CHANGEMAKER SERIES: Ability on Wheels

Harish Kumar wants to introduce himself as a differently-abled person with immense passion for driving. In 2012, he became the first physically challenged person in the country to successfully complete an All India Driving Expedition thereby creating a new National Records in Limca Book of Records. As on date he has on his name 2 National Records in Limca Book of Records. He did his schooling from a reputed school in Dehradun & went on to do his Masters in Science from IIT Roorkee in 1993 & Masters in Technology from IIT Delhi in 1995.

After working in telecom sector for ~ 20 years, he quit the corporate world last year & decided to work on providing mobility services & solutions to the specially-abled people of the country. For this purpose, he has floated an NGO called Ability on Wheels Charitable Trust / www.abilityonwheels.org

Changemaker Series is our blog series which will capture stories in the format of Q&A to introduce our thought leaders and changemakers to a wider society.harish_kumar These stories capture essence of inclusivity, accessibility & change especially focusing on persons with disability.

We got talking with Harish Kumar, Founder of Ability on Wheels and this is what he had to say about an inclusive India.

What is accessibility to you?

Barrier free living for all

According to you, in what ways can local communities and people contribute to Accessible India campaign

Local communities can contribute to the mission by being considerate towards the needs of physically challenged people them (e.g. making a restaurant or their shops accessible to people with disability)  rather than expressing sympathy or helping them

Thoughts on what the youth of our country can do to contribute to the campaign

Youth can take up social entrepreneurship as a career option & make a big impact in removing the social hurdles prevalent in our country. They can also support in raising funds for social entrepreneurs which is very difficult in the current scenario.

What expectations do you have from accessible India mobile app and portal?

Going further the app can contain details of accessible hotels, monuments, malls, ATM’s etc for all the major cities / tourist destinations which will help physically challenged people decide & plan their trip in advance.

What do you think about accessible tourism in India? How can corporate India inc help make public locations user friendly.

Companies like Taj Hotels can take up the ownership of making monuments accessible for everyone in those locations that have TAJ group presence. OLA cabs or Uber cabs can take up the task of providing wheel chair accessible cabs in prominent tourist towns.

What do you think about accessible transport in India? How can corporate India inc help make public locations user friendly.

Mahindra, Tata Motors & other vehicle manufacturers can take up the responsibility of providing mobility services & solutions for self driving by physically challenged people & making public transport accessible.

They need to manufacture wheel chair accessible cars, buses, vans etc & also cars customized for self driving for people with different nature of disabilities

About Accessible India Campaign:

Accessible India Campaign is a nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility for people with disabilities by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities)

Download Accessible India mobile app on android here and sign up on accessibleindia.gov.in for further information.

CHANGEMAKER SERIES: Ability on Wheels

Inviting Expressions of Interest : Empanelment of Access Auditors

Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) was recently launched on December 3, the International Day of Persons of Disabilities.
One of the targets under the objective of enhancing the proportion of accessible government buildings is to conduct access audits of the most important buildings in 50 cities of the country and then retrofitting them to become fully accessible.
facebook_cover_page1
In order to achieve this, the Department envisions to build a pool of auditors across the country. An expression of interest from experienced individuals/organizations/registered societies for conducting access audits as part of the Accessible India Campaign is invited. Please follow the link to apply for empanelment with the Department as an auditor and also encourage organizations/individuals having relevant expertise/experience to apply for the same.
The official letter inviting expressions of interest (English version) with application details is here:  EOI Access Audit

 

For any queries, please feel free to write to us on –

accessibleindiacampaign@gmail.com

Inviting Expressions of Interest : Empanelment of Access Auditors

सुगम्य भारत रणनीति पत्र

भारत, विकलांग व्यक्ति अधिकारों पर संयुक्त राष्ट्र कन्वेंशन का एक हस्ताक्षरकर्ता देश है। यूएनसीआरपीडी का अनुच्छेद 9, सभी हस्ताक्षकर्ता सरकारों को, शहरी और ग्रामीण क्षेत्रों में सूचना तथा संचार प्रौद्योगिकी और प्रणाली, और लोगों को अन्य सुविधाएं तथा सेवाएं प्रदान करने सहित, विकलांग व्यक्तियों को अन्य व्यक्तियों की तरह ही समान आधार पर, भौतिक वातावरण, परिवहन, सूचना तथा संचार में समुचित उपाय सुनिश्चित करने का दायित्व सौंपता है। ये उपाय जिनमें, सुगम्यता हेतु, अवरोधों और बाधाओं की पहचान एवं उन्मूलन शामिल हैं, अन्य बातों के साथ-साथ निम्न पर लागू होंगे-

  • स्कूलों, आवासों, चिकित्सा सुविधाओं तथा कार्य स्थलों सहित, भवनों, सड़को, परिवहन और अन्य आंतरिक तथा बाहरी सुविधाएं;
  • इलेक्ट्रॉनिक्स सेवाओं तथा आकस्मिक सेवाओं सहित, सूचना, संचार तथा अन्य सेवाएं;
  1. कन्वेंशन द्वारा सभी सरकारों को निम्न समुचित उपाय करने का अधिदेश भी प्रदान किया गया है।
  • सार्वजनिक रुप से उपलब्ध सेवाएं को प्रदान करने के लिए सुविधाओं तक पहुंच हेतु, न्यूनतम मानक दिशा निर्देशों के कार्यान्वयन को विकसित, प्रचारित और मॉनिटर करना;
  • निजी संगठन जो सार्वजनिक रुप से सुविधाएं तथा सेवाएं प्रदान कराते हैं, विकलांग व्यक्तियों हेतु सुगम्यता के सभी पहलुओं को सुनिश्चित करवाना;
  • विकलांग व्यक्तियों द्वारा, सामना किये जा रहे सुगम्यता मुद्दों पर स्टेकहोल्डर्स को प्रशिक्षण प्रदान करना;
  • भवनों में, सार्वजनिक रुप से उपलब्ध अन्य सुविधाएं-ब्रेल में और आसानी से पढ़ने और समझने के रुप में संकेतक उपलब्ध कराना।
  • भवनों में सुगम्यता और सार्वजनिक रुप से अन्य सुविधाओं को सुसाधक बनाने के लिए, दिशा निर्देश, रीडर्स तथा पेशेवर संकेत भाषा दुभाषियों सहित, प्रत्यक्ष और मध्यवर्ती सहायता प्रकार उपलब्ध कराना;
  • सहायता के अन्य समुचित प्रकारों का संवर्धन और विकलांग व्यक्तियों को सूचना तक पहुंच सुनिश्चित कराने में सहायता प्रदान करना;
  • इन्टरनेट सहित, विकलांग व्यक्तियों को नई जानकारी तथा संचार प्रौद्योगिकियों और प्रणाली तक पहुंच का संवर्धन करना;
  1. सरकार द्वारा रिपब्लिक ऑफ कोरिया सरकार द्वारा आयोजित उच्च स्तरीय अंतर-सरकारी बैठक में मंत्रालयी उद्घोषणा और एशिया तथा प्रशांत क्षेत्र में विकलांग व्यक्तियों हेतु ‘‘अधिकारों को साकार करना’’ हेतु, इंचियोन कार्यनीति को अपनाया गया। इंचियोन कार्यनीति में एशिया तथा प्रशांत क्षेत्र और विश्व में क्षेत्रीय आधार पर सहमत समावेशी विकास लक्ष्यों का प्रावधान है। कार्यनीति में 10 उद्देश्य, 27 लक्ष्य और 62, संकेतक है, जो यूएनसीआरपीडी को निर्मित करते हैं, निहित हैं। इंचियोन कार्यनीति के उद्देश्य संख्या 3 में यह उल्लिखित है कि भौतिक वातावरण, सार्वजनिक परिवहन, ज्ञान, सूचना और संचार, एक समावेशी समाज में विकलांग व्यक्तियों के अधिकारों को पूरा करने के लिए एक पूर्व निर्धारित शर्त है। शहरी, ग्रामीण और दूरस्थ क्षेत्रों में सुगम्यता सार्वभौमिक डिजाइन पर आधारित होती है जो न केवल विकलांग व्यक्तियों हेतु प्रयोग में, सुरक्षा तथा सुगम्यता को बढ़ाती है बल्कि, समाज के अन्य सदस्यों के लिए भी ऐसा करती है। सुगम्यता प्रशिक्षण, सुगम्यता को सुनिश्चित करने का एक महत्वपूर्ण साधन है और आयोजना, डिजाइन, निर्माण अनुरक्षण तथा निगरानी और मूल्याकंन, प्रक्रिया के सभी चरणों को इसे कवर करना चाहिए। सहायक उपकरणों तथा संबंधित सहायता सेवाओं तक पहुंच भी विकलांग व्यक्तियों हेतु एक पूर्व निर्धारित शर्त है जो उन्हें दैनिक जीवन में स्वतंत्रता और गरिमा के साथ जीने में सक्षम बनाती है। वे विकलांग व्यक्ति, जो अल्प संसाधन परिवेश में जी रहे हैं, को सहायक उपकरणों की उपलब्धता सुनिश्चित कराने में अनुसंधान, विकास, उत्पादन, संवितरण और अनुरक्षण शामिल हैं।
  2. विकलांग व्यक्ति (समान अवसर, अधिकार संरक्षण तथा पूर्ण भागीदारी) अधिनियम, 1995 की धारा 44, 45,46 में क्रमशः परिवहन में भेदभाव न किए जाने, सड़कों पर भेदभाव न किए जाने और निर्मित वातावरण में भेदभाव न किए जाने का प्रावधान है।

विकलांग व्यक्ति अधिनियम की धारा 46 के अनुसार, सरकारों द्वारा निम्नलिखित प्रदान किया जाना अपेक्षित है-

  • सार्वजनिक भवनों में रैंप्स
  • व्हीलचेयर प्रयोगकर्ताओं हेतु टॉयलेटस का अनुकूलन
  • ऐलिवेटर्स अथवा लिफ्टस में ब्रेल संकेतक तथा श्रव्य सिंगनल्स
  • अस्पतालों, प्राथमिक स्वास्थ्य केन्द्रों तथा अन्य चिकित्सा देखभाल तथा पुनर्वास संस्थानों में रैंप्स
  1. उक्त अधिनियम की धारा 44 तथा 45, सरकारों को, विकलांग व्यक्तियों हेतु सार्वजनिक परिवहन को सुगम्य बनाने के उपाय करने तथा साथ ही, सार्वजनिक सड़कों पर रैड लाईट पर श्रवण संकेतों, फुटपाथों पर कर्व, कट्स तथा स्लोप्स बनाने, जैब्रा क्रॉसिंग की सतह को खुदरा बनाने आदि हेतु प्रावधान करने का दायित्व सौंपती है।

श्री देवेंद्र फड़नवीस के द्वारा मुंबई में सुगम्य भारत रणनीति पत्र का लॉन्चAccessible India Conference, Mumbai

श्री देवेंद्र फड़नवीस के द्वारा मुंबई में सुगम्य भारत रणनीति पत्र का लॉन्च

सुगम्य भारत अभियान

विकलांगजन सशक्तिरकण विभाग, सामाजिक न्याय और अधिकारिता मंत्रालय ने विकलांग व्यक्तियों हेतु सार्वभौमिक सुगम्यता प्राप्त करने के लिए एक राष्ट्रव्यापी फ्लैगशिप अभियान सुगम्य भारत अभियान की शुरूआत की है।

आपके संदर्भ और अध्ययन के लिए विस्तृत रणनीति पत्र हिंदी में नीचे प्रदान किया गया है। प्रतिक्रिया या प्रश्नों के लिए कृपया kalyani.aic@gmail.com पर ईमेल करें।

HIN_Accessible India Campaign Strategy paper

सुगम्य भारत रणनीति पत्र

Accessible India Campaign Strategy Paper

 

India is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). Article 9 of UNCRPD 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:

  1. Buildings, roads, transportation and other indoor and outdoor facilities, including schools, housing, medical facilities and workplaces; 

    Information, communications and other services, including electronic services and emergency services.

    2. The Convention also mandates that all the Governments shall also take appropriate measures:

    To develop, promulgate and monitor the implementation of minimum standards and guidelines for the accessibility of facilities and services open or provided to the public;

    To ensure that private entities that offer facilities and services which are open or provided to the public take into account all aspects of accessibility for persons with disabilities;

    To provide training for stakeholders on accessibility issues facing persons with disabilities;

    To provide in buildings and other facilities open to the public signage in Braille and in easy to read and understand forms;

    To provide forms of live assistance and intermediaries, including guidelines, readers and professional sign language interpreters, to facilitate accessibility to buildings and other facilities open to the public;

    To promote other appropriate forms of assistance and support to persons with disabilities to ensure their access to information;

    To promote access for persons with disabilities to new information and communications technologies and systems, including the Internet;

    3. 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.

    4. 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 –

  • Ramps in public buildings;
  • Adaptation of toilets for wheel chair users;
  • Braille symbols and auditory signals in elevators or lifts;
  • Ramps in hospitals, primary health centres and other medical care and rehabilitation institutions
  1. 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 slopes in pavements, engraving on the surface at zebra crossings etc.

    Accessible India Conference, Mumbai
    Accessible India Strategy Paper Launch by Shri Devendra Fadnavis in Mumbai

ACCESSIBLE INDIA CAMPAIGN

Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has initiated the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan), as a nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility for Persons with Disabilities.

The detailed strategy paper in English is provided below for reference & study. For feedback or questions, please email kalyani.aic@gmail.com

ENG_Accessible India Campaign Strategy paper

Accessible India Campaign Strategy Paper

PM’s message on Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan

On Thursday 3rd December 2015 Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi shared his message on  ‘International Day of Persons with Disabilities.’

Here is the message by him conveyed through Shri Arun Jaitley at Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan launch:

यहां एकत्रित मेरे सभी साथियो

विकलांगजन सशक्तिकरण की राह पर चलने वाले मेरे सहयोगियो।

मुझे खेद है कि मैं इस समय आप सबके साथ नहीं हूं। आप सभी जानते हैं कि तमिलनाडु एवं चेन्नई शहर में निरन्तर बरसात के कारण किस तरह की आपदा आई हुई है। इस समm1य यह बहुत ही जरूरी है कि मैं स्वयं चेन्नई जाकर इस स्थिति का जायजा लूं। मैं आपको विश्वास दिलाता हूं कि मैं मन से एवं ह्रदय से आपके साथ हूं।

मैं आज यहां सभी पुरस्कार विजेताओं को हार्दिक बधाई और शुभकामनाएं देता हूं। आप सब सही मायने में हमारे लिए प्रेरणा और उदाहरण हैं ।

विकलांगता मानव जीवन की एक अवस्था है। हममें से हर एक व्यक्ति जीवन के कुछ अंतराल में अस्थायी रूप से ही सही विकलांगता का अनुभव कर चुका है। विशेषकर, हमारे बयोवृद्ध जनों को किसी न किसी विकलांगता का सामना करने की संभावना बढ़ जाती है।

इस बात को ध्यान में रखते हुए, मैं आज यहां सभी उपस्थित साथियों को बधाई दे रहा हूं कि आज हम ‘सुगम्य भारतअभियान का शुभारंभ कर रहे हैं।

यह अभियान सच्चे अर्थें में विकलांगजनों के लिए फिजिकल अथवा वर्चुअल सभी तरह की अधोसंरचना को परिवर्तित कर उसे सुगम्य एवं समावेषी बनाने का लक्ष्य रखता है।

अधोसंरचना और सुगम्यता पर काम करने के साथ साथ, मै चाहूँगा कि यहाँ एकत्रित सभी आज इस बारे में भी सोचें, की क्या हम विकलांग शब्द के जगह दिव्यांग शब्द का प्रयोग कर सकते हैं? मेरे राय में शब्द अहम हैं, और इससे हम attitude में बदलाव ला सकते हैं ।

सार्वजनिक भवनों, परिवहन तथा सूचना प्रौद्योगिकी को इतने व्यापक पैमाने पर सुगम्य बनाने का लक्ष्य अत्यंत महत्वपूर्ण है और इसलिए मेरा आह्वान है कि सभी केन्द्रीय मंत्रालय विभाग तथा राज्य सरकारें सक्रिय रूप से आगे आकर इस अभियान को सफल बनाने में भूमिका निभाएं।

कॉरपोरेट वर्ल्ड के साथियों से मेरा आह्वान है कि उन्हें भी सक्रिय रूप से आगे आकर अपने भवनों, परिवहन प्रणाली तथा सूचना प्रौद्योगिकी तंत्र को शीघ्र ही सुगम्य बनाना चाहिए। मैं यह भी चाहता हूँ कि SMART CITIES मिशन में सुगम्यता अभिन्न रूप से इंक्लूड की जानी चाहिए।

सुगम्य भारत अभियान का महत्वपूर्ण हिस्सा यह भी है कि इससे होने वाले परिवर्तन समाज के अन्य लोगों के लिए भी लाभदायक है। यदि भवन एवं आवागमन के माध्यम सुगम्य हो जाते हैं तो हमारे वृद्ध नागरिक, गर्भवती बहिनें तथा छोटे बच्चों के लिए भी यह सुविधाएं महत्वपूर्ण रोल अदा करेगी। एक सुगम्य भवन निश्चित ही अधिक सुरक्षित और अधिक स्वच्छ भवन होगा।

हमारा सामूहिक भविष्य सभी के सशक्तिकरण पर निर्भर है। हमारा लक्ष्य ऐसे समाज का निर्माण करना है जो पूरी तरह समावेशी है। हमें “सम” भाव और “मम” भाव के मेल से समाज में समरसता बढ़ाना होगा। सबका साथ, सबकाविकास की हमारी धारणा और परिकल्पना तब तक पूर्ण नहीं हो सकती जब तक हम समाज के प्रत्येक हिस्से के विकास के लिए प्रतिबद्ध न हो।

m2

आखिर में मै Robert Hensel के शब्द दोहराना चाहता हूँ।

 मैं विकलांग हूं, यह सही है। लेकिन इसका मतलब सिर्फ यह है कि मुझे आगे बढ़ने के लिऐ आपसे थोड़ा अलग रास्ता लेना पड़ेगा।

आइये हम सब मिलकर ये आगे बढ़ने के रास्ते प्रशस्त बनाये ।

Republished from here

To request our updated Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan strategy paper, please mail kalyani.aic@gmail.com

PM’s message on Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan

CHANGEMAKER SERIES: INDIA INC ON ACCESSIBLE INDIA CAMPAIGN

Changemaker Series is our blog series which will capture stories in the format of Q&A to introduce our thought leaders and changemakers to a wider society. These stories capture essence of inclusivity, accessibility & change especially focusing on persons with disability.

We got talking with Sminu Jindal, Founder & Chairperson at SVAYAM & Managing Director at JINDAL SAW Ltd and this is what she had to say about Accessible India Campaign.

What is accessibility to you?

Accessibility is all about freedom of choice and we all know that it is everyone’s birth right. Everyone deserves to get out of their homes for entertainment or to make a living for themselves in an enabling atmosphere, adding to the nations GDP.

Of course, I am talking about accessibility right up to the villages as I believe if one is not in touch with their roots there is no way an economy will grow.

Tell us more about Svayam

‘Svayam’ literally means “Self” or “Be on your own”. We work to promote this into self-dependence, self-reliance & self respect among persons with reduced mobility so that they lead a dignified life.

The effort at ‘Svayam’ is to nurture a complete inclusive ecosystem which understands, develops and maintains accessible built environment for all sections of the society. It aims to bring a meaningful change in the lives of thousands who face social as well as economic isolation due to disabling infrastructure.

sminu_jindal

According to you, in what ways can local communities and people contribute to Accessible India Campaign?

It is important for the local communities to verbalize the need of having accessible public infrastructure and services in broader confines. It would not only empower but encourage the stakeholders to question the infrastructural barriers prevalent in the community.

Constant dialogue with concerned stakeholders helps them understand the benefits of accessible infrastructure when used with responsibility.

What expectations do you have from accessible India mobile app and portal? 

This is the age of internet.

I feel Accessible India mobile app and web portal will act as a public watchdog to flag the instances of inaccessibility with active involvement of stakeholders.

However, the entire process of follow up by nodal officers and the concerned municipality/department would need to be time bound. Crowd sourcing will be successful and keep people highly motivated if people are kept updated on each development through the app.

How can corporate India Inc help make public locations user friendly?

The Corporate India can be a partner in this campaign by being open to having diversity among their workforce; making their work premises accessible and also looking at sponsoring accessibility initiatives in tourism products & city infrastructure. Addition of Accessibility initiatives under the permissible activities to be taken up under the CSR spending under revised Companies Act would be a shot in the arm for the campaign.

Lastly, your top three recommendations for Accessible India campaign?

  1. Raising awareness in the larger community that accessibility just doesn’t enable elderly or persons with reduced mobility but raises quality of life for everyone. The training and sensitization must reach all stakeholders, particularly the last rung – the mason, the operator, the service staff!
  2. Responsible Use – Campaigns should go beyond introducing accessibility in infrastructure to creating mechanisms for regular maintenance, promoting responsible use of such facilities by all stakeholders and reporting the broken or non-working facility to the concerned authority as a responsible citizen – for rights come with duties!
  3. Enforcement – The accessibility features are often misused and vandalized due to lack of enforcement (viz. cars parked on designated accessible parking areas or in front of ramps and kerbs; bikes misusing kerbs and driving on sidewalks). Campaign must look at creating mechanisms for strict enforcement with introduction of penalties in cases of misuse through convergence among different & often multiple agencies.

About Accessible India Campaign:

Accessible India Campaign is a nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility for people with disabilities by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities)

Follow us on twitter @MSJE_AIC and email kalyani.aic@gmail.com to nominate a changemaker for our upcoming blog interviews.

 

CHANGEMAKER SERIES: INDIA INC ON ACCESSIBLE INDIA CAMPAIGN

CHANGEMAKER SERIES: IMPORTANCE OF UNIVERSALLY DESIGNED INFRASTRUCTURE

Changemaker Series is our blog series which will capture stories in the format of Q&A to introduce our thought leaders and changemakers to a wider society. These stories capture essence of inclusivity, accessibility & change especially focusing on persons with disability.

We got talking with Anjlee Agarwal, Accessibility Consultant at Samarathyam and this is what she had to say about travel accessibility and our campaign approach.

Anjlee AgarwalWhat is accessibility to you?

Full inclusion, participation and equal opportunities for persons with disabilities by means of accessibility provided in the built, transportation and information & communication ecosystems.

Tell us more about Samarthyam 

Samarthyam is a national information, technical assistance and research, disabled persons organization founded in 1994 and registered in 2001. Under its Project “National Centre for Accessible Environments”, it evaluates, develops, and promotes universal accessibility in built & outdoor environments, transportation systems and products.

What expectations do you have from accessible India mobile app and portal? 

Creating accountability and raising awareness. Mobile App will help in bringing about the change in a short span of time as the macro change is making access happen. Identification of barriers and required action by the government will go hand in hand by engaging the public at large.

What do you think about accessible tourism in India? How can corporate India help make public locations user friendly?

Accessible tourism is about everyone having the opportunity to travel regardless of factors such as disability or age. It is not just about accessible destinations; but about a complete trip planning. This begins with marketing, information, booking mode of transportation and then accessibility of recreational facilities and attractions.

Businesses that cater to the tourism industry have a compelling case to maximize their accessibility to people with disabilities. Creating accessibility can open the doors to a growing and often untapped pool of consumers. Often, people with disabilities represent 15% of their population, added to it is another 20% of aging population. Not only is the population of people who have some form of disability growing but they’re also increasingly mobile. Consider also that people often travel as a family or as a group. An attraction that provides access for an individual using a wheelchair or a child in a stroller will also gain the business of the group travelling with them. Ultimately, the increased revenue benefits the tourism operators and in turn the community as a whole.

What do you think about accessible transport in India? How can corporate India help make public locations user friendly?

For more than a billion people with disabilities in the world, accessible public transport infrastructure and system can mean an education, a job and equal opportunities that would otherwise be denied to them. India is no exception as ‘accessible transportation is their lifeline”.

Currently, all urban transportation projects are undertaken in public private partnership (PPP mode), where corporate sector are the major stakeholders. Universal Accessibility, connectivity and network of public transportation modes can provide seamless access to persons with disabilities. User experience and inclusive policies will help include diverse accessibility needs. Including experts and people with disabilities in planning, design, implementation, accessibility audits, monitoring and evaluation in all stages of projects will make infrastructure inclusive and universal accessible.

About Accessible India Campaign:

Accessible India Campaign is a nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility for people with disabilities by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities)

Follow us on twitter @MSJE_AIC and email kalyani.aic@gmail.com to nominate a changemaker for our upcoming blog interviews.

 

CHANGEMAKER SERIES: IMPORTANCE OF UNIVERSALLY DESIGNED INFRASTRUCTURE

CHANGEMAKER SERIES: WORK PLACE ACCESSIBILITY FOR INDIAN YOUTH

Changemaker Series is our blog series which will capture stories in the format of Q&A to introduce our thought leaders and changemakers to the wider society. These stories capture essence of inclusivity, accessibility & change especially focusing on persons with disability.

We got talking with Meera Shenoy, Founder, Youth4Jobs and this is what she has to say about employment, accessibility and our campaign approach.

What is accessibility?

Accessibility means everyone should be able to access everything – be it a place or technology. Everyone should have a level playing field. No section of the population should be at a disadvantage due to inaccessibility or lack of research & development.

Tell us more about Youth4Jobs

I started Youth4Jobs three years back to motivate, train and place youth with disabilities in the organised sector jobs. In this process, we help companies build an inclusive workforce.  We have achieved scale as we leveraged our vast background in skilling underprivileged youth in the government and with multilateral funders. We have 18 centres dedicated to youth with disabilities in 9 states and we are growing. With our growth, several new industries and companies have begun to hire people with disabilities for the first time. The work is challenging yet transformational.

How can cMeera Sommunities support accessible India campaign?

Deep set attitudes are the heart of the problem. This work cannot be done alone. Civil society members and rotary clubs should volunteer to help change attitudes towards the disabled in society. This can begin by addressing schools. Similar to gender sensitization, if through fun and games, we can sensitive school children, a shift in attitudes will take place.

What can youth the youth do to solve the problem of accessibility?

Youth can act as ambassadors in their colleges/educational institutions/place of work for advocacy and changing attitudes towards disability

What is your take on Accessible India mobile application?

Currently, India has 185 million mobiles and most of them access internet through the mobiles. This is expected to increase to 600 million by 2025 i.e. 60%-70% of our population from the current 7-8%. Apart from crowd-sourcing information, an app which is accessbile in nature should help in spreading right the message on the fact that charity begins at home.

About work place accessibility:

Work place accessibility allows persons with disability to work and be productive. From our work and third party studies, it is clear there is a business case for companies hiring people with disability. They work harder and are loyal employees. So attrition is reduced and there is an increase in productivity and hence business of the company hiring people with disability. Companies benefit in brand value due to their ‘good for society’ approach.

Tell us more about your upcoming book?

This book is in the inspirational genre and part of my journey where I have interacted with entrepreneurs and CEOs. The launch is planned in January 2016. More on this later.

About Accessible India Campaign:

Accessible India Campaign is a nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility for people with disabilities by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities)

Follow us on twitter @MSJE_AIC and email kalyani.aic@gmail.com to nominate a changemaker for our upcoming blog interviews.

CHANGEMAKER SERIES: WORK PLACE ACCESSIBILITY FOR INDIAN YOUTH

CHANGEMAKER SERIES: TRAVEL ACCESSIBILITY

Changemaker Series is our blog series which will capture stories in the format of Q&A to introduce our thought leaders and changemakers to the wider society. These stories capture essence of inclusivity, accessibility & change especially focusing on persons with disability.

We got talking with Yeshwant Holkar, Founder, UMOJA and this is what he has to say about travel accessibility, change and our campaign approach.

What is accessibility to you?

Accessibility means many things to many people, but to me, accessibility is about exploring the amazing world we live in, unfettered by physical, communicative, or attitudinal barriers.

Your thoughts on Accessible India campaign

The Accessible India campaign is a landmark initiative by the Government of India to improve accessibility in our country.  Speaking to people who have worked in the disability sector for decades, this is the first time we are seeing this level of focus being applied to accessibility.  While the mission plan is ambitious, the approach is well thought out and engages both the public and private sector to work together towards this goal. The key will be implementation and follow through, and we’re very excited to contribute our part to this excellent initiative.

Tell us more about UMOJA

UMOJA is all about great accessible travel. On www.umoja.in, we make sure people have the detailed and dependable information persons with disabilities need to find hotels that can meet their accessibility needs or preferences.

According to you, in what ways can local communities and people contribute to AIC?

Local communities are one of the most important parts of accessibility. It is only when local communities understand and support accessibility will real change happen. It’s about changing physical and attitudinal barriers, and that won’t happen unless the the local community buys in to it.

What expectations do you have from accessible India mobile app and portal?

We are excited to see peoples’ response to this app. The government is committed to solving peoples’ accessibility problems, so who better to point out those problems then the people themselves?  The app and portal will act as a fantastic way for the government to focus its efforts of making important areas accessible.

What do you think about travel accessibility? How do people with disability travel across India?

Currently traveling in India as a person with a disability is not easy, but things are definitely improving. Public transport is definitely a point to improve on and we’re glad that the Accessible India Campaign has focused on this a one of the three core focus areas. We’re encouraged by the rising private sector interest in accessibility and we can only see this trend continuing.

Lastly, your thoughts on importance of freedom & mobility for people with disability?

Freedom and mobility is incredibly important for all people.  What’s life without the ability to visit the people you love, see the places that intrigue you, or explore the cultures that fascinate you?

About Accessible India Campaign:

Accessible India Campaign is a nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility for people with disabilities by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities)

Follow us on twitter @MSJE_AIC and email kalyani.aic@gmail.com to nominate a changemaker for our upcoming blog interviews.

CHANGEMAKER SERIES: TRAVEL ACCESSIBILITY

CHANGEMAKER SERIES: ACCESSIBILITY & ACCESS ABILITY

Changemaker Series is our blog series which will capture stories in the format of Q&A to introduce our thought leaders and changemakers to the wider society. These stories capture essence of inclusivity, accessibility & change especially focusing on persons with disability.
We got talking with Shivani Gupta, Founder, AccessAbility and this is what she has to say about accessibility, change and our campaign approach.
What is accessibility to you?

Accessibility to me is a pre-requisite to participation and inclusion for anybody. The scope of accessibility cannot be limited only persons with disabilities in fact it benefits each person in the society and must be addressed that way.

Your thoughts on Accessible India campaign?

It’s the first time accessibility as an issue is getting such a focus so I am quite excited. I see this campaign as Shivani Gupta, Access Abilitya beginning. While the campaign has set targets, I do hope the focus continues and we are able to bring systemic changes to improve accessibility throughout the country rather than just in the identified cities.

Tell us more about AccessAbility and what does it do?

AccessAbility is a consultancy working towards inclusion of persons with disabilities by supporting service providers or employers to make their infrastructure and services more accessible to clients or employees with disabilities.

According to you, in what ways can local communities and people contribute to the campaign?

Local communities and people at large are one of the most important stakeholders in the campaign in my opinion. To accept, respect and maintain the accessibility provided is on them. For instance, if kerb ramps are provided on pavements, often authorities barricade them to restrict miss use by two wheelers. The lack of respect by community members of that accessibility provision results in negating the benefit of having the kerb ramp.

What expectations do you have from accessible India mobile app and portal?

I do not have much information about it. I believe anyone can take pictures of inaccessible places and share them on the app. In my opinon if a portal is developed then it should be content heavy and address accessibility aspects from the multi-dimensional perspective of B to B, B to C and C to C and of course the role and involvement of the government. It may provide information like how to make a place accessible. Information on accessible services, vendors list of where to buy accessibility products from, user sharing space etc.

What do you think about travel accessibility? How do people with disability travel across India w.r.t difficulties they face due to infrastructure?

Public transport is a very important aspect for travel and participation. Unfortunately, none of our public transports systems whether they be inter-city or inter-state aren’t really accessible. The metro perhaps is moving in the right direction but that too doesn’t allow independent travel for a very large number of persons with disabilities. Since transport is so inaccessible, persons with disabilities get either home bound or have to pay a higher price to travel (by taxi or by air)

Lastly, your thoughts on importance of freedom, equality & mobility for people with disability?

Freedom, equality and mobility can be seen as constitutional rights given to all citizens of our country. The reason they are guaranteed to us is because they are important human rights. For persons with disabilities their relevance remains the same and are as important to us as they are for non-disabled persons.

Three Suggestions for accessibility beyond AIC

The AIC should collect enough information to then bring major systemic changes to improve accessibility across. Some suggests are:

  • Accessibility to be adopted in building bylaws of all states and union territories. Accessibility standards for buildings, transport, ICT, service etc to be nationally applicable
  • Course curriculum of professions (architects, engineers, designers, planners, developers etc) to have universal design as a minor but core subject
  • Public procurement act and regulations must ensure that all tenders have accessibility compliance as one mandatory component to be met

About Accessible India Campaign:

Accessible India Campaign is a nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility for people with disabilities by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities)

Follow us on twitter @MSJE_AIC and email kalyani.aic@gmail.com to nominate a changemaker for our upcoming blog interviews.

CHANGEMAKER SERIES: ACCESSIBILITY & ACCESS ABILITY