On the eve of International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the government has reasserted its commitment towards making the country disabled friendly. United Nations on 1992 has declared 3rd December as the day for persons with disabilities to promote awareness and mobilize support for critical issues relating to the inclusion of persons with disabilities in society and development.
While addressing the Parliament today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the government is planning to launch Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan (Accessible India Campaign), so as to make the three verticals disabled-friendly: built environment, public transport sector and IT field. Under the ‘built environment’ vertical, the government intends to audit and convert at least 50 “most- important” government buildings in 26 cities, including in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Bengaluru, into “fully accessible” buildings by July, 2016.
The government also intend to convert 50 per cent of all government buildings in the national and state capitals into “fully accessible” structures by July, 2018. There is also a plan t for making major (A1, A and B categories) railway stations, which have maximum footfall fully accessible by July 2016. The accessibility campaign will also be followed by an international movie festival, with the works of disabled artists.
India has about 2.21% of its population under the disabled category, with the rural area having 18 million and urban area having 8 million people facing difficulties. According to Lalita Kumaramangalam , Chairperson, National Commission for Women, women irrespective of the type of disabilities are facing more atrocities like rape and other physical violence. She said India needs a holistic approach to make the country disabled friendly, by the coordinated effort of various ministries and departments. She also emphasized the role of Gram Panchayats and other grass root level organisations in ensuring the reach and success of the policies in a targeted manner. A separate chapter for women have also been included in the Rights of persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014.