Nearly half of the buildings are made accessible for the disabled according to the RS data
- According to the government data almost half the State and Union Territory government buildings identified during access audits in 2016-2017 have been made accessible
- While only around 8% of public buses are fully accessible under the Accessible India campaign that is scheduled to end in June
Accessible India campaign
- It was launched in 2015
- It is the nationwide flagship campaign of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
- It is in line with the Article 9 of UNCRPD(UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) to which India has been a signatory since 2007.
- Its goal was to make selected government buildings, transportation and websites accessible for persons with disabilities by March 2018.
- The deadline was then extended to March 2020 and then again to June 2022.
Achievements of campaign
- 48.5% of the State/Union Territory government buildings had been made accessible, as against the target of 50%
- Ministry had provided support to States to make 1,191 buildings accessible under the campaign and 20 States/Union Territories had reported making 577 (48.5%) buildings accessible
- In the Central government, the Central Public Works Department reported completing the retrofitting of 1,030 of the 1,100 selected buildings in 2020-2021.
- All 35 international airports and all 709 A1, A and B category railway stations had accessibility features
- Only 8.73% of government-owned buses were fully accessible as against the target of 25%
Other Government initiatives for disabled
- Scheme for Implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act (SIPDA): To provide financial assistance to the states for implementation of the act.
- Sugamya Pustakalaya: Online library for persons with disabilities.
- National Action Plan for Skill development: it aims to cover 2.5 million persons with disabilities by the year 2022 through various stakeholders.
- Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme: to promote Voluntary Action by releasing grant-in aid to NGOs.
- Reservation : 5% reservation is provided to disabled in higher education.
- Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016: Responsibility has been cast upon the appropriate governments to take effective measures to ensure that the persons with disabilities enjoy their rights equally with others.
- Every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education under the act.
- It provides for grant of guardianship by District Court under which there will be joint decision making between the guardian and the persons with disabilities.
- The Accessible India campaign is a good step in the direction of empowering the disabled people in the country and making accessibility in the government establishments easy . There should be proper monitoring mechanisms and accountability of public funds so the efficiency of such campaigns can be achieved at their best
- The campaign should be expanded to all the buildings and facilities so that overall empowerment of the disabled people can take place in the right spirit.