World Disability Day: MHRD to reimburse transportation costs, books and uniforms of children with disabilities, Satyapal Singh

World Disability Day: Satyapal Singh: There are around 12 million people with disability, just 1% go to schools

As March 3 is observed as World Disability Day, as part of the Union Government’s efforts to ameliorate the sufferings of the children with disability, the Union Minister of Human Resource Development, Government of India, Satyapal Singh has announced a slew of sops.

Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development, Government of India.

Speaking on the sidelines of Helen Keller Awards 2018 on the eve of World Disability Day on December 2, 2018, promoted by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People and Mind Tree, Singh had informed the schools across the country that the MHRD will reimburse the money spent by the schools like transportation cost of the children, spend on books and uniforms. In addition to that, the girl children who have disability will receive Rs.200 a month from the Ministry. “From this academic session, the MHRD has directed all schools across India that 5% admission for the disabled children in all educational institutions in the country.”

1.2 million disabled people

Lamenting that there were in excess of 12 million persons with disability in India, out of which, unfortunately, hardly 1% go to schools. “These specially challenged persons do not require either courtesy or compassion, rather the real empowerment would come about only through education. But the biggest challenge before us is the fact that how we can go about it to ensure that people with disability enrol themselves in the schools and it is a humongous challenge indeed,” Singh pointed out.

Stating that the Government’s top priority was to make sure that the rights of specially challenged persons are ensured, Singh went on to add that in order to help these people, we not only look for supporters but also ambassadors, who take up the cause of the rights of the disabled persons in the country.

NCPEDP-Mindtree Helen Keller Awards

Disabled children, Photo: NCEPD.

The story of the Helen Keller Awards started way back in 1999 as a result of the findings of a survey conducted of the leading 100 firms of India by the NCPEDP. The results showed that the average percentage of employment of people with disabilities was: in the public sector: 0.54%, in the private sector: 0.28% and in the multinationals: 0.05%. While the situation has improved to some extent in the past decade and a half, we are still not even close to covering half the percentage of persons with disabilities living in the country, as per NCPEDP.


The objective of the NCPEDP Helen Keller Awards was to start a discourse on equal opportunities for persons with disabilities in the area of employment at a time when no one was even thinking about it. Organisations and employees with disabilities would become brand ambassadors for the cause of employment of persons with disabilities and take the momentum forward and role models would be identified and celebrated in an attempt to motivate and encourage others. Over the years, these Awards have come to be recognised as the most prestigious Indian benchmark for honouring people and organisations which have been working towards promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The Awards are given under three categories:

Category A: Role Model Disabled Person

Disabled persons from within the disability sector and outside who have been active as ambassadors of the cause of employment for disabled people and are a positive role model for others.

Category B: Role Model Supporter of Increased Employment Opportunities for Disabled People

Individuals from within the disability sector or outside who have contributed substantially to the cause of promoting employment opportunities for disabled people over an extended period of time.

Category C: Role Model Companies/NGOs/Institutions

Organisations from the disability sector or outside who have shown their commitment towards promoting equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

The NCPEDP-Shell Helen Keller Awards were given away for a continuous period of 15 years from the year 1999 to 2013. After the 15th edition of the Awards, a decision was taken to phase out these Awards as the NCPEDP thought they had outlived their lifespan. However, there was an unexpected and overwhelming response and feedback both from the disability sector as well as from the corporate world urging not discontinue the Awards. Therefore, after a gap of one year (2014), the Awards were continued. The 16th edition of the Awards (2015) was sponsored by Lemon Tree Hotels.

Conferred every year on December 2 – the eve of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the NCPEDP Helen Keller Awards since 2016 are being supported by Mindtree Limited, a company passionate about creating equal employment opportunities and an enabling work environment for persons with disabilities..

The NCPEDP is a cross-disability, non-profit organisation, working as an interface between the Government, Industry, International Agencies, and the Voluntary Sector towards empowerment of persons with disabilities. What is more, the NCPEDP advocates for the need to move away from traditionally held views of charity and welfare to those of productivity and enabling of disabled people.

Registered in 1996, the NCPEDP has since then, successfully advocated several policy changes that have positively impacted the lives of people with disabilities, working across to encourage employment of disabled people; increase public awareness on the issue of disability; empower disabled people with knowledge, information and opportunities; and ensure easy and convenient access to all public places, products, services and technologies.

The mandate at NCPEDP are as follows:

  • Encourage employment of people with disabilities
  • Increase public awareness on disability issues
  • Empower people with disabilities through appropriate legislation
  • Ensure public places are accessible to all

Headquartered in New Delhi, NCPEDP has a pan India presence through the National Disability Network (NDN). Formed in 1999, NDN has members from majority States and Union Territories across the country.

NCPEDP has also constituted the National Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (NCRPD) consisting of disability sector leaders and experts from across the country, that meets at regular intervals to discuss ongoing pertinent issues relevant to people with disabilities, and to plan a strategy to address the same.

NCPEDP works on six core principles, also called the six pillars of the organisation:

  • Education
  • Employment
  • Legislation/Policy
  • Awareness/ Communication
  • Youth

The NCPEDP believes that Employment is not possible without Education. Employment and Education are not possible without Accessibility. Employment, Education, and Accessibility need to be supported by appropriate Legislation and Policy, and it becomes imperative to create Awareness in order to achieve any of the above. Most importantly, we believe that the Youth will be the driving force behind all such initiatives. For details, you can send mail to : /

Life of Helen Keller

Helen Adams Keller was an American author, political activist, and lecturer. She was the first deaf-blind person to earn a bachelor of arts degree.