Maximizing R&D, innovation, and priority groups with assistive technology to reach 100% of the concerned population says Mr. Vinod Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, GoI

To match the requirement for aiding civic society, we must maximize R&D, innovation, and priority groups with assistive technology, with the goal of reaching 100% of the concerned population

New Delhi: At The 5th conference on Empowering Persons with Disabilities through Accessible & Assistive Technology: ‘Equal Opportunities & Inclusive Ecosystem organised by ASSOCHAM, Chief Guest Mr. Vinod Paul, Member, NITI Aayog, GoI said ”To match the requirement for aiding civic society, we must maximize R&D, innovation, and priority groups with assistive technology, with the goal of reaching 100% of the concerned population”.

He further continued As India carries great potential in the advent of assistive technology, to become a global enabler, we must focus on skilled engineers & creating an interface with the user. Around one-third of the population in globe requires technology to lead an optimal life so there is a huge scope in market segment to make an impact. High Priority tasks should involve meeting the quality and standards of the equipment and require people to have the skills to develop and manufacture, he noted.

Guest of Honor, Mr. Rajesh Agarwal, IAS, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India highlighted the massive scope to scale up assistive technology for the disabled persons and make it accessible to all. There are 2.5 bn people in the world who need assistive products & services, he stated. A holistic approach should be applied to meet the demands of the disabled for the growth of the society as it is a transformative step for the nation.

In his welcome address Mr. Anil Rajput, Chairperson ASSOCHAM CSR Council and President, Corporate Affairs, ITC Ltd said India should aim for mainstreaming an inclusive environment and ecosystem for equal rights, accessible technology, comfortable work environment and skill development for a person with special abilities.

He added ”A truly inclusive society is one in which everyone can lead an independent & self-reliant life and contribute to the economy”. Aligning with the accessible India campaign launched by Shri Narendra Modi, it has raised enthusiasm in person with disability with the right to transportation and barrier-free environment.

According to Mr. Hezekiel Dlamini, Officer in charge, UNESCO New, Delhi Cluster Office said ”Persons with all abilities and disabilities must enjoy all the rights and fundamental freedom with equal opportunities. Our major focus should be on education and inclusive life learning opportunities for all. All content should be made available and accessible to the children with disabilities to increase awareness, public advocacy and policy making, he added.

”Technology is an empowering tool for the disabled as it makes the thing possible and easy” said Mr. T. D. Dhariyal, Advisor, CBM India Trust in Disability, Inclusion & Mainstreaming and Former Dy. Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Govt. of India. We should follow a right-based approach than charity-based approach, he stressed. Industry and stakeholders should focus on private public partnership to enable disabled people to stand on their own feet for them to contribute to the society.

Ms. Sarika Minda, Chairperson, Spark Minda Foundation addressed day to day challenges faced by the person with disability and how upgradation of technology is paving its way for improvement and skill development. Steps should be undertaken right form the grassroot level as Assistive technology reduces the need for formal health and support services, long-term care and the work of caregivers.