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World Disability Day observed across Kashmir

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Srinagar, Dec 03: Various functions were held on Monday across Kashmir valley to observe the ‘World Disability Day’.

In Srinagar the main function was organised at GHSS Kothibagh which was presided over by Secretary Social Welfare Farooq Ahmad Lone. Speaking on the occasion he said that the Social Welfare Department is committed to provide scholarships, pension and public transport facilities to the specially-abled persons. Secretary also appreciated the work of ZaibaAapa School of Inclusive Education for their contribution towards the children with special needs.

Speaking at the function Director School Education Kashmir, Dr. G.N. Itoo said that 22525 specially-abled students are enrolled in Government and recognized private schools of the Kashmir Division. He said special emphasis is laid on their education and providing them with other facilities. The DSEK announced the “First Serve” facility to the persons with special needs in all the offices and schools of the Department. He said that a circular regarding “First Serve” will be issued soon and all the officers shall comply with the directions. DSEK said that this step is being taken to add to the dignity of these special persons and empowering them.

 

Joint Director Abid Hussain, Chief Education Officer Srinagar Mudasir Kaleem Fazili, principals from various higher secondary schools of Srinagar, teachers, students and a large number of specially-abled persons were also present on the occasion.

AT COMPOSITE REGIONAL CENTRE (CRC), Bemina, an awareness cum orientation programme and a distribution camp was organized to observe ‘World Disability Day’.

On this occasion, the students also performed various cultural programmes highlighting the social and legal needs of the specially-abled persons in the society.

The function was attended by number of Anganwadi Workers of Social Welfare Department J&K and specially-abled persons.

During these events Director CRC highlighted the aim, objectives, and welfare schemes for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs).

AT BANDIPORA, the Department of Education, Bandipora observed the Day with an aim to raise awareness about the rights of the individuals with special abilities and sensitize the people about their problems.

Speaking on the occasion, Deputy Commissioner Bandipora Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary stressed on providing better facilities to the children with special abilities so that they can get a better education. He said providing better education and healthcare facilities to such individuals should be the priority for all and assured that all required measures shall be taken to ensure a better education for these individuals.

He announced a special grant of Rs five lakh for improving the education facilities for the students with special abilities. He said Government has taken several measures for the welfare of the disabled persons from time to time, including financial assistance in the shape of pension, free education, free medical treatment, free travel, vocational programmes and other sops and a large number of people are availing these benefits.

AT ANANTNAG, similar functions were organized at various places across the District.  The main function was organized in Town Hall Anantnag by the Department of Social Welfare, Anantnag in collaboration with District Legal Services Authority (DLSA), Anantnag and South Kashmir Handicapped Association, in which a large number of physically challenged persons of the district participated.

Secretary DLSA, Anantnag was the Chief Guest on the occasion, while as ADDC, Anantnag was the guest of honor.

District Social Welfare Officer, Anantnag Dr Farhat Ahmad welcomed the Guests.

Secretary DLSA while addressing the audience said that efficient legal assistance shall be provided to the Specially-Abled Persons. She added that DLSA will provide all possible legal assistance to such persons. She added that such persons can bring their problems in her notice whenever they need.

ADDC, Anantnag Riyaz Ahmad Sofi while speaking on the occasion said that there are various special schemes for the welfare of Specially-Abled Persons and the deserving avail the benefits of these schemes.

South Kashmir Handicapped Persons Association submitted a list of demands to the administration regarding increase in financial assistance, increase in reservation of handicapped in government jobs, decrease of electricity charges, providing of free water connections, social welfare department to be asked for providing wheel chairs, tricycle, hearing machine, and crutches for their welfare.

Among others present on the occasion include Members of the Civil Society, Office Bearers of South Kashmir Handicapped Persons Association, Lawyers, Journalists, and Bankers and Educationists.

A similar function was organized by the Education Department Anantnag at DIET, Anantnag, in which a good number of physically challenged students participated.

The ADC, Anantnag, Showkat Ahmad, who was the Chief Guest on the occasion, stressed upon the society to encourage the differently abled children by way of providing them guidance and information about various government sponsored financial assistance and other aids like wheel chairs, hearing aids, wheel crutches and artificial limbs.

In the end of the event, the students participated in Naa’tiya competition and prizes were distributed among the participants.

AT BUDGAM, Deputy Commissioner Budgam, Dr Syed SehrishAsgar presided over the function organized at ANM School Khanpora Budgam.

Director Health Services, Kashmir, Dr Kunzes Dolma was also present on the occasion as a Guest of Honour. CMO Budgam, Dr Nazir Ahmad, MS JLNM Hospital Dr. Zakir Hussain, MS DH Budgam, Dr Deeba, doctors, teachers and other concerned were present on the occasion.

DC Budgam said that doctors have a pivotal role to play in facilitating this talented section of the populace and urged the society at large and audience in particular to make utmost efforts for empowerment of specially-abled persons by way of effective inclusion in the society and governance.

On the occasion Director Health Services, Kashmir spoke on the need of sanitization of health officials regarding the issues of disability and urged the officials to be more concerned and compassionate while dealing with differentially abled persons with a sense of empowering them.

AT BARAMULLA, District Legal Services Authority Baramulla organised a function here at District Court Complex. Principal District and Sessions Judge Rajesh Sekhri was the chief guest on the occasion.

School children with differently abled, lawyers, legal experts, paralegal volunteers, teachers, parents and various others participated in the programme.

On the occasion, various cultural programmes were held to depict their rights and obligations. Various speakers spoke at the event and threw light on the rights of these persons.

Speaking on the occasion, the chief guest called for better programs and policies to ensure equal opportunities for the differently abled. He said that most of them experience social denial and rejection and stressed upon them to identify their rights and oriented legislations meant to empower them. Moreover, he emphasized to raise awareness and educate different sections of the society for the same.

Secretary DLSA Faizan ul Haq Iqbal, who was the guest of honor at the event said that education and self-reliance is one of the most daunting tasks for people with learning disabilities. He said that special education for the specially-abled ones is the only tool for their empowerment besides presenting a detailed account of various oriented legislations and measures.

Later, prizes were distributed among the students for their felicitation who performed in several programmes.

AT SHOPIAN, a function was organized at Town Hall Shopian which witnessed overwhelming participation of physically disabled persons, senior citizens, school children, media persons and all officials of Social Welfare Department.

Speakers held detailed deliberations on theme of the day ‘Empowering persons with disabilities: ensuring inclusiveness and equality’.

ADDC Mohammad Salim Malik while referring to the theme of the day assured that priority shall be given to the specially-abled people under various developmental schemes.

Speaking on the occasion, the DSWO Shopian Mohammad Shafait added that the department is providing monthly pension of Rs 1000/month to 3100 specially-abled persons involving annual expenditure of Rs 3. 72 Cr.

“107 motorisedtricycles, 41 hearing aids, 12 crutches, 5-wheel chairs, 2 walking sticks have been provided to DAPs in last two years,” he further added.

During the function, 3 motorised tricycles and 9 hearing aids were distributed among identified physically disabled persons. A handicapped student of MFI Pinjoora was also felicitated during the function.


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Restoration of autonomy our principal objective: NC

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Srinagar, June 16:  Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Sunday said the party is not seeking anything novel or outside the ambit of constitution of India, saying the party is seeking the restoration of autonomy to the state.

National Conference senior leaders led by Party general secretary Haji Ali Muhammad Sagar addressed series of worker’s conventions at Ashmukam, Pahalgam and Khanabal Anantanag.

While addressing the workers, general secretary said that the party was not seeking anything new or unconstitutional. “We have been demanding for the restoration of the position that our state enjoyed until 1953. Our party is seeking the restoration of the position to the state that was achieved by our state through Delhi agreement. We are the only Muslim majority state of India; Maharaja’s accession with the union of India was purely restricted to certain areas. However what was achieved by the leadership of our party was unscrupulously eroded by the successive state governments after the unconstitutional and illegal arrest of Sher- e- Kashmir,” he said adding, “our state is not like any other state of India; the people at the helm of affairs in New Delhi should understand that they are dealing with an area, historically and geographically and in all manner of things with a certain background. They have to be men of vision and there has to be a broad minded acceptance of facts.”

 

Sagar while underscoring for the need of having dialogue with the disgruntled youth of the state said, “The idea of achieving long lasting peace in the state cannot be achieving by closing the doors for dialogue and reconciliation. The youth of our state have never felt so discontented and alienated as they are feeling now. The need of the hour calls for engaging with the youth. An earnest dialogue with the youth will inevitably prove fruitful towards increasing the prospects of peace and prosperity in the state.”

Sagar while exuding confidence into the workers said that PM Modi throughout his campaign in the run up of parliament elections racked up the names of Dr. Farooq and Omar Abdullah and criticized them all along his election campaign trail. “However people of Kashmir came out and attested to the policies of the party leadership. The victory of the party candidates from all the three constituencies of the state is reflective of the mood of the people. The people of Kashmir have considerably reposed their faith in the party for the sole purpose of protecting the interests of the state,” he said adding, “People have come to understand that there is no other credible and strong voice other than National Conference in the state that could put stiff resistance to the machinations of BJP, RSS and its henchmen in the state. The eloquent and forceful avowals of party vice president in the parliament are still alive in the explicit memories of people, who know how Omar sahib spoke when Mehbooba Ji failed to do so.”

Sagar further added that the forces as are inimical to the special status and integrity of the state were worried by the wave on ground in favor of National Conference and its leadership. “However there is scope for complacency, we have to keep on striving hard to achieve our goal. Our goal is explicit and clear, it is to protect the identity of the state and put the state back on the track of development and prosperity. Our principal objective is to work for the restoration of autonomy to the state. The move will go a long way in removing the cobwebs of mistrust between New Delhi and the state,” he said.

Among others party senior leaders Provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani, state secretary Sakina Itoo, district president Altaf Kaloo, south Zone president Dr. Bashir Ahmad Veeri, Pir Muhammad Hussain, Muhammad Shafi also addressed the workers and impressed upon them to effectively engage with the people.

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Judiciary for more welfare initiatives, better environment for Senior Citizens

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Srinagar, June 16:  Justice Sanjay Kumar Gupta, Judge Jammu and Kashmir High Court today said that Judiciary is committed to protect the rights and welfare of the senior citizens, for which serious efforts will be made to create a better atmosphere in the society for these special people.  The initiative for setting up of Ahatay Waqar was one of the steps taken in this direction.

Justice Gupta was speaking on a one-day training and capacity building Programme on “empowering the Senior Citizens” through Universal access to legal and social justice.      The event was organised by J&K State Legal Services Authority with the technical support from RRTC  Anugraha, Delhi.

Justice Gupta said that Chief Justice of J&K High Court, Justice Gita Mittal has been personally monitoring senior citizen friendly initiatives in the State and has guided the judiciary to set up Ahata Waqar, which is to institutionalize efforts for the benefits of the elderly population.

 

“The week-long campaign to sensitize the population in all districts of the state regarding rights of senior citizens show the seriousness of judiciary regarding the issue. We want that every youngster in the state should be aware of the rights of senior citizens and also respect elderly people to avoid any abuse,” said Gupta.

Principal District and Sessions Judge, Srinagar, Abdul Rashid Malik presented the vote of thanks and hailed efforts of everybody who organized and participated in the week-long campaign—Ageing with Dignity.

“This sensitization program is a new beginning to acknowledge the sacrifices of the elderly population and our duties towards them. Senior citizens don’t only need financial help but emotional support like a newborn baby. They need to be empowered through legal and social support. Some of the skilled senior citizens could be encouraged to pursue their skills,” said Malik.

Dr Abha Chowdhary, Resource Person from New Delhi congratulated J&K State Legal Service Authority for organizing the campaign in all districts and sensitizing youth about the rights and the protection of elders from abuse.

“Ahatay Waqar is a pilot project of Chief Justice Gita Mittal,which was responded extremely positively as senior citizens are very happy. This pilot project should be replicated in other districts as well,” said Chowdhary.

The event was attended by Sanjay Dhar, Registrar General, J&K, High Court, Abdul Rashid Malik, Principal District and Sessions Judge, Srinagar, Mohammad Akram Choudhary, Member Secretary, J&K State Legal Services Authority, Adnan Sayeed, Secretary DLSA Srinagar, Dr. Abha Chowdhry, Chairperson, Anugraha, New Delhi, Judges from all over Kashmir Province.

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‘NAAC-accredited colleges swelled from 13 to 30’

Hr. Edu Deptt clarifies reports on accreditation of Degree Colleges

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Srinagar, June 16:  The Department of Higher Education has clarified a news story regarding NAAC accreditation of Degree Colleges in Jammu and Kashmir.

“It is clarified that assessment norms of the NAAC have undergone certain changes in recent times under which obtaining higher grades of A and A ++ and also maintaining earlier NAAC gradings of educational institutions have become a challenge for the Higher Education institutions. 70% of the assessment is virtually machine driven and in this process local difficulties and vagaries can easily miss deserving consideration. Accordingly, this concern is under a frank and open discussion at the national level and hence is not outside the purview of revision,” an official statement said.

“Since the NAAC accreditation has been made a precondition for receiving financial assistance of national level bodies including UGC, RUSA, etc, the state of Jammu and Kashmir has taken the challenge of getting all it’s eligible higher education institutions accredited at the hands of assessing agencies like NAAC, NIRF, AICTE, NBA etc within the timeline of 2022 set as a national level target,” the statement said.

 

“The Department of Higher Education is conscious that the newly established colleges shall require substantial time to achieve perfection with regard to the seven main criterions of NAAC assessment. These colleges being in infancy cannot be expected to have well-established systems for student placements, corporate MoUs, IT-supported academic transactions, skilling and vocational development of students, state of the art and inter-disciplinary research lab facilities which are some benchmarks for fetching highest NAAC grades,” it said.

“The Department derives the satisfaction that the NAAC authorities have established a special cell at its Bangalore headquarters to facilitate the degree colleges of the state of Jammu and Kashmir to sail through the mandatory stages of submission of IIQA, Student Satisfaction Survey, Data Verification and Validation, Submission of Self Study Report and NAAC peer team visits etc which require a lot of honest effort and dedication of stakeholders including students, teachers, support staff, parents, alumni and the administrative department. The Department also records its appreciation for the newly established colleges for having exhibited the passion and courage for presenting themselves for NAAC accreditation despite their difficulties and challenges with regard to infrastructure, permanent faculty and student support systems.

The Department is honestly committed to providing support and necessary handholding to all the higher education institutions in their journey and aspirations for achieving excellence in all aspects of their functioning. The Department is proudly announcing that because of the efforts of all the stakeholders the number of accredited colleges with various NAAC rankings has swelled from 13 odd (April 2019) to around 30 at present while all remaining eligible colleges are at various stages of the accreditation process,” the statement added.

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