Odisha government directed to establish disability studies departments in universities
The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), Dr Kamlesh Kumar Pandey, has directed the government of Odisha to establish a Department of Disabilities Studies (DDS) in all universities in the state. This is to prepare professionals in the field of rehabilitation and special education.
At a recent review meeting with the state officials, the Chief Commissioner has suggested that a DDS or study center be established in at least one university, if its not possible to establish it in all universities right away. This will help in giving professional education to people interested in disabilities’ studies.
Dr Pandey said that a training institute to produce special educators in the state is also recommended. This would promote inclusive education to disabled children.
The Odisha government has appointed a full-time State Commissioner. However, important activities like district review, monitoring of funds given by the government, and mobile courts are affected due to shortage of staff.
Dr Pandey said there was a need to strengthen the office of the State Commissioner by appointing one Deputy Commissioner, Legal Officer, and other staff.
The State Commissioner has been urged to work closely with the Odisha Health Department to facilitate the issuing of disability certificates to eligible people. Around 60% certificates have been issued in Odisha until now.
Dr Pandey said that the state government also needs to generate awareness about different aspects of persons with disabilities, various schemes of the central and state governments, their rights, educational opportunities, and skill development up to panchayat level.
The Odisha government has been asked to increase the amount of disability pension, establish eye banks in all five medical colleges, implement more schemes for rehabilitation of disabled people, and come up with a policy for cochlear implantation for children with hearing impairments.