Struggling To Create A Better World For Divyangjans

The government has extended the deadline for the Accessible India Campaign wing to slow progress.

1. What is an Accessible India Campaign?

Under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Accessible India is a nation-wide flagship campaign, being handled by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities. The campaign is divided into three verticals – Built Environment; Transport and Information & Communication Technology (ICT) ecosystem.

2. Why do we need this campaign?

India has been a signatory to Article 9 of UNCRPD(UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) since 2007. The Accessible India Campaign is in line with that. Besides, as an inclusive nation, it is our duty to provide a barrier-free and conducive environment to all divyangjans (persons with disabilities) residing within the country. The campaign aims to provide equal opportunities for growth and development for persons with disabilities and build an inclusive society where they may lead a productive, safe and dignified life.

3. What was the initial target set?

There were 4 initial targets that we have now missed –

  1. Target December 2019 – Completing an accessibility audit for 50% of government buildings across the country and turning them into disabled-friendly buildings for the top 10 most important towns and cities of states.
  2. Target December 2018 – Turning all government buildings in the National Capital Territory and all State Capitals disability-friendly.
  3. Target March 2018 – Converting 50% of the railway stations in the country and 25% of government-owned public transport carriers into disabled-friendly bodies.
  4. Target March 2017 – Conduction audit of 50% of state and central government websites and turn them fully disabled-friendly.
4. What now?

India promises all its citizens equality. However, it isn’t true equality until all its citizens can have equal opportunities. For now, divyangjans are left behind. The plans set in motion by the Accessible India Campaign must be completed at the earliest to ensure dignity for the 2.68 crore disabled citizens of India.

Question for UPSC Mains:
India has failed its disabled population. Critically analyze.

Published: January 13, 2020 | Modified:January 13, 2020

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