The Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Kumari Selja on Thursday inaugurated the national fair on aids and assistive devices 'SWAVALAMBAN' here.
Speaking on the occasion the Minister said that this is the first fair of its kind, being organised by Department of Disability Affairs.
The Minister congratulated Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) along with other National Institutes who worked very hard to put up the show and added that one of the Ministry's schemes for rehabilitation of Person with Disabilities is the Assistance to Disabled Persons for Assistive Devices, popularly known as 'ADIP' scheme.
The main objective of the scheme is to assist the needy disabled persons in getting durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, modern assistive devices.
These devices will help in promoting their physical, social and psychological rehabilitation, by reducing the effects of disabilities and enhancing their economic potential, Selja said.
She said, "Currently, aids and appliances for locomotor disabilities, visually impaired, hearing impaired and mentally handicapped are being provided under the scheme. Currently the income limits and limits of the cost of appliances permissible for assistance are quite low. The Ministry is working to increase these limits."
Praising ALIMCO the Minister said that it is a non-profit manufacturing Industry working for the past 4 decades.
"It is serving persons with disabilities by way of manufacturing and supplying aid and appliances and organizing camps for providing them devices."
The Minister added that a wide range and sophisticated devices are needed in large number as almost 50-60 percent PwDs needs assistive technology at one or other point of time.
Accordingly, ALIMCO is being modernized and strengthened to increase its manufacturing capacity.
The Minister also said that there is need to recognize the requirements of many more disabilities that are arising out of modern lifestyles and to develop suitable assistive technologies for them.
She said, "Considering these factors, it has been decided by the Ministry to hold a National level Trade fair of various assistive devices that are available across the country."
"This would help in creating awareness and assessing the availability of various stakeholders in this field."
"This would help in exchange of ideas amongst manufacturers and potential users, and to attract industries in this sector. This will also open opportunities for ALIMCO to explore trading partners and technology providers so that ALIMCO may undertake mass scale manufacturing at affordable cost," Selja said.
Manikrao Gaviti, Minister of State, Social Justice and Empowerment expressed congratulated ALIMCO for bringing the manufacturers, suppliers in the country to showcase the assistive devices in one place.
The Minister further added this fair will provide an opportunity to Persons with Disabilities to see modern aids and appliances.
The Secretary, Department of Disability Affairs, Stuti Kacker welcomed all to the National Fair on Aids and Assistive Devices "SWAVALAMBAN" to showcase the assistive aids/appliances which will improve the functions and thus reduce the disability of individual to make him Swavalambi- 'Independent'.
The Secretary said that the department has taken various initiatives for the empowerment and inclusion of PwDs in the main stream of the society as envisaged in the National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, 2006 which recognizes persons with disabilities as valuable human resource and focuses on their physical, economic and educational rehabilitation.
The Secretary further added that as per census, 2001, there are 2.19 crore persons with disabilities (PwDs).
"The disabled population is diverse, in terms of their age, gender, disability types, extent of disabilities and their socioeconomic conditions. Their needs are different and most of them need assistive technology at one or other point of time."
The Secretary congratulated ALIMCO for working relentlessly for manufacturing aids & appliances, but said that there is a need to bring more manufacturers, technology and aids and appliances of international standard, at a reasonable cost.
The Secretary said that the concern of the department is to popularize assistive aids, available; which can improve functions and reduce disability and to promote their manufacture by using appropriate technology for the common PwDs.
The existing ADIP scheme is also under revision to include such high end technology assistive devices namely motorized wheel chair, digital hearing aid, IT education gadgets and cochlear implant etc.
The Secretary added that this fair shall provide an opportunity to manufacturers/suppliers, researcher and PwDs to exchange their views and evolve a method by which these modern aids & appliances can be made available to the needy ones at reasonable cost.