Topic of the Day – Sugamya Bharat Abhiyaan

Sugamya Bharat Abhiyaan, also called the accessible India campaign aimed at attaining universal accessibility to the person with disabilities was launched on the “International day of Persons with Disabilities”, 3rd of December 2015. This is a bid by the Government of India to make India more disabled-friendly. It has been drafted by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, in tune with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) to which India is a signatory. The objective of this campaign is to empower the disabled to easily access the public places through the installation of disabled friendly infrastructures like ramps, railings, lifts in public buildings, municipal buildings and transportation. Features like audio descriptions, captioning to promote easy accessibility to television broadcasts would also be incorporated by the Ministry of Information and broadcasting.

The plan as envisioned by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, also includes renovation of existing public buildings beside making upcoming buildings disabled friendly. The campaign would initiate equal opportunities and participation of disabled people in the society, which would, in turn, expedite economic growth and development while ensuring a dignified life for the disabled.

Targets under the Sugamya Bharat Abhiyaan campaign:

  • Three verticals i.e., built-up environment, transportation ecosystem, information & communication ecosystem are targeted in the first phase of the campaign.
  • Making international airports, category A1, A & B railway stations, completely accessible to the persons with disabilities.
  • Convert atleast 10% of the public carriers owned by the Government of India into disabled friendly carriers by March 2018.
  • By March 2018, atleast 50% of the public documents issued by the state and the central government to meet accessibility standards pertaining to persons with disabilities.
  • Social media and Information Technology to be effectively used to create awareness among people.
  • A subsidiary scheme under DEPwD, Scheme of Implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act (SIPDA) is to monitor and support the selection of public buildings and shortlist public websites that need conversion and upgradation in order to make them disabled friendly.

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