Friday, May 24, 2013

I congratulate Sankara Nethralaya Academy for rendering yeomen service by Hon'ble Speaker, Lok Sabha, Smt. Meira Kumar

I congratulate Sankara Nethralaya Academy for rendering yeomen service by Hon'ble Speaker, Lok Sabha, Smt. Meira Kumar

 It gives me great pleasure to be amidst you at this meeting of the Parliamentary Forum on Population and Public Health. This Forum provides a platform for the Hon’ble members to interact with Ministers concerned, experts and key officials from nodal Ministries. The discussions here are invaluable in understanding pertinent issues more deeply, creating awareness and preparing future strategies. Today Dr. Tarun Sharma of Sankara Nethralay Academy will be making a presentation on 'Combating Blindness in India'.


As per the Rapid assessment of Blindness survey conducted in 2006-07, about one percent of our population is suffering from blindness.  The National Programme for the Control of Blindness, started in the year 1976, seeks to reduce this prevalence of blindness to 0.3 per cent through identification and treatment of blind, developing human resource for this purpose, improving quality of service delivery and securing participation of voluntary organisations in eye care. However, government’s initiatives alone are not sufficient and need to be supplemented by doctors, private hospitals, non-governmental organizations and self help groups.  All the stakeholders have to collectively strive to light a ray of hope in the lives of those who live in darkness.


I congratulate Sankara Nethralaya Academy for rendering yeomen service for combating blindness in India.  ‘Excellence through Knowledge’ as I have learnt, is their moto. To fulfill this, they are reaching out to people, spreading knowledge and creating awareness.  Let me take this opportunity to compliment each and every person at the Academy especially Dr. S.S. Badrinath, Dr. Tarun Sharma, Dr. Vasanthi Badrinath and Dr. S. Bhaskaran for their dedication, initiative and research which has allowed many to see this beautiful world.  I am convinced that the Academy, under the guidance of these eminent personalities, will continue to serve the people in the years to come.


In our society, visual impairment is largely looked upon as a disability of an individual. I firmly believe that the differently abled persons have unique abilities and are as capable as anyone else but it is the social prejudices, structures and practices which inhibit them from realizing their full potential. Therefore, we have to transform our mindsets and focus on creating a conducive environment for them to achieve excellence. Reorientation of laws and policies, together with a change in societal attitudes towards the visually impaired, is the need of the hour.

I am confident that today’s deliberations on ‘Combating Blindness in India’ will be instrumental in enabling us to gain an insight into this problem. These inputs will be critical for not only discussing governmental policies and initiatives but also for recommending corrective measures.  I hope that the future meetings of this very important Forum will come out with valuable suggestions and recommendations on this issue of concern to all of us.

Thank you.

Hon'ble Speaker, Lok Sabha, Smt. Meira Kumar


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