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Saturday, 26 September 2015

Empowerment of the disabled to be taken up as a mission: Fadnavis

The state government has decided to take up empowerment of Persons with Disabilities in a mission mode, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said on Thursday as he kickstarted the ‘Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan’ [Accessible India Campaign] along with Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawarchand Gehlot.

“Governments have the primary responsibility of creating an accessible environment for the Persons with Disabilities,” Fadnavis said. He observed that even though there were many laws and policies protecting the rights of Persons with Disabilities, implementation at the ground level has been far from being satisfactory.

Under the campaign, the centre has asked each state to identify 50-100 public buildings in big cities to be made easily accessible for Persons with Disabilities.

“Centre has drawn up a plan to identify at least 50 most important public buildings in 26 major metro cities and state capitals and at least 25 buildings in 22 other cities and capitals of smaller states and Union Territories. The identified buildings will then be made fully accessible to Persons with Disabilities via retrofitting of ramps, disabled-friendly lifts, toilets as well as signages. In addition, 75 important Railway Stations and all the important domestic airports will be made fully accessible by July 2016,” Gehlot said.

Four cities from Maharashtra viz. Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Nashik figure in the list of cities for the campaign.

Gehlot also said that of the 26.8 million Persons with Disabilities, less than half had been provided with disability certificates. To increase inclusiveness, the government has decided to increase the number of disabilities to 19 from the present 7 and universal identity cards with a unique number will be provided within the next year and a half.

It was also announced that the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities is in the process of creating a mobile app along with a web portal for crowd-sourcing requests regarding inaccessible places.

With the app, any person would be able to click a photograph or video of an inaccessible public place – say a school, library or any other public building and upload the same to the ‘Accessible India’ portal. The portal will process the request for access audit, financial sanction and final retrofitting of the building to make it completely accessible.

Source : The Free Press Journal , 25th Sep 2015

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