Date: Dec 21, 2023 Time: 09:30 AM
Empowering People with Disabilities: Innovations and Policies for Inclusion

This event is a platform to explore vital themes related to education, employment, innovation, and assistive technologies, striving towards the goal of an inclusive society where persons with disabilities are acknowledged as equal contributors to national growth and innovation.

The panel discussions will cover the following themes:

1. Championing Disability Inclusion to make India a Growth and Innovation Powerhouse
2. Legal and Policy Framework to Promote Inclusion of Individuals with Disabilities
3. Assistive Technology to Unlock Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities

Programme

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09:30 - 10:00 (IST)

Registration and Reception

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10:00 - 10:30 (IST)

Inaugural Session

Welcome Address

Sunaina Kumar, Senior Fellow, ORF 

Theme Address

Noopur Jhunjhunwala, Co-Founder and CEO, ChangeInkk Foundation

Keynote Address

Abhishek Singh, Additional Secretary, MeitY

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10:30 - 11:15 (IST)

Panel 1: Championing Disability Inclusion to make India a Growth and Innovation Powerhouse

More than 70 percent of persons living with disabilities in India are outside the labour force, according to the International Labour Organization. Apart from being an urgent human rights crisis, this also represents a lost opportunity for India to tap into the unmet potential of these individuals. Organisations that have begun practicing the inclusion of persons with disabilities (PwD) in their workforce have reported numerous benefits including increased employee performance, shareholder value, and an acceleration of innovation, productivity, and growth. The panel will focus on how India can champion disability inclusion and harness the skills and abilities of this group to become a powerhouse of growth and innovation. 

Driving Questions:

  1. What are the barriers for the disabled community in the corporate sector and the innovation ecosystem? 
  2. How can the private sector drive disability inclusion at the workplace?
  3. What is the driving force needed to encourage entrepreneurs and innovators to succeed?

Speakers

Nipun Malhotra, Co-founder, Nipman Foundation and External Expert, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Boston Consulting Group

Deepika Ghosh, Lead, Employment and Entrepreneurship, ChangeInkk Foundation

Kartik Sawhney, Co-founder, I-Stem

Moderator

Rashi Soman, Founding team member, v-shesh



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11:15 - 11:30 (IST)

Tea/Coffee Break

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11:30 - 11:40 (IST)

Keynote Address

A. Srija, Economic Advisor, Department of School Education and Literacy

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11:40 - 12:25 (IST)

Panel 2: Legal and Policy Framework to Promote Inclusion of Individuals with Disabilities

In recent years in India, legal and policy frameworks have seen shifts to empower individuals with disabilities. For instance, the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 is guided by the principles of non-discrimination and equality, and mandates equal opportunity for persons with disabilities across the domains of education, employment, access to information, services and built environment, as well as their participation in social life. Similarly, the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020, has prioritised the inclusion of persons with disabilities at the core of their SEDG interventions. However, many gaps remain in enabling PwDs to reach their full potential. Policies and mandates continue to provide interventions from a welfare lens. We need a shift in perspective to ensure that individuals with disabilities not only survive but thrive as equal citizens. 

Driving Questions: 

  1. What are some of the key policy mandates in education, skilling, employment to drive inclusion of persons with disabilities?
  2. What policy changes are required to enable people with disabilities to thrive?
  3. How can the private sector and civil society work with policy makers to create more inclusive ecosystems for the disabled?

Speakers

Arman Ali, Executive Director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment of Disabled People (NCPEDP)

Geet Oberoi, Founder & President of Orkids Education Systems

Rachna Singh, National Project Coordinator, SPARK Disability Project ILO, New Delhi 

Rahul Bajaj, Co-founder at Mission Accessibility and Attorney at Ira Law

Moderator

Noopur Jhunjhunwala, Co-Founder and CEO, ChangeInkk Foundation 

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12:25 - 12:35 (IST)

Keynote Address

Anil Sahasrabudhe, Chairperson National Educational Technology Forum and National Assessment and Accreditation Council

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12:35 - 13:20 (IST)

Panel 3: Assistive Technology to Unlock Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities

Assistive technologies are crucial to the mainstreaming and success of persons with disabilities. There is a growing demand not just from the PwD community but also from the broader society for products and services that prioritise inclusivity. Investing in assistive technologies positions India not only to meet its domestic demand but also to contribute significantly to the global economy. This strategic step presents an opportunity to create products and services that help build more equitable ecosystems for persons with disabilities. 

Driving Questions: 

  1. What is the market opportunity for assistive technology in India?
  2. What are some of the success stories around accessibility and assistive technology from India?
  3. How can the accessibility innovation ecosystem of startups be built up along with the workforce opportunities?

Speakers

Homiyar Mobedji, Program Management - Asia and Africa at Benetech

Himanshu Khurana, CEO, CogniAble

Richa Gupta, Assistant Professor and Head, Human-Centered Design, IIIT Delhi

Aparajita Singh, Lead for Higher Education, Changelnkk Foundation

Moderator

Munish Bhatia, Co-Founder, India Accelerator

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13:20 - 13:30 (IST)

Closing Session

Vote of Thanks

Oommen C Kurian, Senior Fellow & Head of Health Initiative at ORF

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13:30 - 14:30 (IST)

Lunch

Venue Address

Multipurpose Hall, India International Centre, New Delhi