All government press conferences and meetings may soon have sign language interpreters
A sign language interpreter could soon be a new addition to all press conferences and government meetings. All ministries were asked this month to implement this soon, News18 has learned.
Sign language interpreters can be seen at press conferences in Western countries. Incidentally, this is a mandatory requirement under the Disability Rights Act 2016 in India as well, but it is rarely followed in practice.
“The law mandates the relevant government to create a barrier-free environment for persons with disabilities in physical infrastructure, transportation, information and communication technology, and other facilities and services. It is therefore incumbent on the government to ensure that all public information relating to each sector is accessible to all categories of persons with disabilities, including persons with hearing impairments,” said the secretary of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan ), Anjali Bhawra wrote to all ministries on June 2. News18 has a copy of the letter.
She added that, since sign language is one of the preferred modes of communication for people with hearing loss, “it will be very appropriate to provide sign language interpretation in every meeting/seminar/workshop, including press briefings, organized by Ministries/Departments/their organisations.
The letter further states that a letter requesting the same was sent to all ministries in 2018 by his predecessor and another was written by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Dr. Virendra Kumar , to all ministers in October last year.
“I would be grateful if you could issue appropriate instructions to all concerned, including organizations under your administrative control, to ensure the availability of sign language interpretation at meetings/seminars/workshops/press briefings Actions taken in this regard can be kindly communicated to this department,” Bhawra wrote.
To guide the ministries, Bhawra said the government has set up the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Center (ISLRTC) with the aim of promoting the use of this non-verbal communication in the country.
“Ministries/departments can take technical support from this institute for the provision of sign language interpretation during their meetings/workshops/seminars/press briefings,” its letter said.
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