Move to set up sign language research centre hailed

K. Murali  

Karthik Madhavan

‘There is a need for a common sign language with necessary variations'

COIMBATORE: People with hearing impairment and organisations working for such persons have welcomed the Union Government's Budget announcement to set up an Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC).

Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said, “The allocation (of Rs. 4,500 crore) will also assist in establishing an Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre for the benefit of the hearing impaired.”


Welcoming the announcement as well as the increased allocation for Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, M.N.G. Mani, secretary general, International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment, says the ISLRTC will help standardise sign language, which varies across India.

Unlike American or British sign language, India does not have a standard sign language and there is a need for a common sign language, with necessary variations, though.

It will help the challenged people across India communicate easily, he says and asks for a similar standardisation in lip reading as well.

It is all the more necessary as India is a signatory to United Nations Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Mr. Mani along with a couple of others came up with a Indian Sign Language Dictionary during his stint at the Faculty of Disability Management and Special Education, Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University, Coimbatore.

R. Rangasayee, director, Ali Yavar Jung National Institute For The Hearing Impaired, Mumbai, says the Institute will help meet the shortfall of sign language teachers and interpreters.

In his estimate the hearing impaired community in India needs about 9,000 teachers or trainers – one for every block and also master trainers. Disagreeing with the need to standardise sign language, which he says evolves like any other language, Mr. Rangasayee suggests compiling the regional variations to be taught to persons with hearing impairment, teachers and interpreters.

Improve quality

K. Murali, director, DEAF LEADERS, Coimbatore, says the setting up of the ISLRTC will improve the quality of sign language teaching.

The differently abled and support organisations are also looking forward to the announcement of Chief Minister M. Karunanaidhi who recently said the government would consider creating a separate ministry for challenged people.