State Minister Asks For Sign Language To Be Made Official

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Indian sign language should be made official, said the state minister for empowerment and social justice on the first International Day of Sign Languages.

He said that he would request the home minister for inclusion of sign languages in the official languages of India.

As per a survey conducted in 2011, there are almost 20 lakh and 50 lakh people with speech disability and hearing disability in India. The president of National Association of Deaf asked the social justice ministry to provide official language status to the sign languages. This is why the state minister said “We will write to the home minister to convey your sentiments.”

He further added that for the speech and hearing impaired people in the society, sign language serves as the ultimate source of education, integration and livelihood. This is why sign language should be given proper attention.

Secretary of DEPwD said, “I have written to all central ministries and departments asking them to appoint a sign language interpreter for all official programmes so that no one is excluded because of lack of access to communication.”

She further said that the department is trying to consult an expert committee, in order to identify and find possibilities for livelihood and education, so that the deaf and speech impaired people could grow into professionally prominent positions.

Many concerns were also discussed regarding the language training for sign language interpreters. Responding to these, joint secretary of DEPwD said, “The Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre was started in 2015 with the idea of creating a pool of people trained in sign languages. We hope to send our students to volunteer and see our trained students become the solution for those looking for interpreters.”

She also suggested that by March 2019, 3,000 new words (legal, medical, technical and academic) would be added to the Indian sign language dictionary. This would capture local traditions as well as cultural considerations in communication. The videos are also subtitled.

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