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What is Accessible India Campaign?

Context

With its deadline of June 2022 almost up, the status of targets under the Accessible India Campaign (AIC) is likely to be discussed during a meeting of the Central Advisory Board on Disability.

Relevance

GS-II: Government Policies and Interventions for Development in various sectors and Issues arising out of their Design and Implementation.

Dimensions of the Article

  • What is Accessible India Campaign?
  • Recent Developments
  • Key Highlights
  • Policy Measures for PwDs

What is Accessible India Campaign?

  • Accessible India Campaign or Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan is a program that is launched to serve the differently-able community of the country.
  • The flagship program has been launched on 3 December 2015, the International Day of People with Disabilities.
  • The program comes with an index to measure the design of disabled-friendly buildings and human resource policies.
  • The initiative also in line with Article 9 of the (UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) which India is a signatory since 2007.
  • The scheme also comes under the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 for equal Opportunities and protection of rights which provides non-discrimination in Transport to Persons with Disabilities.

Recent Developments

  • The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) released the Harmonised Guidelines and Standards for Universal Accessibility in India 2021.
  • Drafted by a team of the IIT-Roorkee and the National Institute of Urban Affairs of the MoHUA, the revised guidelines aim to give a holistic approach.
  • Earlier, the guidelines were for creating a barrier-free environment, but now they are focusing on universal accessibility.

Key Highlights

  • Ramps: The guidelines provide the gradient and length of ramps — for example, for a length of six metres, the gradient should be 1:12. The minimum clear width of a ramp should be 1,200 mm.
  • Beyond PwDs: While making public buildings and transport fully accessible for wheelchair users is covered in the guidelines, other users who may experience temporary problems have also been considered. For instance, a parent pushing a child’s pram while carrying groceries or other bags, and women wearing saris.
  • Women friendly: Built environment needs for accessibility for women should consider diverse age groups, diverse cultural contexts and diverse life situations in which women operate. Diverse forms of clothing (saris, salwar-kameez, etc.) and footwear (heels, kolhapuri chappals, etc.) require a certain orientations.
  • Accessibility symbols: The guidelines call for accessibility symbols for PwD, family-friendly facilities and transgender to be inclusively incorporated among the symbols for other user groups.
  • Targeted authorities: The guidelines are meant for State governments, government departments and the private sector, as well as for reference by architecture and planning institutes.

Policy Measures for PwDs

  • India is a signatory to the UN Convention the Right of Persons with Disabilities, which came into force in 2007.
  • The Union Minister for Social justice and Empowerment has also launched the “Sugamya Bharat App” to complain for ease accessibility for PwDs.
  • India has its dedicated the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, which is the principal and comprehensive legislation concerning persons with disabilities.

Source – The Hindu


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September 2022
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