Accessible India Campaign
- Recently, the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment extended the deadline for Accessible India campaign to March 2020 due to slow progress.
- The original deadlines under the campaign was July, 2018, for conducting an accessibility audit of 25-50 of the most important government buildings in 50 cities and making them completely accessible.
- Under the campaign, the target of making 50% of all the government buildings of all the State capitals fully accessible has not been met yet.
- Complete accessibility audit of 50% of government buildings and making them fully accessible in 10 most important cities/towns of States is still under development.
Accessible India Campaign (AIC)
- Also known as Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan, it was launched by Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, in December, 2015, as a nation-wide Campaign for achieving universal accessibility for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs)or
- To enable persons with disabilities to gain universal access.
- To provide equal opportunity for development, independent living and participation in all aspects of life in an inclusive society.
- To create an accessible physical environment that benefits everyone, not just persons with disabilities.
Components of AIC
Built Environment Accessibility
- An accessible physical environment benefits everyone, not just persons with disabilities. Measures should be undertaken to eliminate obstacles and barriers to indoor and outdoor facilities including schools, medical facilities, and workplaces.
- These include not only buildings, but also footpaths, curb cuts, and obstacles that block the flow of pedestrian traffic.
Transportation System Accessibility
- Transportation is a vital component for independent living, and like others in society, PwDs rely on transportation facilities to move from one place to another.
- The term transportation covers a number of areas including air travel, buses, taxis, and trains.
Information and Communication Eco-System Accessibility
- Access to information creates opportunities for everyone in society and it refers to all information. People use information in many forms to make decisions about their daily lives.
- This can range from actions such as being able to read price tags, to physically enter a hall, to participate in an event, to read a pamphlet with healthcare information, to understand a train timetable, or to view webpages.
- With Accessible India Campaign, India has joined the rest of the world, as an inclusive society with universal accessibility, caring for its citizens, accessibility rights and independent living.
- Physical accessibility related actions will initiate accessibility to education, employment and livelihood helping built a stronger nation.
Recent Developments towards AIC
Management Information System (MIS)
- In September, 2019, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) developed a Management Information System (MIS) for stakeholders of AIC.
- The MIS portal will bring all the nodal ministries and States/UTs on a single platform for monitoring the progress being made against each target of AIC.
- The portal will be useful in maintaining all the function on digital platform and capture data on a real-time basis.
Website Accessibility Project
- In January, 2018, DEPwD initiated Website Accessibility Project for State Government/Union Territories under Accessible India Campaign through ERNET India, to make total 917 websites accessible to Divyangjans.
Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act – 2016
- Enacted in December 2016, the act facilitates full acceptance of people with disability and ensures full participation and inclusion of such persons in the society.
- To uphold the dignity of every PwD in the society and prevent any form of discrimination.
- It defines PwD as any person with long-term physical, mental, intellectual, or sensory impairments which on interacting with barriers hinder effective and equal growth in the society.
- The types of disabilities have been increased from existing 7 to 21 and the Central Government will have the power to add more types of disabilities.
- Speech and Language Disability and Specific Learning Disability have been added for the first time.
- Acid Attack Victims have been included.
- Dwarfism, muscular dystrophy have has been indicated as separate class of specified disability.
- The New categories of disabilities also included three blood disorders, Thalassemia, Hemophilia and Sickle Cell disease.
- The Act is in line with the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which India is a signatory, since 2007. This will fulfill the obligations on the part of India in terms of UNCRD.
- Further, it not only helps to enhance the Rights and Entitlements of Divyangjan but also provide effective mechanism for ensuring their empowerment and true inclusion into the society in a satisfactory manner.
United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)
What is an Accessible Building?
- An accessible building is one, where persons with disabilities have no barrier in entering it and using all the facilities therein.
- This covers the built environment – services, steps and ramps, corridors, entry gates, emergency exits, parking – as well as indoor and outdoor facilities including lighting, signages, alarm systems and toilets.
- Identifying accessible buildings requires annual accessibility audits that determine if a building meets agreed upon standards.
- Once a building is deemed fully accessible, an annual audit is not necessary, but should be required for any proposed changes to the structure or systems contained therein.
- A full audit can then be done on a less frequent basis. Standards of accessibility should be as consistent as possible with international standards, such as those of the ISO, taking into account the local context.
- In regards to the built environment, ISO 21542:2011, Building Construction –Accessibility and Usability of the Built Environment, delineates a set of requirements and recommendations concerning construction, assembly, components and fittings.