An autonomous sign language institute would soon be established in the country with the government approving a proposal in this regard that would help around 13 lakh deaf and hearing impaired people.
For the first five years, the Indian Sign Language Research & Training Centre (ISLRTC) will function as an autonomous Centre of Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) here.
"IGNOU will provide five acres of land for the Centre. Besides teaching and training people in sign language, the ISLRTC will ensure study, academic development and propagation of sign languages," officials of Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry said here.
With an investment of Rs 44 crore over the next five years, the Centre will teach and train people using sign languages.
"The sign language needs to gains its rightful linguistic, cultural, educational and social place in the country to ensure overall development of deaf and hearing impaired people," the officials said.
To promote research of sign languages, the government has also approved creation of various departments in the Centre which will focus on several aspects like Sign Linguistics, Interpreting, Library, Documentation and Administration.
IGNOU is already running a National Centre for Disability Studies (NCDS) at its campus and has been conducting sign language programmes under the UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) in collaboration with the University of Central Lancashire.
"IGNOU is well-suited to incubate the ISLRTC. Its vast distance education network, including 61 Regional Centres and more than 3000 study Centres in the country will be available to the ISLRTC to expand its outreach," the officials said.