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Welcome Remarks by

Ambassador Syed Akbaruddin

Permanent Representative
Jaipur Foot Event, United Nations
 15 May 2018

 


Excellencies,

Distinguished Guests,

 


Thank you for your presence here today.


 

 I would like to welcome all of you to this special event that commemorates half a century of a remarkable, innovative and affordable intervention that has helped more than a million people with serious disabilities, across several countries.

This event is also in the lead up to the next session of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) that will convene here at the United Nations next month.

 

 

It is estimated that more than 1 billion people live with some form of disability. This is a very high number and represents more than 15% of the global population.


There is a growing awareness today about the special interests and needs of the persons with disabilities around the world.

 

While different societies and governments have been taking a range of actions to promote the rights of persons with disability, the adoption in 2006 of the CRPD (Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities) was a landmark in the global efforts to acknowledge and address the concerns of persons with disabilities in a serious manner.


In India, our Constitution, through its Article 14, guarantees Right of Equality to all persons, including those with disabilities. In 1995, India enacted a specific Act to address this issue.


In the last few years, the awareness about this issue is growing rapidly in India. Two years ago, in 2016, an even more forward-looking Act on Rights of Persons with Disability was adopted in India.


A year prior to that, in 2015, the Government launched the ‘Accessible India Campaign’, aiming to achieve universal accessibility, barrier-free environment and an enabling physical and virtual eco-system to help persons with disabilities.


We, in India, are also in the process of implementing a project to create a national database for persons with disabilities and issue them Unique ID Cards that can facilitate government interventions in terms of education and employment.

 

The work of national governments, international agencies and the United Nations has always been complemented very ably by a range of very committed civil society groups.


In India, a longstanding innovation has been the ‘Jaipur Foot’, popularized by Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti, a non-profit social enterprise, headquartered at Jaipur, the capital of the state of Rajasthan in India.


It is among the largest organizations engaged in providing assistive technologies. The organization has worked with over 1.7 million persons with disabilities in 34 countries across the world.


They have provided invaluable assistance by providing totally free of charge, artificial limbs, feet and leg replacements called the ‘Jaipur Foot’, calipers, crutches, wheelchairs, hand-peddled tricycles and other aids and appliances.


The organization has now worked for half a century for this noble cause. While the technology behind such innovations has continued to improve, the ‘Jaipur Foot’ has provided much needed assistance to those who are among the most affected and those who have very limited resources to seek the kind of assistance that is needed by them. They truly are working to ensure no one is left behind.


In today’s age of constant change and improvements, frugal innovation makes things easier for people without disabilities, but for people with disabilities, innovation, however simple, makes things possible.


We are fortunate to have with us, today, a diverse panel who bring a variety of perspectives on the remarkable innovation that Jaipur Foot has been in helping people across the world over the last five decades.


I am particularly grateful for the presence of the many Permanent Representatives who have joined us to share their views and experiences on how various stakeholders are actively helping persons with disabilities live a life of dignity and purpose.