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December 16th, 2015 by

Empowering through Accessibility

Accessible India Campaign

‘International Day of Persons with Disabilities’ was observed on December 3, 2015. On this day, the National awards are conferred on outstanding Persons with Disabilities; individuals and organizations that are working for the empowerment of Persons with Disabilities by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt. of India. This Year 58 National awards were given under 14 broad categories.

winners of 14 categories

To add to the smiles of Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment launched the “Accessible India Campaign”, Empowering through Accessibility at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi.

Mr. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India was to launch this campaign but could not do so due to floods in Chennai. In his absence Mr. Arun Jaitely, the Finance Minister inaugurated the “Accessible India Campaign” by launching a crowd sourcing mobile app to comprehensively obtain information about inaccessible places and subsequently take necessary action. In his message for the people, Mr. Modi suggested calling any person with the disability as “Divyang”, meaning a Divine Soul or a body. He also said that “Accessibility for the persons with disability to all infrastructure and activities is our prime motive. Proposed smart cities should have the provisions for full accessibility for the person with disabilities. All central ministries and states should make all efforts to make “Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan)” successful”.

In its endeavour to provide empowerment to Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), the Indian Government strongly believes that bringing inclusiveness in the society is necessary to achieve this goal. Inclusiveness is about providing equal opportunities to all and accessibility has always been one of the major hurdle which has prevented inclusiveness for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and hindered them from living a productive, safe and dignified life.

“Accessible India Campaign” seeks to work on three important aspects which would empower the Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and bring inclusiveness in the society:

  • Built up environment – Accessible physical environment by eliminating obstacles and barriers to indoor and outdoor facilities including schools, medical facilities and workplaces. These would include not only buildings, but also footpaths, curb cuts, and obstacles that block the flow of pedestrian traffic.
  • Transportation ecosystem – Transportation is a vital component for independent living, and like others in the society, PwDs rely on transport 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 ecosystem – Access to information creates opportunities for everyone in the society. Access to information refers to all information. People use this information in many forms to take decisions about their daily affairs. These can range from actions such as being able to read the 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 web pages. No longer should societal barriers of infrastructure and inaccessible formats stand in the way of obtaining and utilizing information in daily life.
Accessible India Campaign 2015

“Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyaan)” seeks cooperation from all Central Government Departments/Ministries and State Governments to provide accessible police stations, hospitals, tourism and digital India etc.

Under this campaign the government plans to make 50 – 100 government buildings in each state accessible in the next one year. Targets have also been set for making Airports and Railway stations accessible and to make 25% of government owned public transport carriers in the country fully accessible carriers by mid 2017.

After almost two decades of inaction since the Disability Act was passed in 1995, “Accessible India campaign” is a great start indicating a strong intention to bring inclusiveness for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in society by empowering them through accessibility.


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