Why not use the word 'Divyang' instead of 'Viklang.' This can bring a major change in mindset: PM Modi
No Divyang needs anyone's sympathy. Our Divyang sisters & brothers want to lead a life of pride & want to do well: PM Modi
Modi government has taken several noteworthy measures to secure rights of our Divyang brothers and sisters. These steps are ensuring that they are offered equal opportunities as well as necessary institutional support empowering them to be self-reliant.
The term ‘Divyang’, popularised by PM Modi itself signals a mindset transformation towards a more inclusive New India. In this respect, not only has he always been sensitive towards the respect and dignity of Divyangs, but PM Modi has also taken transformative steps for their empowerment.
Setting a stage for social empowerment Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 was passed replacing the earlier law. In order to ensure that no one is left behind, the law defines disability based on an evolving and dynamic concept and increases types of disabilities from 7 to 21. Speech and Language Disability and Specific Learning Disability have been added for the first time. This law also includes the victims of acid attacks in its ambit, ensuring that sensitivity is shown to them.
Securing more opportunities to Divyangs, reservation in vacancies in government establishments has been increased from 3% to 4% for certain persons or class of persons with benchmark disability. The Right to free education for children with disabilities (6-18 years) and reservation of 4% seats for students in higher education institutions is another enabling provision of the Act.
The Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre has been established to provide for increased accessibility for the hearing impaired in education, in the workplace and in all activities of public life. Development of common sign language is one the monumental steps is being taken by the government to standardise the language, thus making it much easier for the hearing-impaired to communicate.
The government’s motto of easing life of every citizen extends to Persons with Disabilities as well. It has launched the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) nationwide to achieve universal accessibility for the Divyangs as a way to help them live a life of dignity without having to depend on anyone else. Barriers of all kinds, structural or physical, are being removed to ensure greater participation of Divyangs in public life and greater access for them to a normal life like everyone else.
For an inclusive society that promotes equal participation for the growth of the Divyangs and create a barrier-free environment, the Accessible India campaign has been divided into three verticals: Built environment; transport and information & communication technology (ICT) ecosystem.
Under built-up environment vertical, accessibility audits are called for to identify accessible buildings. The audits are meant to determine if a building is fully accessible, in accordance with the internationally accepted standards. About 1,000 Government buildings & 650 railway stations have been made fully accessible. The access audit of 1,662 important buildings in 50 cities has been completed as on 1 Feb 2019. 34 international airports and 48 domestic airports have been provided with accessible features viz. ramps, accessible toilets, lifts with Braille symbols and auditory signals (as of December, 2018).
Under transport systems vertical, it is being ensured that the public and private transport infrastructure could be used by all. For that, National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP), 2014 was initiated that includes the aspect of universal accessibility in all planning and implementation.
Within the ICT Ecosystem, efforts have been made to ensure full accessibility of government websites. Websites of 94 ministries/departments have been made accessible as of December 2018. The public procurement policy has been fine-tuned to ensure mandatory accessible provisions in the purchase of IT hardware and software. Access to information is seen as one of the keys to functioning in society and, as such, it is imperative for the Divyangs to be able to access all information without the barriers of infrastructure and format.
Several progressive and concrete steps have been taken to address the issues being directly faced by PwDs on a daily basis and otherwise. A holistic approach is ensuring that the issue of universal accessibility is solved at a societal level.