Around the world, persons with disabilities face physical, social, economic and various other barriers that exclude them from participating completely and efficiently as equal members of society.
They are unreasonably represented amongst the world's poorest.They do not have an equal access to society or services, including education, employment, health care, transportation, political participation or justice as well as have a higher rate of mortality.
Also, they remained largely invisible in the mainstream development agenda and its processes. In India also, as per the Census 2001 over 21 million (around 2 %of total population) people are suffering from one or the other kind of disability.
Undoubtedly, this day is also observed in India with the same motto as UN and various organizations, NGOs and even government itself organize different programs and schemes to empower differently able persons and their inclusion in national main stream.
I would not like to discuss such schemes or programs, as the ground reality has not changed at all for disabled people. The first thing is lack of infrastructural accommodation suiting the basic need of such people, is not available in our country.
For example in any organization may it be an educational, health care, corporate office or entertainment, there is a visible absence of basic infrastructure for the mobility of these people. In transport also, there is no audible traffic signaling system for the blind people that makes them extremely dependent on the sympathetic emotion of people around them. Poor urban planning and no disable friendly vehicles have made it difficult for people with disabilities to navigate in roads of our cities in particular, our country in general.
The government has failed to create special positions for disabled people. They fail to land with a prestigious job even after going through the grind in the selection process. Even if there are any, it may be just be a handful of seats. Very rarely do we see disabled people in the corporate sectors as well.
The perennial problems of their social exclusion and their absence in the standard growth and progress schemes and its procedure are still in the same status.
So far as their ability is concerned, one example from a celebrity dance show in a national entertainment channel at present (Nach Baliye, Star Plus) is perhaps enough to confiscate any of the qualms and reservations.
The point is that till date, there has been only show off, of the observance of this day and lip service towards the differently abled people with eye washing initiatives.
Practically neither there has been any proper plans to accommodate their strength and ability and access their potential thereby making them empowering in the society nor any strong initiative to create strong awareness and generate considerations for these people.
Only artificial observance of this day has helped them recognize as disabled and has made them either sympathized or discarded.
And Breaking Barriers, Opening Doors, including them in the society and development for all seems a far reaching dream only. Isn't it??