New Delhi: Vice President M. Venkiah Naidu will be the Chief Guest at a function to celebrate the ‘International Day of Persons with Disabilities’ organized by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment tomorrow in Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi, on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, observed on 3 December. Naidu will confer the National Awards for individuals, institutions, organizations, States & Districts and more for their outstanding achievements and work done towards the empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).
Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment Thaawarchand Gehlot will preside over the function, while Ministers of State for Social Justice & Empowerment Krishan Pal Gurjar, Ramdas Athawale and Rattan Lal Kataria will also be present.
Till 2017, the Award Scheme was governed under the National Awards Rules, 2013, which provided 7 categories of disabilities as per the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995. However, with the coming into force of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 w.e.f. 19 April 2017, the number of specified disabilities increased from 7 to 21 under the new Law.
Accordingly, all 21 disabilities have been included under the National Award Guidelines which have been notified in the Extra-ordinary Gazette of India dated 2 August, 2018.
The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) writes to the State Governments & Union Territory Administrators and Central Ministries & Departments calling for nominations for National Awards in various categories.
An advertisement is also published in national & regional language daily newspapers to give wide publicity of the Awards. The detailed scheme of Awards as also the advertisement issued for calling applications is displayed on the website of the Department in a downloadable format.
Following the above mentioned procedure for National Awards 2019, an advertisement inviting applications from persons belonging to all the 21 specified disabilities was published in the leading newspapers on 5 July 2019, with the last date for submission of applications declared 30 August 2019, which was subsequently extended to 30 September.
In all, 973 applications were received. These applications were shortlisted on a merit basis by four Screening Committees constituted for this purpose. The National Selection Committee under the Chairmanship of the Union Minister, Social Justice & Empowerment in its meeting held on 6 November considered the recommendation of the Screening Committees.
In all, 65 awards in 14 categories were approved. It is hoped that the achievements of the Awardees will motivate and inspire others to emulate for similar accomplishments, said a Press communication from the Ministry.