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ACCESSSIBLE INDIA CAMPAIGN

ACCESSIBLE INDIA CAMPAIGN 

Accessible India Campaign or Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan is a program which is set to be launched to serve the differently-able community of the country. The program comes with an index to measure the design of disabled-friendly buildings and human resource policies.

The flagship program has been launched by the Prime Minister on 3 December 2015, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The initiative also in line with the Article 9 of UNCRPD(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.

As per Section 46 of the PwD Act, the States are required to provide for :

  1. Ramps in public buildings
  2. Provision of toilets for wheelchair users
  3. Braille symbols and auditory signals in elevators or lifts
  4. Ramps in hospitals, primary health centres and other rehabilitation centres.

Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, has formulated the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan), as a nation-wide campaign for achieving universal accessibility for PwDs

COMPONENTS of Accessible India Campaign

Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) has the following three important components

  1. Built Environment Accessibility
  2. Transportation System Accessibility
  3. Information and Communication Eco-System Accessibility

Strategies to be followed

A multi-pronged strategy will be adopted for the campaign with key components as (a) leadership endorsements of the campaign, (b) mass awareness, (c) capacity building through workshops, (d) interventions (legal frame-work, technology solutions, resource generation, etc. and (e) leverage corporate sector efforts in a Public-Private Partnership.

Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities will sign MOU with State to support spreading awareness about accessibility and help create accessible buildings, accessible transport and accessible websites etc.

PROPOSED MILESTONES

Under the campaign,

  • Atleast 50% of all the government buildings of National Capital and all the State capitals will be made fully accessible for persons with disabilities by July 2018.
  • Conducting audit of 50% of government buildings and converting them into fully accessible buildings in 10 most important cities / towns of all the States (July 2019).
  • All the international airports in the country and railway stations of A1, A & B categories will be made fully accessible by July 2016.
  • Conducting accessibility audit of all the domestic airports and converting them into fully accessible airports(March 2018).
  • Ensuring that A1,A & B categories of railway stations in the country are converted into fully accessible railway stations (July 2016).
  • Ensuring that 50% of railway stations in the country are converted into fully accessible railway stations (March 2018).
  • Ensuring that 25% of Government owned public transport carriers in the country are converted into fully accessible carriers (March 2018).
  • Conducting accessibility audit of 50% of all government (both Central and State Governments) websites and converting them into fully accessible websites (March 2017).
  • Ensuring that at least 50% of all public documents issued by the Central Government and the State Governments meet accessibility standards (March 2018).
  • Developing and adoption of national standards on captioning and sign-language interpretation in consultation with National media authorities. (July 2016)
  • Ensuring that 25% of all public television programmes aired by government channels meet these standards.(March 2018)

The campaign has ambitious targets with defined timelines and will use IT and social media for spreading awareness about the campaign and seeking commitment / engagement of various stakeholders.  

The Department has asked various State Govts. to identify about 50 to 100 public buildings in big cities and also identify citizen centric  public websites, which if made fully accessible would have the highest impact on the lives of PwDs. 

Once identified, “Access Audit” of these buildings and websites will be conducted by professional agencies.  As per the audit findings, retrofitting and conversion of buildings,  transport and websites would be undertaken by various government departments.

Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities is collaborating with Ministry of Home, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and Ministry of Tourism for creating ‘Accessible police stations’, “Accessible hospitals’ and ‘Accessible tourism’ respectively across the country.  

The Department is also coordinating with the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting for enhancing accessibility of Television programmes by incorporating features like captioning, text to speech and audio description.

DEPwD is also in the process of creating a mobile app, along with a web portal for crowd sourcing the requests regarding inaccessible places. With the app, downloaded on his/her mobile phone, any person would be able to click a photograph or video of an inaccessible public place (like a school, hospital, government office etc.) and upload the same to the Accessible India portal. The portal will process the request for access audit, financial sanction and final retrofitting of the building to make it completely accessible.

A ”Sugamya Bharat” mobile app which can provide information on disabled-friendly public facilities in a city, will be launched under the scheme.

In August 2016, an online library “Sugamya Pustakalaya” was launched under the scheme by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD). The library would be a collection of all accessible materials from all over the country and the organizations who would become members of it would provide accessible material to its members.

As of August 2016, 400 out of nearly 1800 websites of government were made accessible

DIVYANG SARATHI APP: The Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment has launched Divyang Sarathi—The accessible and comprehensive mobile application for easy dissemination of information to ‘Divyangjans’

The mobile app aims to empower Divyangjans by providing them easier and convenient access to information pertaining to schemes, scholarships, statutes institutional support systems, jobs and other crucial information.

On 9 November 2017, RBI asked the banks to provide doorstep banking facilities to senior citizens of more than 70 years of age and differently-abled persons including the visually-impaired.

WEBSITE ACCESSIBILITY PROJECT:

The Department of Divyangjan had initiated ‘Website Accessibility Project’ to make total 917 websites accessible The accessible websites are those into which Persons with Disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate and interact with web and also contribute to WEB.

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