Persons with disabilities not to be left behind in smart cities

HYDERABAD, INDIA:  Will persons with disabilities, the much neglected lot in society get due access to basic public utilities in the evolving ‘Smart Cities’ in India?

Man with Vision Disability Walking On Sidewalk Holding StickThe answer seems to be a hopeful yes. At least 100 buildings each in 50 cities will be made accessible in a couple of years. These are part of the much hyped, technology intensive and ambitious ‘Smart Cities’ in the country. The Government had decided to turn 100 cities Smart.

The Government has selected these 50 cities under the Accessible India Campaign. Accordingly, the focus will be on auditing and ensuring access to atleast 25-50 of the most important government buildings in these cities fully accessible to these people by the end of 2017. By end of 2018, the target is to cover 50 per cent of all government building of the national capital region and all state capitals within reach.

Under the transport accessibility, the objective is to make all international airports fully accessible immediately and domestic airports by March 2018. Of the 32 international airports, 25 have been provided with accessibility points like toilets, lifts with braille symbols, ramps and auditory signals.

The Chief Commissioner, Dept of Empowerment of Person with Disabilities (Divyangjan), Ministry of Social Welfare, Kamlesh Kumar Pandey said they are in the process of providing Unique Diability ID (UDIDs) to person with disabilities. It will have universal recognition.

To make them more productive, a skill development programme with a target of skilling 5 lakh persons by 2018 and 25 lakh by 2022 is being implemented. So far, 44,000 persons have been trained, he said giving a review of the performance of the department in Hyderabad recently.

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 came into force from April this year. Under the Act, the categories of disabilities have been enlarged to 21 from 7.

Reservations in jobs have been increased to 4 per cent from 3 per cent along with several other benefits and facilities. Finally, to provide legal relief and quick justice to complaints, the department is also organising ‘Mobile Courts’ in different parts of the country, he added.

Source: Hindu Business Line

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