Government to decide on inclusion of sign language for Republic Day parade telecast

Updated - May 13, 2016 10:41 am IST

Published - January 19, 2014 08:50 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Government has convened a meeting on Monday to decide on inclusion of sign language during live telecast of Republic Day Parade on channels of Doordarshan.

As of now, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has agreed to include sign language for interpretation of Republic Day Parade on three channels of public broadcaster Doordarshan – DD Bharti, DD News and DD Urdu.

However, Disabled Rights Groups activists point out that all private channels take feed from DD National which had not been included in the list. India is home to more than 18 million deaf people. When India ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), India made a promise to the world that it would ensure that deaf people are treated equally and enjoy the same rights as other Indian citizens, DRG convenor, Javed Abidi said.

However, since Independence and even after the ratification of UNCRPD in 2007, the deaf community has been completely excluded when it comes to being a part of national celebrations such as Republic Day or Independence Day. There has never been an accessible live telecast via sign language interpretation or even captioning in the history of our country.

Monday’s meeting has been convened to decide on whether sign language interpretation can be telecast on all six channels of Doordarshan. The secretary-level meeting will be represented by the Ministries of Information and Broadcasting, Social Justice and Empowerment, and Defence and Prasar Bharati and Doordarshan.

“Our only demand is to make the telecast of Republic Day ceremony accessible via sign language interpretation on all the 6 channels of Doordarshan, especially on DD National. This is a sensitive matter which is close to our heart. We do not want any tokenism. We will not sit quiet till our demand is met. Our realistic, simple demand is absolutely non-negotiable,” Mr Abidi said.

Meanwhile, former MP and Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat has also written to the I and B Minister, Manish Tewari in support of the demand of the differently abled groups. By signing and ratifying the United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) India has made a solemn commitment to make television programmes accessible to the disabled. Let us make a significant start on this Republic Day, she said.

Appreciating the fact that the Ministry has agreed to make the telecast of Republic Day Parade on DD Bharti, DD News and DD Urdu accessible for the deaf via sign language interpreters for the first time, Mr Karat, however, said the majority of private channels also use the feed from the DD National. It is therefore important this facility is available in accessible format for the deaf on the major channels of DD, especially DD National.

“This would send a clear signal that they are not being discriminated against and will be treated equally and enjoy the same rights as other citizens.”

“I have spoken to the Defence Minister, Shri A.K. Antony and am happy to inform you that his ministry has no objection if sign language interpretation is provided on the national channel as well and that the I&B Ministry had sought clearance for three channels only for DD Bharati, DD News and DD Urdu,” she wrote.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.