For Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) universal accessibility is critical for enabling them to gain access for equal opportunity and live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life in an inclusive society.
Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 under Sections 44, 45 and 46 categorically provides for non-discrimination in transport, non-discrimination on the road and non-discrimination in built environment respectively.
As per Section 46 of the PwD Act, the States are required to provide for –
Section 44 and 45 of the said Act cast responsibility on the States to take measures to make public transport accessible for PwDs and also make provision for auditory signals at red lights in public roads, curb cuts and slops in pavements, engraving on the surface at zebra crossings etc.
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. These measures, which shall include the identification and elimination of obstacles and barriers to accessibility, shall apply to, inter-alia :
The Convention also mandates that all the Governments shall also take appropriate measures :
Governments at the High Level Inter Governmental Meeting organized by the Govt. of Republic of Korea adopted the ministerial declaration and Incheon Strategy to “Make the Right Real” for PwDs in Asia and Pacific. The Incheon Strategy provides the Asian and Pacific Region, and the world the first set of regionally agreed distinct – inclusive development goals.
The Strategy comprises 10 goals, 27 targets and 62 indicators, which build on UNCRPD. Goal No. 3 of the Incheon Strategy mentions that access to the physical environment, public transportation, knowledge, information and communication is a precondition for persons with disabilities to fulfill their rights in an inclusive society. The accessibility of urban, rural and remote areas based on universal design increases safety and ease of use not only for persons with disabilities, but also for all other members of society. Access audits are an important means of ensuring accessibility and must cover all stages of the process of planning, design, construction, maintenance and monitoring and evaluation. Access to assistive devices and related support services is also a precondition for persons with disabilities to optimize their level of independence in daily life and live in dignity. Ensuring the availability of assistive devices for those living in low-resource settings involves encouraging research, development, production, distribution and maintenance.
The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has conceptualised the “Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan)” as a nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility that will enable persons with disabilities to gain access for equal opportunity and live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life in an inclusive society. The campaign targets at enhancing the accessibility of built environment, transport system and Information & communication eco-System.
Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) has the following three important components
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.
Under the campaign,
Source : - Accessible India Campaign