujarat. Reportedly, there are over 5000 tourists from across the world who visits the statue every week. This includes elderly and disabled people. The government is all set to make the statue and premises disabled friendly. The move has been welcomed by disability rights activists from across India.
One of the world’s biggest marvels
The ‘Statue of Unity’ has undoubtedly given India a bigger platform in world tourism. Its architect Ram V Sutar has ensured to make it in the finest manner. The statue of Patel, who was the first Home Minister of India post-independence, received a lot of applause. But many people came forward and criticized Modi government for spending crores of rupees on the statue when a majority of the population in the country still lives under property.
Recently, Shanghai Cooperation Organization tagged ‘Statue of Unity’ as ‘8 wonders of SCO’. American President Donald Trump who is scheduled to visit India later this month will also pay a visit to ‘Statue of Unity’.
There are many reasons that makes the statue unique in an international platform. That is precisely why the government had to step up and make the premises disabled friendly.
The many facilities for disabled people
The government has not yet announced when the disabled friendly facilities will be introduced. Shakuntala D Gamlin, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities has been quoted saying to The Pioneer, “Statue of Unity meets up almost all accessibility requirements. Features such as conveyor belt, lifts with Braille button, spacious corridors, directional signages, wheel-chair facilities and accessible drinking water and toilets in the Statue of Unity are novel features that need to be replicated universally”.
Apart from that, audio facilities and Braille maps for visually impaired people will be introduced.
Reportedly, over 14 people with various kinds of disabilities have visited the statue and premises to look into the many ways to make it disabled friendly. The Social Justice Department of central government is not leaving any stone unturned to ensure that the ‘Statue of Unity’ is made disabled friendly.
The need for disabled friendly tourist places
India is one of the biggest tourist spots in the world. There are thousands of historical monuments that tourists come to check out.
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 states that all tourist places must be made disabled friendly. But the government has not yet been successful in implementing that.
Krishnakumar PS is a wheelchair user from Kerala who is an ardent traveler. “The government should have made it disabled friendly when they built the statue. There are many disabled people who wants to travel but are denied the opportunities. Something like a ‘Statue of Unity’ is the face of our nation. I haven’t yet thought about visiting the place. But if it is made disabled friendly then why not?”, he says. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window

American company BrainCo has developed a new AI prosthetic hand that allows its user to move the hand using brain waves and muscle signals. The makers plan to launch it to the American market by this year end and worldwide after that. This new technology is welcomed. But the cost still remains a huge problem for amputees.
Technology has proved to be a boon for people with disabilities. Over the years, scientists and researchers have developed numerous products that makes live of people with disabilities simpler and easier. American company BrainCo has developed a new Artificial Intelligence (AI) prosthetic hand that allows its user to move it with their mind. The user’s brain waves and muscle signals are used to move the hand. The makers are all set to introduce this to the United States market and hopes to expand it to other parts of the world as well.
How AI benefits disabled people
The final model of the prosthetic hand was unveiled by the company earlier this week. But the cost is definitely not affordable for many amputees across the world. Reportedly, it comes up to US Dollars 10-15,000, which is above Rs 10 lakh. Though the makers claim that this amount is much cheaper than many other prosthetic hands, it is undoubtedly a huge amount for many people.
This AI hand is currently waiting for a final approval from the United States Food and Drug Administration. Once it is cleared, BrainCo hopes to launch it to markets across US by this year end.

There were many reviews for the prosthetic hand on social media too. Astronaut and author Terry Virts tweeted with a photo of one of the CES2020 users, “Meet Mincheng Ni, a double amputee. This AI robotic hand allows him to live a normal life. One of the most amazing things I’ve seen at @CES”.
“This prosthetic hand from @BrainCo Tech learns how to read signals from the user’s residual limb”, tweeted journalist John Keefe. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
The Koyilandy Palliative Care in Kerala organised a ‘Wheelchair Marathon’ on 2 February as part of their annual yearly program. Over 20 wheelchair users from across Kerala and Tamil Nadu participated in the first-of-its-kind event in the state. After its grand success, organisers said that they are going to hold similar events next year too.
Wheelchair users are not confining to their homes anymore. They are coming out to explore the world and become a part of the society in every way. On 2 February, the Koyilandy Palliative Care organised a first-of-its-kind event the city. Over 20 wheelchair users from different parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu participated in the Wheelchair Marathon grand event. The determination and confidence with which the participants completed the marathon was truly a sight to behold.A first time event in Kerala
Koyilandy Pallative Care, an NGO that operates from Koyilandy town in Kerala, is a prominent organisation. Since the last twelve years, they have been organising annual events for disabled people. This year, their initiative was named ‘Qissa’. The three day event was a grand success. The marathon was held as part of the campus initiative ‘Nest’. Participants dropped in from Coimbatore, Kozhikode, Malappuram and Kannur.

Abdur Rahman, who was the Program Convenor says that both the participants and audience thoroughly enjoyed the marathon.We have many projects for disabled people of all ages. Every year we organise events and this was our 12th year. We come up with something unique. This year, it was the Wheelchair Marathon. We got a lot of good response for it. Our participants enjoyed it and so did the audience! Everyone cheered and supported us- Abdur Rahman.A successful wheelchair marathon
The Wheelchair Marathon was held for over 3 kms on the national highway in Koyilandy. The event got over in 20 minutes with contestants putting up their best show. Wheelchair Marathon was flagged off by renowned sports person PT Usha. Prizes were handed over by Koyilandy Municipal Chairman K Satyan. Manoj Kumar, a para sportsperson and wheelchair user from Coimbatore was the winner of the marathon.

What made the event even more special is the support rendered by over 200 students from colleges across Kerala. All of them came together to cheer for the participants and also help those who need it.

“This was a great initiative because disabled people must come out of their homes. They must start participating in such initiatives. We are definitely organising this next year as well”, says Riyas NP who was the convenor of the marathon. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Here's How You Can Disable Windows 10 Automatic Updates
Windows 10 users can use either of these three options to disable automatic updates.
Windows 10 has a feature that can automatically install updates without asking the user. While this feature is mostly considered beneficial by the majority of users, it cannot be denied that the system sometimes needs to be restarted at a time when a person cannot afford to do it. In such cases, the user can disable the automatic updates. However, it must be noted that the automatic updates are usually those related to stability improvement or are security updates, which a user would eventually want on their device.

Here is how you can disable automatic updates:

• Disable Windows Update Service

This is basically just another Windows Service and can be enabled or disabled like any other service.

• Metered Connection

In a metered connection, bandwidth is conserved by automatically installing and downloading priority updates, only. Even though one does not know how Microsoft classifies priority updates, but this type of connection minimizes updates that can cause issues regarding the system's stability. On opting this method the automatic update feature is automatically stalled.

• Group Policy Editor

People using only Windows 10 Education, Windows 10 Pro or Windows 10 Enterprise editions are the only ones eligible for using this option. In this option, only security updates are installed automatically and notification for all other updates is sent to the user. The updates, which have been notified, can be downloaded as per the convenience of a user. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
It applies to direct recruitment and in promotions too, says top court

A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court has granted relief to persons with disabilities across the country by allowing reservation in promotion in all groups for those employed in public sector jobs.
The Bench led by Justice Rohinton F. Nariman confirmed that 3% reservation should be given to disabled persons both in direct recruitment and in promotions.
The Bench, also comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and V. Ramasubramanian, was answering a reference on the question whether the disabled, included under The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995”, were eligible for reservation in promotion.“This judgment will open the doors for thousands of persons with disabilities who have been stagnating at the lower levels in public sector jobs, as their promotion to higher level posts was made difficult due to discriminatory policies,” advocates Rajan Mani and Ritu Kumar of the Disability Law Initiative, who appeared in the case, reacted.
The judgment confirms a 2016 verdict of the top court in Rajeev Kumar Gupta’s case that granted reservation in promotion to disabled persons employed in Groups A and B in addition to Groups C and D categories in the public sector.
The 2016 judgment had held that wherever posts were identified to be suitable for persons with disabilities, 3% reservation must be given. The government had however challenged the 2016 judgement, leading to the reference to the larger Bench.
The government had referred to the Indira Sawhney case, which had capped reservation at 50% and prohibited reservation in promotions.The government had referred to the Indira Sawhney case, which had capped reservation at 50% and prohibited reservation in promotions.
But Justice Nariman countered that the Sawhney judgment only pertained to the Backward Classes. It has no relevance in the case of persons with disabilities.
The Constitution only prohibits preferential treatment on the basis of caste or religion. Here, reservation is contemplated for disabled persons.
The rule of no reservation in promotions laid down in the Indra Sawhney judgmeny has clearly and normatively no application in this case.
Similarly, the top court said, “A perusal of Indra Sawhney would reveal that the ceiling of 50% reservation applies only to reservation in favour of Other Backward Classes under Article 16(4) of the Constitution of India whereas the reservation in favour of persons with disabilities is horizontal, which is under Article 16(1) of the Constitution.” Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court of India passed an order that insurance policies taken for a disabled person by the parent or guardian must be allowed to mature after 55 years of age of the proposer. Earlier, a disabled person could avail it only after death of parent or guardian. This order has been welcomed by members from the disabled community. But they also hope that it will be rightly implemented.Disabled people face numerous struggles to get benefits, schemes and insurances. Recently, the Supreme Court of India (SC) passed a judgment in favor disabled people in India. The SC clearly stated that the insurance policy taken for a disabled person by the parent or guardian must be allowed to mature after 55 years of age of the proposer. Till date, the lumpsum payment could be withdrawn only after death of the parent or guardian. Members from the disabled community says that this is indeed a welcome move from the top court.
A welcome move
The bench of Justices AK Sikri, Ashok Bhushan and Abdul Nazeer stated that there might be times when a disabled person needs the payment for their expenses. But the current policy restricts them from getting the amount. The court has asked the central government to look into providing exemptions in tax as well.For example, where guardian has become very old but is still alive, though he is not able to earn any longer or he may be a person who was in service and has retired from the said service and is not having any source of income. In such cases, it may be difficult for such a parent/guardian to take care of the medical needs of his/her disabled child. – Supreme Court of IndiaThe court further added, “Even when he/she has paid full premium, the handicapped person is not able to receive any annuity only because the parent/guardian of such handicapped person is still alive. There may be many other such situations. However, it is for the Legislature to take care of these aspects and to provide suitable provison by making necessary amendments in Section 80D of the act”.
The court looked into matter after a plea was filed by Ravi Agarwal, who is a disabled person. Reportedly, there has been a rising demand for this plea from the disabled community.Responses from the disabled community
Disability rights activist Nipun Malhotra is the founder of Nipman Foundation. He says, “Iam happy with this latest order from the Supreme Court. A person with disability has additional costs when compared to a person without a disability. So at times, a lump sum amount can be life-saving experience to them. It is great that they can get the amount when their parents are alive. I hope the court focuses on health insurance of disabled people as well”.
Unni Maxx, a disability rights activist from Kerala says, “This is a great decision from the Supreme Court. Many disabled people are unable to get proper medical treatment due to financial constraints. They are the ones who will benefit the most from this”.
Disability rights activists cheer for this latest order from the top court. But they are also waiting to see if this will be implemented correctly. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
CHENNAI: The city corporation has planned to set up two new sensory parks - one at Valasaravakkam and another at Kotturpuram.Sensory parks are built specially for the convenience of differently-abled children. The first sensory park in the city was inaugurated at Santhome, a year ago under the Centre's Smart City Programme.Officials said that the
new parks will be built at Sakthi Nagar in Valasaravakkam and Kottur garden near Adyar. It would cost around 3.5 crore, they said. "We have floated tenders and would start the project in a few months. There has been a positive response about the facilities at the sensory park in Santhome", an official said.The facility at Santhome has already received accolades and and the civic body was awarded by the Smart Cities council.Spread over an area of 1500sqm, the facility is built keeping in mind the needs of the visually challenged and disabled children.. It includes sensory pathways, wheelchair-friendly play areas and equipment.
There's also a 150sqft wall painted with braille and embossed for touch and feel for the aid of visually challenged children official said. The idea behind such parks is to create an environment that encourages sensitivity towards differently-abled children, an official said. "Like the Santhome sensory park, the new parks will also have wheelchair-friendly sand pits, in which children can built sand castles.While the park at Santhome was constructed at a cost of 1.3 crore, an official with the parks department said that the ones at Valasaravakkam and Kotturpuram will be built at an estimated cost of 1.6 crore and 1.85 crore respectively. Apart from the usual flower and herb gardens and play equipment such as slide, swing, merry-go-round, these parks will also have wheelchair-friendly basketball courts, like the one in Santhome park. An outdoor gym for adults will also be set up. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
     The Bombay High Court has criticised Indian Railways for the lack of facilities on Mumbai local trains for disabled travellers. Neither trains nor stations are friendly. The court has ordered the Railways to take speedy action to make facilities safe and accessible for disabled travellers. A few weeks back, 22-year-old Charmi Shantilal Prasad died after she fell from an overcrowded Mumbai local train. Charmi, who was on her way to work from Dombivali station to Ghatkopar reportedly fell from the train in the rush. Hundreds of deaths from Mumbai local trains have been reported in the past many years. But officials of the Indian Railways have not taken any steps to safeguard or protect the thousands of commuters. The Bombay High Court has taken note of this and said that local trains cannot offer safe travel, especially to disabled people, this mode of transport is meaningless.
Need of speedy justice for disabled travellers

The court, under the bench of Justices Riyaz Chagla and Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari were looking into petitions to provide better services for disabled people in local trains and also to make them accessible. The justices stated that people without disabilities do not have the courage and are scared to travel in local trains.

No differently-abled citizen must fall at the time of alighting or boarding a train, especially during peak hours. There must be some mechanism to ensure that they board and alight safely. Accordingly, we want railways to take care of the issue and provide a friendly atmosphere to the differently-abled citizens, so that they can board and alight trains without any fear. We think everyone should be able to use local trains at any given point of time. – Justice Satyaranjan Dharmadhikari, Bombay High Court


Travelling in trains are almost impossible for disabled people, especially in Mumbai local trains. Over the years, commuters have been requesting railway officials to enhance facilities. But nothing substantial has been done till date. In the case of disabled passengers, there are no ample facilities like wheelchair ramps and Braille facilities. Most of the disabled people must have an accomplice in order to travel safely in the local trains. This is clearly a violation of the rights of a disabled person who is also unable to travel independently.
Jasmina Khanna, a wheelchair user from Mumbai is a disability rights activist who has been part of a project to audit accessibility of Indian railways.
“I used to travel by local trains when I was small. But now, I haven’t for many years since most railway stations are not accessible for wheelchair users. I have been part of auditing accessibility of trains and railway stations. It is not at all accessible for disabled people. A disabled person cannot even get into the train coaches”, says Jasmina. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Karnataka government to start 6 early intervention centres for disabled kids
The government of Karnataka is all set to introduce six new District Early Intervention Centres (DEIC) in the state. This will benefit many children with developmental disabilities, especially from economically backward families. Officials stated that the centres will be open from early March this year.
Early intervention can benefit children with developmental disabilities in numerous ways. Over the years, experts have pointed out the need for diagnosis and intervention so that the child can lead an independent life. The Department of Health and Family Welfare (HFW) of Karnataka is gearing up to set up six new District Early Intervention Centres (DEIC) across the state which already has existing 13 centres. Officials have pointed out that the centres will be open by early March.
Centres to identify developmental disabilities early
The prime objective behind setting up the DEIC’s is to identify developmental disabilities in children and providing them with training skills at the earliest. It will also help to reduce the infant mortality rate in the state. Experts have also identified that these existing DEIC’s have benefitted thousands of families. That is what prompted them to set up more centers. Many children from economically backward families can benefit from such centres.
New centres will be set up at Tumakuru, Chitradurga, Udupi, Chamrajnagar, Koppal and Yadgal by the Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakram (RBSK). Dr Veena, Deputy Director of RBSK section of HFW has been quoted saying to The New Indian Express, “The RBSK team will screen children from child delivery to anganwadi and to the school. If there is any deficiency or developmental delays, they are referred to the DEIC immediately from where they can sought the treatment with a team trained and specialised for the DIEC’s”.
According to officials, the centres will provide the best facilities to young children. They will have speech therapists, doctors, counsellors, paediatricians, nurses and dentists who will reach out to the children. All the trained staffs will be provided with the best equipment’s as well.
Officials who work with the disability sector in Karnataka hopes that these centres will also provide better awareness about disabilities amongst parents in rural areas. It is high time that more disabled people come forward to demand for their rights.
Sarbani Mallick, Founder, Bubbles Centre for Autism in Bengaluru says there is an urgent need for new centres and for facilities at existing centres to be upgraded. “We started an outreach programme at our centre around six months back and realised how people are not even aware of disabilities, especially parents. There are very few services given to children with developmental disabilities. There needs to be better awareness about therapies too. Some places don’t even have diagnoses. The Karnataka State Disabilities Commissioner VS Basavaraju is a very efficient man. Hence, I am hopeful of the best this time”. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Delhi government launches Mission NEEV for early treatment of babies
Ahead of the Delhi elections Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s government launched Mission NEEV. NEEV stands for Neonatal Early Evaluation Vision programme and will cover around 1.5 lakh newborn babies.
Tackling visible functional and metabolic defects in babies – that’s the goal of Mission NEEV. NEEV stands for Neonatal Early Evaluation Vision and the programme will cover newborn babies.
Early screening prevents irreversible disorders in many kids
Newborn screening is the practice of testing all babies in the first days of life for certain disorders and conditions that can hinder their normal development. The Newborn Screening (NBS) is a health strategy for your newborn that prevents irreversible disorder in right after birth.
The NEEV programme will start with 31 birthing facilities that face the highest load. This will later be extended to include all delivery points and other birthing facilities.
Seema Kapoor, Director, NEEV, said the goal of the programme was to pick up disorders early so interventions can start at the right stage. “Taking into account, that these disorders are associated with high mortality and morbidity, this is likely to come down with the implementation of the program. The message that the program aims to give is that being proactive rather than reactive is the right approach.”
The NEEV programme will be supported by the Delhi government and Delhi State Health Mission under the Rashtriya Baal Swasthya Karyakram.
Newborn Screening (NBS) is a set of laboratory tests that identify serious diseases or disorders that significantly impair the health of newborns. These children generally appear normal at birth but have an inherent condition that will lead to disability or death without early detection and intervention. Several complications such as brain damage, retardation, speech skills problems, seizures, hearing loss, stunted growth, muscle weakness, feeding difficulties are some of the irreversible symptoms that can be avoided with prompt treatment. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Chief Electoral Officer, Delhi, Ranbir Singh said in view of the upcoming polls, this unique step has been taken to ensure 'maximum participation of PwD voters and dedicated accessibility of 1950 helpline services to them'.
New Delhi:
 To ensure maximum participation of voters with disability in the upcoming Delhi Assembly elections, poll authorities in the city have added a dedicated facility on voters helpline for such electorate, official said.
Presently, the voter helpline -- 1950 -- is available in English and Hindi for registration of grievances.
"This facility informs, educates and communicates election-related information. Now, a new feature has been added which empowers the Persons with Disability (PwD) to register their complaints directly," the Delhi CEO Office said in a statement.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Delhi, Ranbir Singh said in view of the upcoming polls, this unique step has been taken to ensure "maximum participation of PwD voters and dedicated accessibility of 1950 helpline services to them".
A new option in the voter helpline will exclusively register the complaints or grievances of "PwD voters by directly connecting them with the call centre," the statement said.
"The CEO, Delhi would also inquire about the status of the complaints received and the satisfaction level of the complainant by obtaining feedback directly from them and reopen the complaint if they are not found satisfied with the action taken," it said. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has announced that buses in Delhi must be disabled-friendly from March 2020. The amendments specified, however, lack any mention of low floor buses although this is mandated by the Supreme Court.
Priority seats, signs, places to secure crutches/canes/walkers, and controls at priority seats are among the disabled-friendly facilities Delhi buses must have from March 2020. So says the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. Amendments to this effect have been notified to the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 as well.

All Delhi buses to be disabled-friendly from March 2020:
This means from 1 March 2020 all buses in Delhi must have facilities for disabled passengers or passengers with reduced mobility. These will be checked for proper implementation when buses are inspected for fitness.
“The draft rules to amend the Central Motor Vehicles Rules, 1989 were published vide notification…inviting objections and suggestions from all persons likely to be affected thereby”, said the release. “The notification has been issued after duly considering the objections and suggestions received from public in respect of the said draft rules”

No mention of low floor buses:
The initiative to make Delhi buses accessible is certainly welcome, says disability rights activist Nipun Malhotra. His organisation Nipman Foundation has taken up the issue of making public infrastructure accessible for disabled people in a big way. His persistent legal efforts led the Supreme Court to pass the order mandating low floor buses.
The ministry notification says nothing about low floor buses and that is a major issue. Not mentioning this is a violation of the Supreme Court ruling which clearly states that low floor buses have to be there. While it is great the ministry is thinking about accessibility, they should have taken inputs from the disability sector. – Nipun Malhotra, CEO Nipman Foundation
The ministry notification appears oblivious to the larger goals of the Accessible India Campaign or the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act as well. This is not the first such instance either. In 2019 it got flak for its advisory to states that 25% of public transport should be disabled-friendly when the Act states 100%.
Nipun says this approach has hampered the progress of the Accessible India Campaign. “Just mentioning the word accessibility does not make everything accessible. I am hoping that in the next Budget at least things will change, and proper funds will be allocated to the campaign. Otherwise nothing will be done”. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) claims to have come up with a solution to the problems faced by blind people in accessing the new currency notes launched after demonetisation. It’s an app called MANI which stands for Mobile Aided Note Identifier. The app can help blind people identify the denomination of rupee notes claims the RBI but the community says it is of little use in reality.

For months now the blind community in India has been petitioning the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the courts for a solution to the problems they are facing in accessing the new rupee notes launched after demonetisation. The new notes lack distinguishable features, which makes it hard for blind people to distinguish between the notes.The RBI, which has come for flak, claims to have found the answer to their problems. It’s a mobile app called Mobile Aided Note Identifier (MANI) which it says can help blind people distinguish between various denominations easily and use them for transactions.

Mumbai-based lawyer Amar Jain, who has been raising the issue persistently, has questioned this claim. He says the app will be of little use to the blind community in India. In fact it will simply complicate matters even more.The app is not a permanent or viable solution. The response is very slow and highly inaccurate most of the time. It also intrudes on the privacy of the person who is forced to disclose his cash in public to scan under the app. MANI also has operation inconvenience and it is not feasible to scan the currency every time a blind person is making a payment at a tea stall or for an auto ride. I understand that due to the huge costs involved, changing the currency at this point is not feasible for the RBI. At the same time I want the people involved not to repeat the stupidity in future so that they make accessible currency. – Amar Jain, Lawyer

The new notes printed under the ‘Mahatma Gandhi Series’, are distinctly different in shapes, sizes and colours than the previous currency use. The new notes of ₹10, ₹20, ₹50, ₹100, ₹200, ₹500 and ₹2,000 are the especially challenging for people who are blind. They do not have the dimensions and tactile marks that are suitable for use of blind people.
It’s not just Jain who has raised issues with MANI. Many disability right activists and organisations had raised this issue with the RBI highlighting the new notes as a sign of the lack of empathy for people who are blind.Social media slams MANI App

Many questions have been raised about MANI’s accuracy as well on social media. One user says it does not identify currency notes accurately.
One reaction from @kingslyj was a tweet that said, “Who comes up with these ideas? Idiots couldn’t think about the visually impaired when they changed the dimensions of all the notes for no reason. And now expect them to buy expensive touch screen mobile phones and use it to identify the value of the notes.”

Another user Vinay Aravind tweeted, that “this government is all about fancy #digital solutions to problems they themselves generate.”How MANI Works
As per the RBI, MANI app scans the notes using the phone’s camera and gives an audio output aloud in Hindi and English about the  value of the note. The app is available on Google Play and the Apple’s App Store. It can also work offline once installed and does not need internet connection for use. The app, however cannot distinguish between real and fake rupee notes. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Focused on providing affordable exoskeletons in India, GenElek Technologies provide externally worn robotic support system that enhances a human's limbic capabilities. The technology will help people suffering from paralysis, stroke, spinal cord i..

When Rajesh Singh,28, an athlete, met with an unfortunate road accident while returning from a sports tournament, the biggest trauma for him during his long stay in the hospital was his inability to walk for months. Running had been like oxygen for Singh and the thought of not being able to even walk, caused him considerable distress.
But now, thanks to the innovative exoskeletons, that in simple terms, ..

While the innovation can certainly not reverse or limit the ageing process or magically cure a physical handicap, but it can surely bring in a significant amount of ease in enabling one’s physical movements.
“Exoskeletons are externally worn robotic support system that enhances a human's limbic capability. Our technology will help people suffering from paralysis, stroke, spinal cord injury (SCI) and other neurological conditions. The exoskeleton will assist specially-abled ppeople to walk again.

It will help them become self-reliant and independent, which will not only benefit them physically, but also mentally. One such possibility is it will increase their employability,” explains John Kujur, the firm’s CEO. The device will also be helpful to people facing mobility issues because of old age.

Finding its feetConsidering the utility of Kujur’s innovation in potentially minimising the miseries of not just the elderly, but also of patients suffering from paralysis, this innovation is being regarded as path breaking in many ways.

A Netaji Subhas Institute of Technology (NSIT) graduate, Kujur says the healthcare startup’s unique technology enables for limb or hand movements to be strengthened, which also makes the technology an ideal choice for rehabilitati ..
Another striking highlight of the innovation is that the technology is an externally wearable one, minus the need for any surgical cut to the body.
On the key differentiators of the budding startup’s technology, Sanjeev Chopra, CEO, Electropreneur Park, states, "GenElek is one of the very few companies in the world creating an exoskeleton to provide mobility and rehabilitation to people with severe spinal injuries. The key differentiation factors in Exoskeleton from GenElek are going to its advance functionality, lightweight and a very competitive price."

According to Dr Deepak Kumar, Physiatrist, Dr RML hospital, Exoskeleton wearables help wheelchair-bound persons in their better participation within the society. “Such technology is already running successfully in western countries. It’s becoming helpful for the rehabilitation of weakness of limbs due to spinal Cord Injury (SCI), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), stroke and other brain insulting conditions. Seeing Indian ngineers taking steps on this front is very encouraging,” he says.

Kujur adds that the focus of his enterprise currently is on developing affordable exoskeletons in India.
“We offer the exoskeleton at an unbeatable price nationally and internationally. We designed our system to perform all the essential tasks at a fraction of the cost of other mainstream exoskeletons. Our goal is to make exoskeletons affordable for various Indian consumers who simply do not have the kind of spspending power that consumers elsewhere have.”

Asked how his firm is different from others in the market, he adds that his system will be designed to read data from multiple sensors and deliver it to the physicians to analyse a patient’s progress. “We also placed due emphasis on the safety of the consumer and the efficiency of our technology.

In terms of our USP, it’s not just our cutting-edge technology, it’s also the integrated support service one gets, such as - medical experts,physiotherapists, counsellors, etc.,” he asserts
Filling the gaps
According to census 2011, 2.8 crore people in India are disabled, of which 50 lakh people have mobility issues, Kujur cites. Globally, the issue is a major concern too. About 15% of the world's population live with some form of disability, of whom 2-4% experience significant difficulties in functioning, states WHO. In view of the stated findings, the 28-year founder of the Delhi based tech firm believes that there is a considerable dearth of affordable physiphysical rehabilitation systems in India and that’s the reason GenElek chose to target a group with the least options for effective therapy and rehabilitation.
“We want to cater to this section so that there is a positive impact on their psychological health, improvement in physical health and increased chances of employability. Mechanical solutions for physiotherapy are available with no active monitoring of the effect on the muscles under therapy,” stresses Kujur.
Flagging that there is a lack of specialised physiotherapy centres across the country, he adds, there are untrained personnel and a lack of equipment for specialised care of patients across the country. “Physiotherapy-assisted transfers, wheelchair skills or even postural training for individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) are lacking in local centres/non-specialised centres. 'One size fits all’ solutions are available for physiotherapy rather than the personalised solution designed for the p ..

Plans ahead
Going forward, the startup, with a headcount of 14 persons, aims to speed up its mission to make exoskeletons and its technology more affordable. Therefore, it's on a collaboration spree with leading hospitals, known for providing rehabilitation facilities. Besides, to generate awareness on the utility of the technology to the masses, the firm is actively roping in various NGOs too. “As we move out of our initial phase, we aim to bring the price down to below 16 lakhs from the existing Rs 20-25 lakh and since this product is for healthcare purpose, we have to maintain a certain level of quality too. Abroad, such a technology is priced above Rs 60 lakh,” Kujur adds.
After having discussions with many doctors, specially-abled persons, and medical institutions, the startup has also come up with various added intangible benefits for persons willing to purchase the exoskeleton such as access to dedicated medical experts, occupational therapy, counselling, etc., which are aimed to help them become employable along with the therapy.
Among the many feathers in the firm's cap, is the news that it is to represent India in the ‘Cybathlon 2020’ to be held in Zurich. The global competition is known worldwide as a unique championship where specially-abled people compete against one another, using technologically advanced assistive devices. This time,the startup is taking part in the Powered Exoskeleton Race discipline, which attracts leading organisations in the world working in this space. “Our athletes for ‘Cybathlon 2020 are ex-Indian Army soldiers, who got injured in the line of duty. Representing our country at such an internationally reputed event provides us with a platform for global visibility where we aim to look for further collaborations,” Kujur says Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Braille versions of Exam Warriors, the book written by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, have been released. In the book PM Modi has valuable tips for students to deal with academic stress. The launch comes just ahead of the board exams.

‘Exams are like festivals, celebrate them!’, ‘Laugh In, Laugh Out’, ‘Be a Warrior, not a Worrier’. These are some of the  inspiring tips offered by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his book Exam Warriors. The book is a compilation of advice and anecdotes offered to students by PM Modi in his radio show Mann Ki Baat.

*Braille versions released by Minister T C Gehlot*

English and Hindi versions of PM Modi’s book were released earlier this year. A Braille version of Exam Warriors was released last week by Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot
Speaking at the launch, Mr Gehlot said millions of blind students in India would get motivation and mental strength from the Braille version of Exam Warriors.
The Braille versions of Exam Warriors have been prepared by the Braille Press of Rajasthan Netraheen Kalyan Sangh (RKNS). This Jaipur-based NGO brings out India’s first Braille newspaper in Hindi called Braille Samacharpatra. RKNS also publishes textbooks for blind schools of Rajasthan for classes 1 to 12.

It took us six months to make the Braille version of Exam Warriors in Hindi and English. We are a small team of four people and we need the help of one other person to describe the images for us. The book will be very useful for blind children, especially those who have missed out on early schooling and are not as confident. This will boost their confidence. There are many valuable tips here as well as specific asanas mentioned to deal with the stress and tension of exams. – J N Bhargav, Secretary Rajasthan Netraheen Kalyan Sangh

*Tips & yoga asanas in exam warriors*

The release of the Braille version of Exam Warriors is timely as it comes just months ahead of exams for secondary and higher secondary classes. The pictures in the book have been well-described for the benefit of blind readers. Exam Warriors also encourages students to make the best use of time and energy after exams end.

“I have chosen to write on a subject that is close to my heart, and one that is fundamental to my vision for a youth-driven and youth-led tomorrow”, said PM Modi in a press release ahead of the launch of the Hindi and English versions earlier this year. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
The Kerala government recently launched ‘Vijayamritam’ and ‘Sahachari’ schemes promising financial aid to disabled students from economically backward families. It is mainly for those disabled students who have battled odds to complete their studies. The disabled community says the schemes look great on paper and look forward to their implementation.

Over the few years, the Kerala government has introduced many welfare schemes for disabled people. Minister for Social Justice KK Shailaja has received praise for implementing them well too. Two new social welfare schemes have now been announced and these are for poor disabled students. They are called Vijayamritam and Sahachari.

Vijayamritam offers a one-time cash award to meritorious disabled students for good performance in degree/ equivalent courses, Sahachari will encourage National Cadet Corps/National Service Scheme/Student Police Cadet units in schools who offer assistance to disabled students with over 40% disability in their studies as well as extra-curricular activities.
New schemes primarily for poor disabled students
Rajeev Palluruthy, Secretary, All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation (AKWRF) says that the state government has previously introduced schemes for disabled students.
There are many disabled students who are battling odds to complete their studies. Recently, the government had selected some kids for their welfare schemes. I was also part of the team. This latest Vijayamritam scheme is encouraging for many disabled students. We hope this will be rightly implemented. Many polices are introduced and then we don’t hear anything about it. – Rajeev Palluruthy, Secretary, All Kerala Wheelchair Rights Federation

Eligibility criteria:

Vijayamritam is for students who have struggled to pass out degree, post-graduation (PG) and other professional courses in flying colours. Disabled students who have above 40% disability from all government and government approved colleges can apply for the scheme. Those from professional and parallel colleges or distance education programmes can also apply. Criteria to apply is that the student must have passed the course in first chance. They must have scored a 60% (in science) or 80% (in arts).

15 eligible candidates will be picked from each district of Kerala. Students who have passed degree with the above criteria will be given Rs 8000. Those who have completed PG will be given Rs 10,000.

Husna Ameen, a blind computer trainer says similar schemes for poor disabled students announced by the Kerala government have been helpful. But she hopes they will be opened to a wider pool of students.

“Government scholarship schemes are going well. When a disabled student receives monetary benefits, they will be encouraged to study further”, says Husna. “What happens though that most of the schemes are for disabled students from poor families. That must not be the criteria. I was denied scholarship because my family income was higher than the government standards. Any support like this can be used to but assistive devices and other aids to make studies easier”.
Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
**It aims at making public spaces friendly for the disabled**

The deadline for the government’s Accessible India campaign that aims at making public spaces friendly for persons with disabilities has been extended due to “slow progress,” the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has informed the Lok Sabha.

Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishanpal Gurjar said “due to slow progress, revised deadlines have been extended to March 2020.” The decision was taken by the Central Advisory Board chaired by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot.

Answering a question from Shiv Sena MP Dhairyasheel Sambhajirao Mane, Mr. Gurjar said State-wise details of the facilities for the disabled at railway stations were not maintained, but the Indian Railways was committed to making its stations accessible..

Short-term facilities like standard ramps, non-slippery walkways, signages, disabled-friendly toilets and help desks are included in the plan.

Regarding Central government buildings maintained by the Central Public Works Department, the reply said 211 CPWD buildings had been made accessible.

In all, a total of ₹354.45 crore had been released for making 1,058 public buildings accessible around the country, the reply said. Under the Rights of PwD Act, 2016, all existing and new public buildings have to follow the accessibility standards notified on June 15, 2017. The existing buildings were given five years to comply.

The original deadlines under the Accessible India campaign were July 2016 for conducting an accessibility audit of 25-50 of the most important government buildings in 50 cities and making them completely accessible and March 2018. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
The Cricket Association for Blind in India-CABI is organizing a national tournament for women that started today in New Delhi. Legendary cricketer Brian Lara from West Indies  and ICC ODI women player of the year Smriti Mandhana have come together to lend their  support to the first domestic Women’s National Blind Cricket tournament.
The tournament is called ‘Samarthanam Women’s National Cricket Tournament for Blind 2019’ and is being organised in association with Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled.

*Brian Lara Motivated The Players*

Speaking during the inauguration Brian Lara said “Disability should not be considered a hindrance to achieving one’s goals. I thoroughly appreciate this fantastic initiative taken by CABI and Samarthanam Trust in India and I am convinced that if such strong stakeholders come together around the world, then there is no reason why blind cricket will not see a growth world over. Such competitions will also provide a platform to such talented women and empower them.”

The Teams

The tournament will be held in the Twenty20 format and will end on 19 December.
The National level tournament will witness the participation of seven teams from the states of Delhi, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha and West Bengal. The matches will be held in the league stages over the first two days, while the grand finale will be held on 19 December at the Siri Fort Sports Complex.
There are lot of speculations about the outcome of the tournament as both Odisha and Delhi are considered to be strong teams with some exceptional players.

"Women’s cricket was in the pipeline for the last 10 years as we believe they have equal rights to play. After Samarthanam was given full responsibility of CABI in 2010, we immediately started acting upon the idea and we are extremely proud that we could implement that dream finally. Mahantesh G Kivadasannavar, President, CABI & World Blind Cricket, Founder, Managing Trustee, Samarthanam Trust.

Support From BCCI

There lot that needs to be done to encourage the participation of disabled women in India into sports.Through the tournament, CABI is hoping to motivate many more visually impaired girls to take up the sport and find their true potential.
“It is a very big platform for us and we will play to win,” said Ankitha Singh, Delhi Team Captain.
CABI has also sought support from the Board of Control for Cricket in India –BCCI. CABI representatives have held meetings with the BCCI President Sourav Ganguly and Joint Secretary Jayesh George urging them to support blind women’s cricket and motivate the players. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
It’s been over two months since Tarun Gupta, a 17-year-old boy with autism, went missing. Social media has been flooded with images of the boy and appeals from his father seeking information. The incident highlights the high risk that children and adults with intellectual disabilities face of getting lost. To create awareness, Special Child Assistance Network, a Chennai-based parent support group, launched a campaign called Spot a Wandering Child or Adult with Disability on World Disability Day to sensitise the public.Wandering away from home or school is a common problem among children and adults with intellectual, cognitive, social, or communication disabilities. While in most cases, they are found within a short of span of time and returned to their families, there are many who are never found at all.
Moved by these incidents, prominent Chennai parent support group Special Child Assistance Network (SCAN) has launched a public awareness campaign in the city. This will be done through a series of public messages and posters, initially in English and Tamil. The first communication was released on 3 December, International Day of Persons with Disabilities.The intent is to make people aware of this danger, help people spot a missing child or adult with such issues, and give them tips on what to do when they see such a person who needs help. – Gopinath Ramakrishnan, Co-founder, Special Child Assistance Network.“We have an Awareness Agenda for the Lost Child Campaign”,  This includes reaching out to:

Social Media.
Neighbourhood places (temples, malls, supermarkets, schools).
Meet the Disability Commissioner to explain awareness campaign and seek
Meet the local state authority.
Approach government authorities for awareness programme and training, especially Railways, State Transport Authority.
Training programme for officials and volunteers.
Regular government-sponsored awareness campaign with NGO volunteers.
  Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has kept its promise and announced a cash reward of ₹ 3 lakh to the physically disabled cricketers for their win in the first ever T20 Physical Disability World Cricket Series.
Recognition finally for India’s physically disabled cricketers from India’s top cricket body Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The Supreme Court-appointed Committee of Administrators (CoA) has announced cash awards for the physically disabled cricketers for their victory in the first ever T20 Physical Disability World Cricket Series in England in August this year.
The CoA has sanctioned ₹ 3 lakh each for every player on the India Divyang Cricket Team and ₹ 2 lakh for the support staff. The idea, said a CoA member, was to encourage the cricketers to do better in the future.
We are happy and delighted with the announcement. The physically disabled cricketers have been waiting for this recognition for a long time. We are also thrilled with all the congratulatory messages and good wishes coming our way. Money apart, the support the BCCI has promised going ahead makes us feel hopeful. Many players face financial problems and this will make them feel secure. I hope the BCCI continues to support us like this in future. – Vikrant Keni, Captain, Physically Disabled Cricket Team, India. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
St.Thomas Hospital and Leprosy Centre, Chetpet, Thiruvannamalai Dt - 606801 Tamilnadu Conducted Free Plastic Surgery for cleft lip and cleft palate children on 26.11.2019 to 05.12.2019 Needy person please contact Toll free -18001020413 send direct message (DM) by SMS/what's app for more information 9940848282 Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
To avoid the inconvenience of undergoing disability certification tests again under the RPWD Act 2016, Delhi Disabilities Commissioner has asked the Department for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment (MSJE) to issue a clarification to all states and union territories. This is to ensure that people with disabilities are not inconvenienced or deprived of their entitlements.
When Devesh Sharma, who has 40% vision, got his appointment letter for the post of Junior Judicial Assistant (Technical) in the disabled (Low Vision) category from the Delhi High Court, he was asked to get a fitness test done. Devesh had a disability certificate under the older Persons with Disabilities Act 1995.
Devesh's appointment letter, however, did not mention his disability and the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital (RMLH), Delhi assessed him as a general candidate. He was unfit with a visual disability of 30%. Devesh had earlier been medically examined by the Indian Railways and declared fit with his visual disability assessed at 40%.
Devesh complained to the Office of the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, NCT of Delhiand the matter was taken up under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act, 2016. RML said that it relied on the website of the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), which is the Centre's coordinating agency in recruitment matters. The DoPT website states that a disabled candidate is eligible for reservation if the percentage of disability is 40%, when the latest guidelines after RPWD Act specify 30%.
Devesh was re-examined and found eligible and a new disability certificate was issued. Devesh, however, opted not to take up the Delhi High Court job. The matter could have ended there. However, Delhi Disabilities Commissioner T D Dhariyal told NewzHook that he decided to take it up to prevent other disabled candidates from undergoing the same hassle.
A clarification was also sought by senior authorities about whether people with visual impairments need to be re-examined before issuing the UDID card.
Old Act vs RPWD Act 2016
Section 56 of the RPWD Act, 2016 states, The Central Government shall notify guidelines for the purpose of assessing the extent of specified disability in a person. Guidelines for assessment of disability and certification after the 1995 Act were issued by the Centre. Guidelines for assessing the extent of specified disability under the new Act were notified by the Department for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) and the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (MSJE) in 2018.
"Since the guidelines for certification were done over a period of two years, any person with disability in Delhi could be expected to get a disability certificate under the RPWD Act only after May 2019", points out Mr Dhariyal. Given the likelihood that many people may have got assessed as per the old guidelines, he said it is "not reasonable" to re-assess a person certified under the previous Act.
Rule 20 of RPWD Rules 2017 states that the disability certificates issued under PwD Act, 1995 will continue to be valid even after the RPWD Act. "If a post is identified for a person with 'low vision', a person with lesser extent of disability cannot be declared as medically unfit, irrespective of whether the post is reserved or not. So, even if the complainant is tested to be having less than 40% visual impairment, as per the new guidelines, he cannot be declared medically unfit for the job. That would be absolutely illogical", stated the Commissioner.
To avoid confusion and harassment, the Commissioner has recommended that the relevant government ministries issue a clarification to the administration in all the states and union territories. This is "so that persons with disabilities in such situations are not unnecessarily inconvenienced and /or deprived of their entitlements".
The Secretary, Health and Family Welfare in the Government of Delhi has also been asked to issue a clarification to all the medical and certifying authorities in the national capital.
"The guidelines are varying across India and therefore why should a person with disability be affected?", points out the Commissioner. "This way everyone should be made aware".
Welcoming the direction Prashant Ranjan Verma, General Secretary, National Association for the Blind said Devesh's situation is not unique. "Such problems are coming up often with regards to disability certificates. There are cases when organisations are not accepting documents in certain formats or details even though the RPWD Act clearly says they are valid. People are being forced to get new certificates or even told by employers to get disability certificates from hospitals of their choice. This leads to loss of jobs or needless anxiety. This direction is useful in this regard". Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
In #TechThursday, we feature Arise, the Standing Wheelchair launched by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. Arise is India's first indigenously designed Standing Wheelchair and has been tested on over 50 people with spinal cord injuries.
A standing wheelchair that allows the user to shift positions independently and in a controlled manner. That's what Arise designed by the Indian Institute of Technology Madras promises.
Arise has been launched in India with the support of United Kingdom-based foundation Wellcome and is all set for commercial production in collaboration with Phoenix Medical Systems.
The Standing Wheelchair was launched at the IIT Madras Research Park in the presence of Thaawarchand Gehlot, Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment.
Arise was designed developed by the TTK Center for Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2) at IIT Madras. Since 2015 the R2D2 has been involved in research related to human movement, influence of orthotic and prosthetic devices on human movement, and the design and development of mechanisms, products and assistive devices for people with disabilities. The commercialisation of the Standing Wheelchair technology was made possible with the support of Wellcome, which brought together the research and manufacturing partners. What's even better is that thanks to a novel mass-manufacturable mechanical design, Arise will be made available at affordable prices.
Advantages of AriseUsers of conventional wheelchairs face many difficulties. Being seated for long periods can lead to secondary health problems such as poor blood circulation and pressure sores. They need considerable effort, aids and assistance to stand and this makes them avoid doing so as frequently as they need to or wish to.
This is where standing wheelchairs can play a critical role as users can arise from the seated position to a standing position by themselves and vice versa.
Praising the work done by R2D2, Professor Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras said, "The Centre and Phoenix Medical Systems are to be congratulated for their persistent efforts to make the device user-friendly and affordable."
Arise was designed in three stages. In the first stage, a hand-operated, linkage-based mechanism was developed to achieve the standing functionality. A proof-of-concept prototype was used to validate the functioning of the standing mechanism. Arise was designed such that the user can propel it independently and in a controlled manner by using their arms. The effort required is no more than that required to propel the wheelchair. A gas-spring helps reduce the effort required by the user.
"We are delighted to have been able to support this new, affordable and accessible innovation, which will be crucial to improving the lives of wheelchair users across India", said Philip Jordan, Partner, Wellcome Innovations Team. "The standing wheelchairs can help reduce the health problems associated with sitting wheelchairs. They can also empower users to be more independent in daily life, opening more opportunities and improving mental health."
Highlighting the safety features of Arise, Sashi Kumar, Managing Director, Phoenix Medical Systems, said the interlocking mechanism ensures that the wheelchair remains in a locked state if the knee block is not in position. "The dimensions of Arise were made adjustable and adequate safety features were incorporated."
Testing partners include NGOs, hospitals, rehabilitation centres, individuals who provided inputs. Rigorous mechanical testing ensured that the device would be rugged and of high quality.
"A one-time custom-fitting of Arise is necessary to provide maximum benefit to the user", said Professor Sujatha Srinivasan, Founder-Head, R2D2."To maximise impact of our devices, R2D2 will work to create awareness about their suitability, availability, and necessary fitting and training".
At the end of the third stage, Arise was tested by more than 50 people with spinal injuries. Their feedback was positive with a couple of them pointing out that they were able to stand independently after three years, thanks to Arise. Another person said that, with Arise, he found it easier to stand compared with using callipers. Arise was found to be stable even in outdoor use in rural areas, on uneven terrain.
Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window

Job Fair ID:CMP-05079-Q1T3G4
Job Fair Name:
NCSC DA (VRC) at Delhi, East on 8th Nov'19
Job Fair Venue:
Model Career Centre/ National Career Service Centre for DA (VRC), Plot no 9-11, Vikas Marg, Karkardooma, Delhi -110092, East, Delhi.
No. of Participating Job Seekers:29
Registration Date/Time:5th Nov 2019 10:00 AM to 7th Nov 2019 5:00 PM
Job Fair Start Date/Time:8th Nov 2019 9:30 AM
Job Fair End Date/Time:8th Nov 2019 5:00 PM
Job Fair Description:
Job Fair for both General candidates and PwD (OH) candidates 
1. No. of Companies - 14 (like, IBM, Vacobine, Handygo BPO, ECS, Global Logic, Aegis, Maruti Suzuki, Om Innovations, Citiyano Solutions Pvt, Bagai Steels Pvt Ltd, Vakma and others) 
2. No. of Vacancies- 250 
3. Qualification - 10th, 12th, Graduate and above 4. Location - Delhi NCR 5. Age -18-32 6. Salary - 9000 to 22000 for further details contact - 011-22372243
  Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
A doctor told him he would never climb again. Defiant, Herr used a local machine shop to hack together custom prostheses from rubber, metal and wood. He went on to become a successful climber.
The legend today is busy creating bionic limbs at the MIT Biomechatronics lab that emulate the function of natural limbs.
Despite being a double amputee himself, his breakthrough advances in bionic limbs provide greater mobility and new hope to those with physical disabilities.
“I viewed the missing biological part of my body as an opportunity, a blank palette for which to create,” he said during the 2015 “Autodesk University” conference.
Co-director of the MIT Center for Extreme Bionics as well as Founder of BionX Inc, Herr has heralded a new bionic age, which was visible to the audience at the recently-concluded “Science in the Age of Experience” conference in Boston this month, organized by the 3DExperience French major Dassault Systemes.
Herr’s inventions have been named to TIME Magazine “Top Ten Inventions list -- “Rheo”, a computer-controlled knee prosthesis which is outfitted with a microprocessor that continually senses the joint’s position and the loads applied to the limb and “EmPower”, a powered ankle-foot prosthesis which emulates the action of a biological leg and, for the first time, provides amputees with a natural gait.
“Today’s leading innovation-led companies are calling for a brand new vision to address the world’s many sustainability challenges with a truly holistic scientific and business approach,” said Patrick Johnson, VP, R&D, Research & Technology Strategy, Dassault Systèmes.
“We hope to expand our horizons, go beyond borders and experience scientific innovation at large,” he added.
For Herr, the bionic innovation has already begun.
The charismatic leader wears two next-generation prosthetic legs, each barely visible under the “cuff of his gray slacks, which produce a faint percussive buzz with each footfall, like the sound of a tiny electric drill”.
The sound serves almost as a leitmotif - you hear it, faintly, as he ascends the stairs to his office in the glass-and-metal MIT Media Lab or as he ambles across the stage during a conference.
A team of MIT researchers under his guidance recently showed that nerves made to express proteins that can be activated by light can produce limb movements that can be adjusted in real-time, using cues generated by the motion of the limb itself.
The technique leads to movement that is smoother and less fatiguing than similar electrical systems that are sometimes used to stimulate nerves in spinal cord injury patients and others.
“Artificial electrical stimulation of muscle often results in fatigue and poor controllability. In this study, we showed a mitigation of these common problems with optogenetic muscle control,” said Herr, who led the research team.
“This has great promise for the development of solutions for patients suffering from debilitating conditions like muscle paralysis.”
For amputees, robotic limbs that move like the real thing and are controlled by the mind are a game changer.
The “smart limbs” being developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are possible because of the “Ewing Amputation”.
The procedure developed between MIT and Brigham and Women’s Hospital protects the nerves and muscles so the limb can continue to communicate with the brain, reports CBS-Boston.
“So being both the scientist and the user I have advantages that other people don’t have,” said Herr, who helped develop the surgery and is leading the development of the robotic limbs.
“My legs are basically power tools. So I go home at night, I put my batteries into a charger.”
Herr uses a form of robotic limbs but what’s different about the “smart limbs” is that the “Ewing Amputation” allows the brain to control the machine.
“So when we did our first human patient and we put the bionic limb on him and we saw natural movements emerged, emerging through the mechatronics in natural ways it was truly exhilarating,” Herr noted.
“My personal experience underscored for me how poorly designed the world is,” he says, “and the profound human suffering that’s caused by bad design.” Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
In the countless tales of sheer will triumphing all odds, the gutsy chapter of Para swimmer Suyash Jadhav would find a unique spot for its defiance and determination.
Suyash Jadhav is still only 25, but he has struggled massive obstacles and risen above all fear to carve out a successful and inspiring career for himself.
Born in Solapur, Maharashtra, Suyash started swimming at a very young age, following in his father’s footsteps who was a national level swimmer himself. Much like all of us, he to had dreams. He aspired to fulfill his father’s destiny one day by competing and winning medals at the international stage.
However, tragedy struck at a very young age, when on a day that would change his life forever, ended with Suyash suffering serious injuries to his upper limbs after getting accidentally electrocuted by unprotected wiring at a construction site. Both his arms had to be amputated and he subsequently spent six months in hospital following the incident.
But he had a heart of a warrior and didn't want to give up on his dream and love for swimming. He participated in differently-abled competitions at domestic as well as international international.  
He first shone to prominence in 2015 when he won a silver and a bronze medal at the 2015 IWAS World Games in Sochi, Russia. In the tournament, his achievements also made him the first Indian Para swimmer to register the ‘A’ qualifying mark for the 2016 Paralympics in Rio.
e followed this up with four medals at the 2015 Winter Open Polish Championship, and continued his medal-winning form into 2016, winning three silver medals at the German swimming championship.
Suyansh Jadhav starred again in the 2018 Asian Para Games as he went on to win one gold and two bronze medals at the tournament. With 12 medals already in the bag, the Solapur native is accomplishing heights no one would have dared to tread after early setback in life.
It is a fairytale story - that has defiance, abundant will power, strength, and above all the courage to win.
An inspiration like no other, Suyansh Jadhav is showing us how to never give up on your dreams. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
India's flagship retailer Big Bazaar regularly conducts internship programmes where young adults with intellectual disabilities are given hands on experience in retail operations in major stores. These programmes are being across many stores in India.
"I like working in the women's fashion section", says Reet Kaur Ghura, with a shy smile, "especially arranging the tops, pants and dresses and organising clothes in the hangers". The 19-year-old is among the 12 young adults with intellectual disabilities being put through the paces of various retail operations at the Big Bazaar store at HyperCITY Malad, Mumbai.
These youngsters are the first to undergo a full day's training programme across various sections ranging from food, household products to fashion.
Khushi Thakkar, 19, is arranging food items on the shelves watched by a senior Big Bazaar employee or Buddy. "I make sure that the labels of the food items face front when I arrange", says Khushi. She loves coming here because "I like to help everyone and enjoy the work".
Retail giant Big Bazaar is walking the talk when it comes to inclusion at the workplace. Not only is it making shopping accessible to people with disabilities, the group is also promoting inclusion at the workplace. The retail Internship programme for youth with intellectual disabilities is a part of this.
Many of the trainees have done similar stints in other stores and seem at ease with the music and lights as they go about their work calmly and efficiently. Nimesh Dinesh Shah, Department Manager, Fashion, and a Buddy, is full of admiration. "It's so great to see them learning so much especially when you consider that some of them are still in class 12. We are also making it easy for them by taking it in a step by step manner".
The youngsters are from the Sol's ARC, the Mumbai NGO, that is dedicated to building programmes centered around equitable learning and employment opportunities across India. "We are here to see how it is working on the ground", says Rachita Pujari, Partnership Manager/Trainer, Sol's ARC. "Those with prior experience are more confident but they all need constant support in terms of knowing what the next task is and require clear instructions".
What comes across is the passion to learn. Leena Bharadwaj, a Buddy, can't stop marvelling at Reet's dedication. "She is focused, listens to instructions carefully and does everything just right".
The training programme has been divided into stages with customer engagement kept minimal until trainees get used to the tasks. At the fashion section for instance, they were initially taught to open the garment packages, followed by folding and hanging the clothes. "We then showed them how to put the hard tacks properly without touching the bar code", explains Nimesh. Once they master this, they will be taught about the different types of fits.
Today, Sanskar Dhir is learning how to put size cubes in every hanger to distinguish between the garment sizes. "It makes me so happy to do this", says the 20-year-old. "I am so excited to do this internship and would like to work in Big Bazaar all the time".
Placing this team at HyperCITY , says Aarti Nagpal, Human Resources Head, Mumbai, Big Bazaar, was a deliberate choice. "This store has all the categories and the trainees get to perform a wider range of tasks". Aarti is pleasantly surprised by how quickly they have picked up various skills. "They are learning how to distinguish between various fabrics now".
What also helps is the presence of many employees with disabilities at the store. "We have a hearing impaired employee for instance in a crucial role and this helps because there's already an inclusive atmosphere and are not regarded as different", says Gokul Krishna, Store Manager. There's no difference in output either between the disabled trainees and others, he adds.
After the internship, the trainees will head back to complete the rest of the Retail Management Programme at Sol's ARC. NGO Founder Sonali Saini says the full day internship is crucial to deciding their strengths.
"This 15-day internship will help us understand whether our youngsters have the stamina to do a full day and the kind of roles they are good at", says Sonali. The feedback until now has surprised her. "We never thought that all of them had the stamina to do a full day's internship. We were sure some would not be able to cope but that's not the case. My trainers tell me they have to keep reminding them to take a break!".
For the Big Bazaar team, the trainees bring a happy spirit to work. "They have such a great sense of humour", says Gokul. Aarti is looking forward to having them back for more such internships. "Their output is really good and they work with a lot of enthusiasm because they don't get bored with the repetitive nature of the tasks". Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
International Autism Conference
The first international autism conference on autism was held in January 2019. It won the strong attendance of over 800 people and 30 eminent speakers from across the world. The second edition of the international conference on autism shall be held in 2020. With this, we hope to reach many more people and facilitate dialogue and awareness among people. Stay updated about the conference through the IAC website.
Event Details
Starts on: Friday, 10 Jan 2020 at 12:00 AM
Ends on: Sunday, 12 Jan 2020 at 12:00 AM
City: Kolkata
Location: Amity University
Event Charges: Free
Venue Accessibility: Contact Organizer
Registration Link
Organizer Details
Organizer Name: India Autism Center
Organizer Phone: +91 33 4015 0000
Organizer Email:
Organizer Website: Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Ahead of 20th Helen Keller Awards, NCPEDP hosts workshop to skill youth with disabilities for jobs.
Private sector must create more jobs
Employment for persons with disabilities not a CSR issue but a rights issue: NCPEDP
A workshop on skilling youth with disabilities was successfully organized by NCPEDP- National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People in partnership with Youth4Jobs Foundation and Axis Bank. 
The theme was to identify solutions to enhance the scope of employment of persons with disabilities – given the framework of the implications of the RPwD Act for the private sector. The discussions centered around creating sustainable employment opportunities for persons with disabilities by training them and also the important aspect of career progression.
Over 60 members from the development sector as well as corporates attended the same.
During his keynote, Mr. Himanshu Mishra, Axis Bank said,
“Axis bank emphasizes on diverse hiring which includes people with disabilities, and we understand that private/corporate sector needs to do their fair share to empower people with disabilities through employment”.
Ms. Aradhana Lal, Vice President – sustainability initiatives at The Lemon Tree Hotel Company shared her perspective- “three things that are crucial to career progression:
First is training – functional, technical, leadership and soft skills at all stages whether entry level or supervisory.
The second is setting up of processes and systems that are agnostic of who the manager is and whether he has a disability!
The third is an open culture that does not discriminate against persons with disabilities.”
Mr. Arman Ali, Executive Director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People also shared,
“this workshop is a first step towards understanding and involving more people from across the country. Persons with disabilities still do not look at the private sector as a source of employment so there’s a lot of work to be done. There should be options for people with disabilities in rural areas to be skilled in agricultural trade which allow them to live in their homes with their families”.
In September 2019, Arman Ali had represented India at the 22nd Session of the Working Group of the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, where a shift from the medical model of disability to the rights based model and simultaneous removal of environmental and attitudinal barriers that prevent inclusion and equality were discussed. Key among them being accessibility of transportation services, including transport concessions and licenses, accessibility of information and acceleration of the implementation of the barrier-free buildings- all of which are critical to employment of persons with disabilities. 
NCPEDP is committed to promoting the employment of persons with disabilities. They organize the Hellen Keller awards every year, that recognize individuals, NGOs and corporates who work towards creating employment for persons with disabilities. This workshop was a fitting prelude to the 20th edition of the Hellen Keller award.
Ms. Meera Shenoy, founder, Youth4Jobs foundation also emphasized the need for more partnerships Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Aimed especially at helping people with cognitive disabilities, Google has announced a new accessibility tool named Action Blocks which would allow users to pre-write Google Assistant commands and place shortcuts to them on their home screen.
Action Blocks are an expansion of 'DIVA', the accessibility initiative announced by the tech giant back at the I/O 2019 conference.
'DIVA' aims to make smart speakers more usable for anyone who finds it hard to use spoken commands, by hooking them up to physical controls that are programmed to activate pre-configured actions.
"Think about the last time you did something seemingly simple on your phone, like booking a rideshare. To do this, you had to unlock your phone, find the right app and type in your pickup location. The process required you to read and write, remember your selections and focus for several minutes at a time.
"For the 630 million people in the world with some form of cognitive disability, it's not that easy. So we've been experimenting with how the Assistant and Android can work together to reduce the complexity of these tasks for people with cognitive disabilities," Ajit Narayanan, Staff Software Engineer, Accessibility, Google, wrote in a blog post on Wednesday.
According to the tech giant, Action Blocks is the first of its efforts to empower people with cognitive disabilities, help them gain independence, connect with loved ones and engage in the world as they are. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
The UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities has published its findings on India which it adopted during the 22nd Session of the Working Group of the Committee in September 2019.
The recommendations of the Committee include that all laws must be amended to align them with UN-CRPD(Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities) – this includes amending Article 15 of the Indian Constitution to specifically mention disability as a ground of discrimination. 
The Committee was extremely appreciative of the Indian Government’s efforts to recognise and enforce rights of persons with disabilities, ensure protection from discrimination on the basis of disability and measures taken to make the electoral processes accessible through the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act. 
It also took cognisance of the separate Department for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, that had been created in 2012., as also the ratification of the Marrakesh Treaty to Facilitate Access to Published Works for Persons who are Blind, Visually impaired, or otherwise Print Disabled.
However, its recommendations were in spirit with the “nothing about us without us’ slogan that is almost an anthem in the global disability sector.
Key recommendations to the Government of India include:
Absence of measures to combat multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination against persons with disabilities including women, children and elderly and those from scheduled castes and scheduled tribes, Dalits and Adivasi, persons with disabilities living with HIV/AIDS, indigenous persons with disabilities, those belonging to ethnic, linguistic and religious minorities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons with disabilities etc.
To repeal the use of derogatory or controversial terminology like  ‘Divyangjan’, ‘unsound mind’, ‘retarded’, ‘leper’ and ‘lunatic’ from Government policies and documents
A shift from the medical model of disability to the rights based model and simultaneous removal of environmental and attitudinal barriers that prevent inclusion and equality. For e.g.; accessibility of transportation services, including transport concessions and licenses, accessibility of information and acceleration of the implementation of the barrier-free buildings.
Faster implementation of the accessibility provisions under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 by taking a cross-sectoral approach, requiring all ministries engaged in public infrastructure to include accessibility in all planning and implementation processes with a time frame, budget and monitoring and evaluation to improve accessibility, especially in rural areas- and involving persons with disabilities in the same.
In particular the Committee  focused on the discriminatory laws related to persons affected by leprosy in India.
Commenting on this CRPD monitoring process, Arman Ali, Executive Director of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP), who attended the meeting as co-convener of the United National Coalition on the CRPD says
“The emphasis of the Government, during the briefing, was more on the policy framework laid out in the RPWD Act and less on the implementation mechanisms. The concluding observations are a great support to us as we push for implementation of the Act and we are looking forward to engaging with the Government and civil society as we plan the way forward to address the observations.”
The committee also emphasised that Census 2021 must generate authentic disaggregated data on PwDs for India and that an autonomous nodal agency like the NHRC that could be given responsibility of monitoring implementation of the CRPD. 
The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is composed of 18 international independent experts, who monitor implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the  findings or Concluding Observations, as they are also called, cover how India is doing with regard to the rights of persons with disabilities, detailing positive developments, main areas of concern, and recommendations for action and the Government has time until November 2025 to respond to these observations.
-Marrakesh Treaty, RPWD Act, positive measures taken by India Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Samsung Good Vibes is a two-way communication app that allows the deafblind to send and receive messages with friends, family or anybody else through their smartphones. It translates Morse Code input into text or voice and vice versa.
An app with two interfaces.
For the Deafblind
A deafblind person can send a message from the app by tapping on the screen using Morse Code—where all letters of the English alphabet are combinations of dots and dashes. The letters can be input as short tap for a dot and long press for a dash.

Likewise, incoming messages can be understood as vibrations by the deafblind, where small vibration means a dot and long vibration means a dash.
For people with normal sight and hearing
Anyone can send a message, by typing or speaking. It has a standard chat/voice interface that delivers the message to the deafblind person as Morse Code vibrations.
Samsung India Good Vibes App: Caring for the impossible
Without the ability to see, hear or speak, the deafblind can’t express themselves. This is the challenge faced by lakhs of deafblind people in India. Samsung presents Good Vibes, a two-way communication app that enables them to communicate with family, friends or anyone else through their smartphones.
How it works
To get a detailed overview on how to use the app – Download User Manual

To learn more about Morse Code – Download the Guide

Download the App
Galaxy Store

Who are the deafblind?
Deafblind is a term that is used when a person has a combination of impaired vision, hearing and speech.

What is Samsung Good Vibes App?
Samsung Good Vibes is a two-way communication app for the deafblind. It allows the deafblind to communicate with friends, family or anyone else through their smartphone. It translates Morse Code input into text or voice and vice versa.

What is Morse Code?
Morse Code is a detailed system of dots, dashes, and spaces used to represent numbers, punctuation, and letters of the alphabet. It is used both as a code and a way to communicate without the ability or need to use actual characters.

How Samsung Good Vibes app works?
Samsung Good Vibes uses the vibrations of a smartphone. Through Morse Code, a language almost as old as Braille, the app lets the deafblind feel the vibrations, one letter at a time.

Who is this Samsung Good Vibes app for?
The app is for the deafblind. These are people who can’t see, hear or speak. They can only navigate the world through their sense of touch.

How do the deafblind contact anyone in case of an emergency?
The Samsung Good Vibes app comes with an SOS feature that is activated by shaking the phone 5 times. This dials the emergency contact number.

Can the deafblind use Samsung Good Vibes in any other language?
The app uses Morse Code which is converted from the letters of the English alphabet. Basic knowledge of the alphabet is required for using the app.

How can a deafblind person learn to use the app?
There is a section of the app to learn and practice Morse Code. With every alphabet, the corresponding vibration starts playing in this section. 
To know more please refer to the User Manual.

How can a deafblind person open the app after the phone is turned on?
The Samsung Good Vibes app has an ‘Always On’ setting. Once the app is installed in Deafblind mode, the setting allows the app to automatically open on the phone of the deafblind even after a restart. To know more please refer to the User Manual.

How do the deafblind choose a message recipient?
The deafblind have to simply input the short name of the recipient in the first message to them and send. To know more please refer to the User Manual.

Can the Deafblind use the Samsung Good Vibes app by themselves?
The initial download and registration is required to be done by the caregiver. Once the contacts have been added, the deafblind can use the app on their own.

How do we choose the deafblind interface?
After the registration, the user gets to choose the interface. 
Please refer to the user manual for details.

What if I add a contact who doesn’t have the Samsung Good Vibes app?
If a contact is added and they don’t have the Samsung Good Vibes app, then an SMS goes to the contact prompting them to download it.

How does the deafblind person know who is sending the message?
The name of the sender comes before the first message sent by them. 
Please refer to the user manual for details. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Divya Nayan is a reading machine for visually impaired or illiterate person where any printed or digital document can be accessed in the form of speech output.
The device uses a contact line scanner for acquiring the image of a printed document. User manually scans the document by placing the device on printed document without knowing the direction of text flow, moving the device over the document to be read.

It uses optical character recognition technique to convert the image into text and a text to speech converter further converts the text into audio. Audio files are organized in the machine and can be listened back.

The device is standalone, portable, completely wireless and IoT enabled. It can analyze a multicolumn document to provide seamless reading and is capable of page, text, and word level navigation while reading. Currently the device supports Hindi and English but can be further configured to other Indian and foreign languages.

It is equipped with user inter-faces such as internal speaker, rechargeable battery, USB, headphones, SD card, Wi-Fi and bluetooth 

Wireless & Portable – The device is standalone, portable, completely wireless and IoT enabled.
Multi-functional – Read printed, e-books, e-news, recording and reading speech.
Multi-language – Currently supports Hindi and English documents reading in Indian accent.
Online Processing – Document: Batch Processing Organisation
Document Storage – Sync Document
Device Demonstration & Trials
Institute for the Blind, Sector 26, Chandigarh.
Patiala School for the Blind.
Navchetna – A Charitable Institute for the Blind, Patiala
Post Graduate Government College, Sector 11, Chandigarh
Composite Regional Centre(CRC) for Persons with Disabilities, Lucknow
Convention of Blind Empowerment 2017-18 Organized by Recording Club Whatsapp Group held at Udaipur, Rajasthan
Department of Community Education and Disability Studies, Punjab University, Chandigarh Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
The difference in employment rates between disabled and non-disabled workers stands at about 30 percentage points. This has barely changed in ten years and it is a stain on the conscience of the nation Read More
The RTI reply from the Ministry also stated that the certified reports of the erstwhile fund and the old fund were available but cannot be released as they are voluminous and that they can be seen in the office. Read More
In a bid to keep young people with disabilities out of aged care facilities, an organisation in Melbourne has launched a new type of portable house. Read More
Some new emojis - including a wheelchair user, people with walking sticks and a hearing aid - have been revealed Read More
Living with disability can be a hard thing to deal with. Here are tips to help you cop with person disability at workplace
By Dawanyo, Biomedical laboratory Technologist at Labbotecth Campany Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
Against over 61 lakh applications, only about 19 lakh cards have been generated according to the UDID website. According to the 2011 census, which happened before the expansion in the definition of disability, there were 2.7 crore disabled Read More

ALFAA, Autism Society of India and Manushyaa Blossom organize the exclusive workshop to Help Improve The Symptoms Of AUTISM and other CHRONIC diseases using Siddha-based nano bio medicines.

Key Persons

Prof Guna Magesan, Director, International Operations.
He was the Vice Chancellor of Institute of Advanced Research

Shri Kaviarasu Balakrishnan, Managing Director
He has discovered more than 50 nano bio materials and synthesized more than 15 nano compounds.

Manushyaa blossom’s currently focuses on the following conditions

  • Autism & Epilepsy
  • Liver disorders
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • Lung disorder
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Manhood problems (eg.ED) and women related issues
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes

Date & Venue

DATE: Wednesday, 3rd July 2019 TIME: 10.30 am to 12.30 pm

VENUE Assisted Living for Autistic Adults (ALFAA) Centre

ADDRESS No 9, Omega Avenue, Mathrushree Layout,
Maragondanahalli Main Road KR Puram, Bangalore.






For more information, please contact 
Ruby Singh +91 9741 41 8103

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For disabled in Delhi, metro is only accessible transport. It must be made free. Delhi’s deputy chief minister travelled in a local bus to ask women about the free metro and bus transport facilities. Read More
Tuesday 25 June, UK
Consultations will be launched on helping employers meet the needs of those with disabilities.
Read More

A British climber has become the first blind  person to lead climb the 450-foot high Old Man of Hoy, on the Orkney Islands.

Jesse Dufton, a GB para climber, made history when he topped the towering sandstone column after a seven-hour feat placing protective equipment and clipping his rope to it as he climbed.

Accompanied by his sighted climbing partner, Molly Thompson, the pair scaled the iconic East Face Route, which was the line first climbed by Sir Chris Bonnington in 1966.

A radio link meant that Ms Thompson could offer directions to holds, but as she was belaying him from below most of the climb he was having to operate largely by touch.

"I did it," Mr Dufton said. “I led all 6 pitches placing my own gear, feeling my way up."

This is the most adventurous hard trad rock route I’ve done - it was truly epic.”

The pair scaled the iconic East Face Route, which was the line first climbed by Sir Chris Bonington in 1966 

While the landmark has previously been climbed by other blind climbers, they have followed after a sighted partner who has already placed the rope and protection gear.

Trad - "traditional" - climbs do not have fixed bolts drilled into the rock where ropes can be attached, typically because the geology is too soft or it is a protected landmark.

Instead climbers secure themselves with an assortment of metal "nuts" which drop into cracks and jam in place, or camming devices, which can be placed in flared gaps and expand when the weight of a falling climber is applied.

Due to weather limitations the attempt could not be made until the day the team had planned to leave Hoy. 

But once the weather changed they had to walk for over an hour from the campsite, and then ascend the steep, slippery cliffs to the base of the stack. 

This 300m section alone took approximately one-and-a-half hours and the pair didn’t start climbing until 3pm.

Even with the long days at the Orkney latitude, the amount of daylight remaining was a worry as Mr Dufton had to painstakingly find secure handholds and suitable places for protection that would hold his fall.

The ascent marks the culmination of a joint project between Jesse and director Alastair Lee, who is making a film about the blind climber to form part of the 2019 Brit Rock Film Tour.

For the ascent of the Old Man of Hoy, Alastair climbed a pitch ahead to film Jesse from the route itself, alongside supporting cameras on the mainland and in the air via a drone.

Mr Lee said: “I’ve never seen him searching around for holds so much, holding himself in strenuous positions as the obvious footholds sat quietly unused and all the sand on the holds.

“It must have felt pretty insecure to say the least.

“But on he battled, and what a glorious ascent it was - staggering.”

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Disability inclusion is not only a fundamental human right, it is “central to the promise” of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, UN Secretary-General António Guterres told the annual conference on the Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which began on Tuesday.

"Together, we can raise awareness and remove barriers" – UN chief Read More
Carol Burgos is worried her neighbors think she is bringing the neighborhood down. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window

Oklahoma! actress Ali Stroker has become the first wheelchair user to be nominated for, and win, a Tony Award.

She won best featured actress for her role as Ado Annie in the Broadway play.

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Universo Santi in the southern Spanish city of Jerez is dedicated to helping people with disabilities join the mainstream workforce Read More

CHENNAI: The city will soon get a Metropolitan Transport Corporation bus with a foldable ramp to help disabled passengers board and get off the vehicle. This is a first in south India.
A team comprising top officials of the MTC and the state department for welfare of differently abled will inspect bus at Chrompet on Friday.

Read more at: Read More
The workshop also focused on practical demonstration of tools used for training mothers and yoga as a medium for stress relief. Of the 27 million cases of people with disability, two per cent are reported among children below five years. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
The Leprosy Mission Regional Vocational Training Center! Read More
Guidelines regarding Persons with Disabilities using the service of a scribe

Telangana State Integrated Common Entrance Test for MBA and MCA.

Read More
Indian Railways offers a concession on ticket prices to select categories of passengers. Read More

Very Great! I have been learning for new words, sentence and moral etc due to lack of English communication in past time which is useful a lot for me. I am very interesting to be read it. Thank you so much giving us to be learnt useful DEF-ISL!

– Sonu Sunny

Contact Details

Deaf EnAbled Foundation
th Floor, 605 & 606, Navketan Complex,
S D. Road, Secunderabad, Telangana – 500 003
Mobile +91 97033 81112

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National Seminar on “Role of Young and Adolescent Girls with Disabilities in National Integration of India” organized by Society for Disability and Rehabilitation Studies In collaboration with Human Rights and Disability Studies Programmes, School of International Studies, JNU, New Delhi

Read More

Tamil Nadu Tax on Professions, Trades Callings and Employments Act.1991 (Act No.24 of 1992)
Received the assent of the Governor on 12th June 1992)

Profession Tax Exemptions for Persons with Disabilities (Tamil Nadu)


Exemption:- Nothing contained in this Act shall apply to

  • (a) The members of the armed forces of the union serving in any part of this State, that is to say, to whom the provisions of the Army Act, 1950 (Central Act 46 of 1950), the Air Force Act.1950 Central Act 45 of 1950) or the Navy Act, 1957 (Central Act 62 of 1957) applies;
  • (b)Physically disabled persons with total disability in one or both the hands or legs, spastics totally dumb or deaf persons or totally blind persons.

Provided that such physical disability shall be duly certified by a registered medical practitioner
in the service of the State Government not below the rank of a Civil Surgeon.

References and Downloads

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Introductory camp on Wheelchair Basketball

Event Date: 3th March, 2019 09.30am 4th March, 2019 – 12.30pm.
Venue : Labon Sports Club, Indoor sports stadium, Labon Sports Club , Shillong , Meghalaya India

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Introductory camp on Wheelchair Basketball

Event Date: th March, 2019 09.30am th March, 2019 – 12.30pm.
Venue : Mount Litera Zee School, Behind Hotel Uday Residency, kichha bye pass, road- 263153, Rudrapur , Uttarakhand India

Wheelchair Basketball Federation of India, WBFI is happy to announce our new camp at Uttarakhand State. This WCBB introductory camp will be in partnership with Star Health and Allied Insurance Co Ltd at Mount Litra Zee School, Rudrapur, Uttarakhand, March 6 and 7, 2019. Mount Litra Zee school and Disability sports society are our other partners. We are expecting 25 players out of which 8 will be women.

email : |
Phone : 9841098056 / 9841609601.

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Guidelines for conducting written examination for persons with Benchmark disabilities

References :
1. O.M. No. 34-02/2015-DD.III dated 29.08.2018 ( Dept. Empowerment of Persons with disabilities) dated 14.01.2019
2. F.No. 6-2/2013(SCT) 21-02-2019

Para XII on page 3 of above guidelines may be substituted with the following :

UGC Extra Benefits for Women with Disabilities - Written Exam Compensatory Time for persons with disabilities - UGCThe word “extra time or additional time” that is being currently used should be changed to “compensatory time” and the same should bot be less than 20 minutes per hour of examination for persons who are allowed use of scribe / reader / lab assistant.

All the candidates with benchmark disabilities who are eligible for availing the facility of scribe in terms of guidelines IV may be allowed addition time of minimum of one hour for examination of 3 hours duration whether they use the facility of scribe or not.

In case the duration of the examination is less than an hour, then the duration of additional time should be allowed on pro-rata basis. Additional time should not the less than 5 minutes and should be in the multiple of 5.

Download : UGC notification (PDF, 128KB)

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Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) and Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University (RKMVU), Coimbatore are conducting a Certificate Course on Pre-employability Skills for Persons with Disabilities (Hearing and speech impairments and Locomotor Impairments). It is a Free course with accommodation. The only cost would be your travel to Coimbatore if you are from another town / city. The course is from March 2017 to May 2017 with intermediate break for Holidays. This course will be useful for your preparation towards Banking and other Government examinations as you are taught language and written communication skills as well as computers operations, if required. Please find below in the link a PDF file with more details on this course Read More
Job Fair in Chennai by We are Your Voice on 26th February 2017 for Persons with Disabilities Read More
Opportunity for Self Employment - Government of India
PWD-Pradhan Manthri Bharatiya Jan Aushadhi Pariyojana Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window
3 Km Marathon was organised by Cheshire Homes Bengaluru as an awareness programme on abilities of persons with disabilities on World Disability Day, December 3rd, 2016 Read More

Deccan Chronicle | Joyeeta Chakravorty | Published Dec 5, 2016

Visual documentation of the Best practices of ‘Access to Livelihoods’ programme for persons with Disabilities in Asia– Leonard Cheshire Disability’s flagship programme being implemented in 5 countries is Asia and South Africa with strategic partnership from Accenture.  Read More

LCD YouTube Channel

Accenture’s “Skills to Succeed” initiative supports Leonard Cheshire Disability’s “Access to Livelihoods” program, which builds the skills and confidence of persons with disabilities globally. Read More

ILO Newsletter

SAP Labs India and the Indian School of Business (ISB), have entered into a collaboration to nurture startups in the social enterprise space with relevance to national priorities as Jumpstart Social Enterprise (JSE) Read More

Hi Tech Training Centre for persons with disabilities for traning on computers and other employment tools was inagurated today with the support of Coimbatore Metropolitan Round Table and Ladies Circle, Coimbatore on 18th April 2016. Read More
Special Recruitment Drive for Persons with Disabilty (PWD)-2015 at Hindustan Copper Limited (A Govt. of India Enterprise) .. A Link through website ( for online submission of application shall be open from  12.11.2015 to 05.12.2015. Thus, the closing date for online submission of application shall be 05.12.2015 Read More
Soulful prayer and cultural show by people with disabilities marked the 50th anniversary celebration of Cheshire Homes India’s Mangaluru unit on Sunday. Read More

The Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment on Thursday launched Accessible India campaign to make public buildings, public transportation, signage accessible to Persons with Disabilities.

Read More
NTPC is launching Special Recruitment Drive for Persons with Disabilities in the area of Operation & Maintenance (O&M), Civil Construction & Finance at the levels of E1/E2/E3 levels for its Projects/ Stations Read More
An online beneficiaries registration system, ‘On-line On-Site’, was launched  to ensure transparency in schemes implemented by the ministry to provide assistive aids Persons with Disabilities.

Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thaawar Chand Gehlot, who inaugurated a mega camp for free of cost distribution of Assistive Aids and Appliances to  Persons with Disabilities under the ADIP scheme at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, said that this registration system will help in saving time.

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V-sesh assisting job seekers by providing information about jobs and offering skill development programmes that are aligned with employer’s requirements.. The organization is conducting employability training in Bangaluru next week. Read More
In collaboration with National Skill Development Council (NSDC) of Government of India, 5 Lakh PwDs are to be trained in next 3 years by NGOs and other Training Providers partnering with Department for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD). Read More
CSIR Special Recruitment Drive for Persons with Disabilities in Hyderabad, Last date of receipt of application is 12-6-2015 Read more... Link opens up in New Tab or Window |
Special Recruitment Drive for Person's with Disabilities by NEYVELI LIGNITE CORPORATION LIMITED, Neyveli, Tamil Nadu, India Read More
A CSR Initiative of HDFC Bank - Educational Crisis Scholarship Support (ECSS) to provide interim education support to children facing a personal or financial exigency Read More

Shri Gehlot said that the National Action Plan is a partnership between the Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) and Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disability for skilling 2.5 million Person with Disability (PwD) over seven years.

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The All India Physically Disabled Chess Association is seeking to encourage and promote talent across India. To begin with it has asked different states to form their own associations and conduct state-level tournaments to unearth talent. Delhi is the most recent state to form an association and organise a tournament.
Twenty eight physically disabled chess players from Delhi and Haryana made history as competitors in the Chess Tournament for Physically Persons. This was the first such tournament organised in Delhi by the Delhi Physically Challenged Chess Association (DPCAA) and aims to unearth and promote talent.

Event aims to spread popularity of physically disabled chess:
The DPCAA is affiliated to the All India Physically Disabled Chess Association which comes under the Paralympic Committee of India (PCI).
This was the first chess tournament for the physically challenged organized in Delhi and our aim is to build a strong team and take them to national-level tournaments. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh already have state-level associations for physically disabled chess and Delhi is the most recent one to follow. – Manoj Gautam, President, Delhi Physically Challenged Chess Association.Vaibhav Gautam emerged on top at the end of the tournament. The 20-year-old, has cerebral palsy and is 90% disabled. He cannot speak or walk and does all his talking through his chessboard moves.
“He started playing chess competitively three years ago”, says his dad Manoj. “He used to play as a child and got hooked”. Vaibhav used to play for his school and his ELO is 1293. “Such tournaments are an opportunity for the disabled community to show the world that disability is not the only thing that defines them”, adds Manoj. “There is much more to them than that”. Vaibhav is already busy preparing for the national-level tournament in Chennai.
In second place was Sonu Bisht, also from Delhi. Sonu, who has cerebral palsy and a speech disability, has been playing for three years. “I am glad for such an opportunity. It will give me a chance to improve my skills and play at national and international levels”.

Neha, who was declared winner in the third place, has been playing chess since 2012. She has an orthopaedic disability and takes chess classes for beginners, mostly non-disabled.“This was my first competitive event on this scale and I am grateful for the opportunity. This gives us hopes of taking our game to a bigger platform”. Read More Link opens up in New Tab or Window