A seminar, a workshop, a conference, anything you name it, in-depth discussions, critical debates and methodological analyses on critical issues are part of the routine activities a University. Having the reputation of one of the thriving, premier higher-educational Institutions in the Country, University of Hyderabad has been one of the most auspicious host for several such analytical exercises. However, a fascinating policy dialogue on the implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act 1995, hosted by the Empowered Committee for Differently Abled persons, on 12th June 2013 would probably go into records as one of the rarest academic outreach programmes that the University has conducted in the recent past.
Shri Prasanna Kumar Pincha (the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Department of Disability Affairs, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India) was the Chief Guest. Prof. Ramakrishna Ramaswamy (Vice-Chancellor, UOH) inaugurated the interactive session. The event saw an exciting participation of visually-challenged persons from all over the State. All differently abled research scholars of the University, including some alumni, participated in the deliberations. The enthusiasm among the differently abled community of the campus was so intense that a large contingent of them even cut short their vacation and traveled to Hyderabad exclusively to take part in the event.
Some of the issues that were discussed included:
1) The need for the Government to create enough awareness about the provisions of persons with disabilities (equal opportunities, protection of rights and full-participation) act 1995.
2) Persons with disabilities should themselves be made part of all policy-making and policy-implementing bodies when it comes to taking-care of their special needs.
3) Barrier-free environment is one of the primary concerns for every institution trying to accommodate persons with disabilities, and this should be addressed on a priority basis. UoH Vice-Chancellor admitted that a large part of campus is inaccessible to differently abled persons and that honest efforts are on to address this particular need in a time-bound manner. In this regard he requested the Government to actively look into the proposal that University has already submitted to the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India.
Some of the prominent guests who participated in the meet were: Mrs. Christine lazarus (Member of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly), Shri Seetarama Sastry (Founder and Managing Trustee of the Samrita Trust), Shri G. Ravindra Babu (the founder and President of Visually-challenged Employees Association), Prof. Sharma (Dean of Student Welfare, UoH), Prof. A Bhuyan (Chairman, Empowered Committee for Differently Abled persons, UoH) and Shri N. Annavaram (member, Empowered Committee for Differently Abled Persons, UoH).