NEW DELHI: Stepping up the outreach to empower government functionaries to build inclusive communities and accessible public and social infrastructure in the health and education sectors for persons with disabilities, the ministry of social justice and empowerment on Tuesday launched training modules focused on in-service training and sensitisation of key functionaries of the central and state governments and local bodies.
Through 700 institutes linked to the Rehabilitation Council of India, it is proposed to train around 10,000 key functionaries, from the grassroots level to the senior most in government, every year through short-term training programmes. The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) will now be implementing this scheme all over the country.
The training modules have been developed by Rehabilitation Council of India (RCI) which comes under the purview of the DEPwD. The target groups include health and allied professionals, education functionaries, grassroot level functionaries like the ASHAs and anganwadi workers, senior and mid – level functionaries including introductory modules in English and Hindi with pictorial and graphic designs.
Releasing the modules at a programme in the Capital, minister for social justice and empowerment, Dr. Virendra Kumar informed that the training modules developed by RCI for the six target groups will be instrumental in sensitising the government functionaries at different levels and other stakeholders to deal with the persons with disabilities effectively. DEPwD officials that 12000 government functionaries have been sensitised till date on various aspects of disabilities. However these targeted modules now give the outreach a standardised framework and is focussed on different groups.
For instance in the module for grassroot level functionaries, the chapters elaborate on the role they can play for early detection of disability, guidance to assessment, therapy and treatment. For grassroots workers the sensitisation involves providing them an insight into the challenges the parents face and how important it is to understand that. It is also detailed as to how families can be guided through the process to apply and access a disability certificate and varied schemes.
The modules on health and education talk of accessibility to not just infrastructure but also information for a person to access the schemes and facilities. The health module also dwells on mental health of PwDs and the often ignored but critical subject of reproductive health and rights. The module also brings focus on the women with disability and the challenges they face due to higher vulnerability to abuse and exploitation.
The module for mid- and senior-level functionaries including IAS officers puts out a wider canvass of the legal and policy framework and the interlinkages between the law securing the rights of PwDs and those for women, children and health.

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