accessible-india-campaign

The deadline for the government’s Accessible India campaign that aims at making public spaces friendly for persons with disabilities has been extended to March 2020 due to slow progress.

Present Status of the campaign-

  • State governments have been slow in partnering with the Centre to make websites universally accessible to the differently-abled.
  • State-wise details of the facilities for the disabled at railway stations were not maintained, but the Indian Railways was committed to making its stations accessible.
  • 211  Central Public Works Department (CPWD) buildings had been made accessible and funds have been released for making 1,058 public buildings accessible around the country.
  • Under the Rights of PwD Act, 2016, all existing and new public buildings have to follow the accessibility standards notified in June 2017.

Accessible India campaign-

  • Accessible India Campaign or Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan is a flagship program that has been launched to serve the differently-able community of the country.
  • The initiative is also in line with Article 9 of the (UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) to which India is a signatory since 2007.
  • The scheme also comes under Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 under section 44, 45, 46 for equal Opportunities and protection of rights which provides non-discrimination in Transport to Persons with Disabilities.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which India is a signatory, under Article 9 casts an obligation on all the signatory governments to take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities access, on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including information and communications technologies and systems, and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public, both in urban and in rural areas.

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Features of the Campaign-

  • A website has been made where the people can put their views on the accessibility of any building.
    • Government websites will also be made more friendly by using text to speech option.
  • Special set-top boxes will be made available to make watching TV more convenient for the visually impaired.
  • A ''Sugamya Bharat'' mobile app which can provide information on disabled-friendly public facilities in a city, will be launched under the scheme.
  • The ministry of social justice and empowerment will give free motorized tricycles to people with a 70-90% disability.
  • The government will also establish a special university for differently-abled people.

Targets of the Campaign-

  • To make at least fifty percent of government buildings disabled-friendly under the campaign in each of the state capital and central capital till the end of May 2018.
  • To make 25 percent of the public transport vehicles under the government as disabled-friendly till mid-2017.
  • To make the international airports in the country and railway stations which come under A1, A and B categories fully disabled-friendly, by 2016.

Significance of the campaign-

  • It will enable persons with disabilities to gain access to equal opportunity and live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life in an inclusive society.
  • It will enhance the accessibility of the built environment, transport system, and Information & communication ecosystem.

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