Accessibility index to measure organisations attitude to disabled launched

New Delhi: To promote the empowerment of persons with disabilities, the Centre launched on Wednesday an ‘Inclusiveness and Accessibility Index’ that measures the actions and attitudes of different organisations towards disabled individuals.

"Our mission is 'MODI', that is, 'Making of a Developed India'. Such an India cannot be visualised without empowering differently-abled persons," Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said.
“Our mission is ‘MODI’, that is, ‘Making of a Developed India’. Such an India cannot be visualised without empowering differently-abled persons,” Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said.

The Index was planned with a view to enabling industries and corporates to participate in the Accessible India Campaign (AIC) by voluntarily evaluating their readiness for making workplaces accessible to Persons with Disabilities.

It was prepared by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in collaboration with FCCI.

Speaking at the launch, Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said disabled persons can realise their potential in an “enabling environment” and called for ensuring better access to them in buildings, workplaces and public transportation, etc.

He also called for change in the attitude towards disabled persons so that they can participate in various aspects of community life.

“Out of every 1 lakh people in the country, 1,755 persons have one or the other disability. About 8.40 per cent of rural households and 6.10 per cent of urban households are reported to have at least one disabled person. About 47 per cent of the disabled were never married and about 55 per cent are illiterate.

“These statistics suggest that society’s inadequate and improper responses to disabled persons make their lives more difficult and challenging,” Naidu said.

The Index enables organisations to evaluate their policies and organisational culture in aid and support of differently- abled persons, employment of such persons and adaptation to answer the needs of such persons at workplaces.

It encourages them to recruit more disabled persons and give them equal opportunities.

Naidu called for provision of ramps in public buildings and facilities, adaptation of toilets for wheelchair users, Braille symbols in lifts for ease of access to disabled persons.

“Our mission is ‘MODI’, that is, ‘Making of a Developed India’. Such an India cannot be visualised without empowering differently-abled persons,” he said.

The Prime Minister had asked the corporate sector to pitch in to promote AIC during its launch on December 3 last year, a date which coincided with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.
Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment

Krishan Pal Gurjar said “accessibility” is the key to inclusion and equal access for people with disabilities is the “mantra” for AIC, or the ‘Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan’.

“An accessible, barrier-free environment is the first step towards fulfilling the right of people with disabilities to participate in all areas of community life. It is with this objective that DEPwD’s Accessible India Campaign was launched on December 3, 2015,” said Gurjar.

The campaign aims to achieve ‘Universal Accessibility’ for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) with a focus on three factors: built environment; public transportation and information and communication technologies, he said.

The Index is a first-of-its-kind initiative in the country and is a potential game-changer for the integration, assimilation and inclusion of disabled persons in the mainstream.

The Index toolkit aims to assess the current stage of inclusiveness and accessibility of persons with disabilities at a given organisation. It can also act as a guide for taking progressive steps to increase support, inclusiveness and accessibility of persons/employees with disabilities.

The study will prioritise the creation of an Accessibility Index for corporates to measure sensitivity towards persons with disabilities.