Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan
This is a new scheme from the Modi government that was launched on 3rd December 2015, coinciding with the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. Accessibility is still a big issue for disabled people in the country and this scheme aims to make the country friendlier towards differently abled persons. The sole aim of the scheme is to make the public and other places in the country easily accessible for persons with disabilities.
What are the objectives of this scheme?
The objective of the scheme is to make public space, airports, tourist places, transport, information and communication technology and railway stations better accessible for persons with disabilities (PwD). The aim of the government is to allow equal opportunity to PwDs so that they can live independently and make their lives dignified, safe and productive.
The scheme aims to instil a country-wide awareness for creating better accessibility solutions for the differently abled. The scheme is being launched with active participation from Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD).
Implementation of Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan
- The first phase of the mission will be directed at three major verticals – built-up environment, transportation eco-system and information and communication eco-system.
- The mission will be time-bound and will actively make use of IT and social media to increase awareness among the population.
- It will seek to engage people from different walks of life such as students, professionals and government officers, among others.
- Each state government has to identity 50 – 100 public installations in large cities and also select citizen facing public websites, which should then be converted to disabled-friendly installations through proper auditing. These objectives will be overseen and fulfilled by the Scheme of Implementation of Persons with Disabilities Act (SIPDA), which falls under the DEPwD scheme.
- Accessible tourism, hospitals and police stations are to be created throughout the country in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Health Ministry of Home and Family Welfare.
- Enhanced accessibility for television programs through collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
Implementation in IT infrastructure
The scheme will also include creation of web portal and mobile app in multiple languages, which will help differently abled persons locate the nearest accessibility-friendly places as well as inaccessible places.
The app will come with the additional functionality of photo or video upload, which will allow users to post about inaccessible places so that necessary steps may be taken.
Finally, this scheme is to be implemented in a window of 5 years and the relevant agencies have already started work on the scheme. The government websites are planned to be made W3C compliant and the DEPWD has set a deadline of 7 months for auditing government installations around the country. More steps will likely follow with the aim of making lives easier for PwD and utilizing their contributions in the growth of the country.
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