General Assembly General Assembly

Statement by

Ms. Shakuntala Doley Gamlin, Secretary

Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities


11th Conference of State Parties to the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities

“Leaving no one behind through the full implementation of the CRPD”

June 12, 2018


Mr. President,


Thank you very much for giving me the floor. I congratulate you and other members of the bureau for their excellent work in organizing this Conference.


Mr. President,


The theme of this conference of “leaving no one behind through the full implementation of the CRPD” is of particular relevance in the context of making our collective aspiration enshrined in Agenda 2030 a reality.


With 1 in 5 of the world’s poorest people living with disabilities, empowerment of persons with disabilities is the touchstone for measuring inclusive social and economic progress.


Mr. President,


Complementarity between the Sustainable Development Goals and the the Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities is well recognized.


Promotion of  equality of opportunity and non-discrimination of persons with disabilities; focusing on women and children with disabilities; mainstreaming accessibility requirements so that persons with disabilities enjoy the right to independent living and participate in all aspects of life, are some such areas of synergy that needs attention.


Mr. President,


The Indian Constitution guarantees freedom, justice and equality of all individuals including persons with disabilities and lays down the foundation for an inclusive society. Fulfilling the constitutional mandate, India enacted a specific legislation to address this issue in 1995.


While different Governments across the world have been taking a range of measures to promote and protect the rights persons with disabilities, the adoption of CRPD in 2006 was a quantum leap. India was amongst the first countries to ratify the Convention. 


Mr. President,


Prime Minister Modi has shown personal commitment and leadership in generating greater awareness and removing social stigma while taking concrete measures to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities. He has also coined the term ‘Divyangjan’ to address the persons with disabilities, which means persons with divine qualities.


A landmark Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act has come into effect in 2017. This Act has expanded the ambit of our intervention by including developmental and intellectual disabilities in addition to locomotor disabilities.


With the aim of channelizing the inventive and innovative spirits of persons with disabilities and to make them equal partners in progress, the Act also provides for reservation in employment, educational institutions and in poverty alleviation schemes, as well as allotment of land for housing and loans for setting up businesses at concessional rate of interest.


Our partnerships with the private sector in ensuring employment for persons with disabilities have been mutually beneficial and fruitful.


The Accessible India Campaign was launched by the Prime Minister in 2015 for barrier-free access in public spaces and in virtual ecosystems. Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act also mandates the Government to frame standards for accessibility in built environments, transport systems, information and communication technologies and in other public services.


Mr. President,


Providing access to quality healthcare services and early interventions into the causes of disabilities has been our priority. Recently the Government has launched “Ayushman Bharat: National Health Protection Scheme” which includes provisions for health insurance protection for persons with disabilities.

The Government is implementing schemes for providing contemporary aids and assistive devices to persons with disabilities. During the last four years, the Government has distributed aids and devices benefitting about one million persons with disabilities. Support is also provided for Cochlear Implant Surgery for children with hearing disability.


There are dedicated programmes to provide scholarships at various levels, including for pursuing professional and technical education in institutions of excellence in India and abroad.

Promoting research, training and delivery of services to persons with disabilities is a priority. Launching of an Indian Sign Language Research & Training Centre and an Indian Sign Language Dictionary with three thousands terms and expressions are important milestones.


In 2016, India became the first country to ratify the 2013 Marrakesh Treaty that aims to facilitate access to published works for visually impaired persons. The same year, India launched an online library of accessible books.

Initiatives are undertaken to adapt Yoga and traditional forms of Indian medicines to foster greater well-being for persons with disabilities.


Mr. President,


Data on persons with disabilities is fundamental to policy formulation, implementation and evaluation. With a view to create a scientific database for persons with disabilities, the Government has undertaken implementation of Unique Disability ID project for creation of a national database and for issuing unique disability ID cards.


Mr. President,


India remains firmly committed to building enabling environment for the persons with disabilities to ensure life of dignity and purpose and for catalysing their contribution to social and economic development in India.

 In the run up to this Conference, a special event was organized to commemorate half a century of Jaipur Foot, an affordable innovation that has helped millions across the globe. During this Conference we will be participating in a side-event that would highlight the role of mobile technology to empower persons with disabilities.


We are ready to work with the international community and all stakeholders for inclusive sustainable growth to ensure that no one is left behind.


I thank you, Mr. President.