New Delhi: President Pratibha Patil on Friday
presented the national awards for the empowerment of persons
with disabilities in 13 categories, ranging from best
differently ables employee to best accessible website.
"The awards are for those individuals and institutions
who have overcome enormous odds posed by their disabilities,
to excel in various fields," Patil said.
The award, given to 53 people, comprised Rs one lakh in
cash, a medal, citation and certificate.
Highlighting that India was was among the first countries
to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with
Disabilities, Patil said, "Our ratification demonstrates our
resolve to move forward on the agenda to provide
differently-abled citizens with an environment that enables
them to participate in the various activities of society".
Underscoring the need to remove physical barriers that do
not allow persons with disabilities to access various
facilities and services, Patil said, "as a component of their
right to education, school buildings should be made free from
physical barriers for children with special needs".
Among this year`s best employee awardees is Ashish Goyal
who turned blind at the age of 9 but went on to acquire an MBA
degree from Wharton school in the US. Presently employed as a
manager with J P Morgan Chase bank, he is the first blind
trader to work with the international firm.
"It is a very special award. Recognition of this kind
from the country is just an amazing feeling. Such recognition
and encouragement will give others a chance to emulate," Goyal
Neha Pawaskar, a blind HAM radio operator, was also
awarded in this category as she possesses a rare combination
of skill and talent in outdoor sports activities like
mountaineering and swimming.
The President gave away the award to the best accessible
website to the Ministry of Finance for its effort of making
the website easy to access for those with disabilities.
Patil was of the view that besides a robust policy
framework, there was a need to have an efficient and effective
delivery mechanism and that the state and Central governments
must partner with the private sector to create an inclusive