GUWAHATI, Aug 20 - Ira Singhal, the first physically challenged woman to top the UPSC 2014 and who has become an inspiration for all IAS aspirants, was felicitated by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi at a function organised by Shishu Sarothi on Thursday.
The Chief Minister, while expressing his delight to welcome the dauntless Ira, who refuses to allow her disability to get in the way to achieving success, said that disability cannot be a hurdle in realising one�s potential if the mind is strong.
Gogoi also observed that there is a lack of requisite infrastructure in the State to ensure accessibility to persons with disabilities and assured that the government will take up a special scheme for persons with disabilities.
�There is need to generate awareness amongst the people that persons with disabilities have the potential to contribute towards the betterment of society and sensitise it on the needs of the persons with disabilities,� said Gogoi while announcing an aid of Rs 25 lakh for Shishu Sarothi.
On the other hand, extending her gratitude for the honour and love showered on her, a visibly elated Ira called upon all, particularly the differently abled, not to let their disability bog them down. Ira, who was earlier denied a posting on account of her disability, said that she has always wanted to do something worthwhile for society.
�The present-day India is full of potential. And I would call upon the youth to take this opportunity and change the society for the better,� urged Ira, pointing out that to succeed in life one has to hold on to positivity and never allow any external factors to discourage or dissuade them from their goal.
It needs to be mentioned that back in 2010, though Ira had passed the IRS examination, she did not get a posting on the ground of her disability and she had to file her case in the Central Administrative Tribunal and won it after four years.
Ira, who has battled discrimination and emerged the winner, is of the opinion that though disability issues are getting attention now, there is still a lot to do to ensure the rights of the persons with disabilities.
�The public places, offices and transport have to be made accessible for persons with disabilities. Our schools are not disabled friendly. This scenario has to change and I believe the media can play an important role in changing this situation,� she said.
A BE and MBA, Ira also has the experience of working with the corporate sector and firmly believes that disability can be overcome with courage and determination.
The function was presided over by Arman Ali, executive director of Shishu Sarothi, and attended by many government officials, including MGVK Bhanu, Additional Chief Secretary, Govt of Assam.