"The disabilities act, 1995, is being amended in accordance to the United Nations convention. The cabinet has recently approved the amendments and I am confident that in the next parliament session we would get it passed," she said at Samarth, a function organised to showcase the special abilities of disabled children here.

This amended bill, which seeks to replace the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, attempts to bring India in line with the 21st century understanding of the issue as captured in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which India has ratified.

"We have to understand that every person has his or her own needs and abilities," Gandhi said, adding that disabled children should be connected to the mainstream and their issues be made a part of development policies of the society and government.

As per the 2011 census, there are 2.68 crore persons with disabilities and they constitute 2.22 percent of the over-110 crore population of India.

Gandhi said it is the solidarity of the disabled that should be given credit if the government and society have made some progress towards providing opportunities to them.

"There is a need to develop self-confidence among the disabled. We have to still make a lot of efforts to ensure their human rights and freedom," she said, while noting that the issues of disabled are now treated only as medical issues.

"The disabled persons should not be kept aloof from the society. We will have to ensure that they take their place within the mainstream of the society and become its integral part," she added.

In her address, Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Kumari Selja underlined the role of media in creating awareness on disability issues.


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