Inclusive Education will lead to an inclusive world

an image of Ms. Sminu Jindal Founder & Chairperson, Svayam

Ms. Sminu Jindal, Founder & Chairperson, Svayam

If we are taught from a very young age to understand that disability is not a disease and that it can occur to anyone, then schools, communities and workplaces would become much more inclusive, which can help alter the realities of nations. Broken down to its core, this ‘social divide’ speaks of a fear of differences. Children who grow in diverse communities, which include people with disabilities, playing an active role, will create a society of tomorrow which recognizes that, at heart, we are all the same- human beings with needs, hopes, and dreams.

Data Speaks
According to the World Bank, in India, 1 out of 12 households has a person with disability. Today 65% population of our country is below 35 years of age. Imagine 30 years from now when India will have a substantial percentage of elderly population. With such a prevalence of people with reduced mobility in the country, the need for an inclusive environment cannot be swept aside. Also, as per the 2011 census, 45% of India’s disabled population is illiterate. Such astonishing numbers not only impact the lives of these children but the future of our nation is adversely affected as well. Hence, the education system needs to be made inclusive for all children with special needs, so that they can be an active and contributing part of our society that does it proud.

Breaking Attitudinal Barriers
Here, I am not just talking about accessible infrastructure but a paradigm shift in the attitudes of the people, starting with the kindergartner to the teacher in educational institutions. Generally, schools refrain from taking in students with disabilities because of the stigma attached to it. This has to change; for this, children need to be sensitized towards their schoolmates with disabilities. Educators need to be properly trained to nurture children with disabilities alongside their non-disabled peers in the same classroom. Inclusivity in education not only helps to work towards these goals but to also grow a smart and empathetic generation of tomorrow that breaks down the barriers of differences and start celebrating differences instead of ignoring or staying away..

Often, you will notice a child with disability staying apart from classmates or not taking part in regular school activities as other children tend to refrain from playing with children with disabilities because they lack the understanding that there is no difference in spirit between those who have no disabilities and those who have.. The school environment needs to be welcoming to all students and not make certain individuals feel abnormal. Studying in a regular school not only helped me mingle with other students but also helped them to be able to see me beyond my wheelchair. Our educational books should also include a chapter on civil rights of people with disabilities and it should be taught in the schools, so that students with disabilities may know their rights; it will also help other students in accepting children with disabilities as ‘equals’, and not as ‘different’.

Later, when we enter universities, students with disabilities are often reduced to doing courses online; but can bookish knowledge really replace real-life experiences? The internet is a useful tool but it does not replace real-life interactions needed to experience life fully and important moments that shape youth and sharpen their skills.

Accessibility boosts Economy 
We all together inevitably shape our economy for the better through our daily activities like education, sports, tourism, transport and employment. The economy is not just about job opportunity, but we also need to see how indirectly it affects the income generation. Therefore, it is of absolute urgency that people are not left out from these important aspects of life due to their disabilities or reduced mobility.

It does not take much to make a workplace inclusive if people, despite their challenges, choose to step out and work. Every building should have lifts, ramps and accessible washrooms, so that people with reduced mobility can enjoy uninterrupted mobility. It all starts with the basics; public transport and infrastructure should be accessible to allow people with reduced mobility to access buildings and travel with ease.

Accessible workplaces help all staff
I feel it’s not the people who are disabled; it is the environment which makes them disabled. Accessible infrastructure helps everyone. People with reduced mobility should not be treated as different or inadequate and they should not be made to feel that they are a burden, or an extra responsibility. They should be the proud contributing members of our society to the nation’s GDP. In fact, making workplaces accessible allows all employees to take fewer leaves in case of injuries, sicknesses, and pregnancy etc and their recuperating time will not remain unproductive. Elderly with reduced mobility who are forced to sit at home can also join organizations/schools and contribute their vast wisdom/experiences in nation building and to simply keep them active, if buildings and transportation are accessible.

Accessibility & Entrepreneurship
As the Chairperson of ARUNIM – Association for Rehabilitation under the National Trust Initiative in Marketing, I had worked towards economic empowerment of persons with disabilities and successfully created 6 entrepreneurs, who are today creating their own income and supporting their families. In this growing economy, where India is one of the few countries with considerable growth story, start-ups represent a wonderful opportunity for all. When persons with disabilities are given the same tools to success as the rest of the population, they can too start successful businesses through their holistic education and their own lived and professional experiences. Samuel Mani is a wonderful example of how people are not ready to settle down with less. He has cerebral palsy and had the zest to work, but he was told that he could only work if he came walking. This experience did not stop him, and today he is an inspiring entrepreneur.

New India, Inclusive India
I have met people whose family members consider them as an added responsibility, as they need to arrange additional support for their transportation, or because they are unemployed which very often results from a lack of accessibility in the public transport and infrastructure. We need to understand that an elderly person is also adding to the economy by paying for the conveyance from going from point A to point B, thus inevitably giving back to the economy. It is exactly why things are man-made; so that it helps, assists, and allows them to make changes in transport and infrastructure. Infrastructure is made for the people; hence why change people, let’s change the infrastructure itself if it is not helping all to access places. The new, stronger India that is being designed by people has to be inclusive.

Experiences make you powerful, and what happens when you get out. Abilities or disabilities, we all need exposure to thrive and discover the purpose of our lives. We need to first look at the education system, then businesses, and the workplace environment to transform the current thought surrounding disabilities, reduced mobility and accessibility.

The way forward
The more the infrastructure is enabling, more people can go out, which translates into more employment, more tourism, park visits, museums outings. We have to break the myth with the help of accessibility that older people do not spend. Accessible infrastructure will give the opportunity to all to earn their livelihood with full gusto, increasing the disposable income of households; this will help not only boosting the country’s GDP but also family’s happiness quotient.

The time has come when our leaders and management in schools, workplaces and communities alike shed their biases and make people with reduced mobility and those with disabilities a part of the growing economy that promises so much. With enabling infrastructure, you can study, step out, work and explore opportunities like anyone else. . We have to remember that in this world, everyone has their own role to play. So, let no barriers stop them.

  – Authored by Ms. Sminu Jindal

Union Minister unveils Svayam’s “Guidelines for Making Religious Places Accessible”

Shri Thawarchand Gehlot, Honourable Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India (GOI), and Ms. Sminu Jindal, Founder, Svayam, jointly unveiled “Guidelines for Making Religious Places Accessible” in New Delhi on 25 January 2019.

In photo (From Left to Right) – Dr. Kamlesh Pandey (Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities), Mr. Thawarchand Gehlot (Union Minister, Govt of India) & Ms. Sminu Jindal (Founder-Svayam), and Sh. SK Prasad, Dy. CCPD, jointly unveiling the Svayam authored booklet: “Guidelines for Making Religious Places Accessible” on 25 Jan 2019 in New Delhi.

Prepared by Svayam, the Guidelines were jointly published by Svayam and the Office of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD).

Cover page of the Guideline on Making Religious Places Accessible

As accessibility helps not only the devotees with disabilities, but also the elderly, women, sick and injured believers/worshipers, this Booklet can help set new benchmarks of accessible and inclusive religious places. The Guidelines can help management committees overseeing religious sites in providing minimum accessibility features at their shrines/ place of worship.

While unveiling the guidelines, Shri Gehlot said, “The Guidelines is a big step towards honouring the tenets of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act 2016, and may also add strength to the ongoing Accessible India Campaign.”

Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Sminu Jindal, Founder – Svayam, said, “Every religion teaches us that all humans have equal rights to seek God and pray at their chosen places. I hope the management committees of various religious places take advantage of the recommendations/tips given in this first-of-its-kind booklet in the country to achieve universal accessibility standards to make their shrines accessible, so that no one is left behind in their pursuit of spirituality.”

Dr. Kamlesh Kumar Pandey, Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, said: “Considering the mandate of the Office of CCPD and provisions of the RPwD Act 2016, we are happy to join hands with ‘Svayam’. Based on the National Standards, the present guidelines are in short, crisp and easy-to-implement format.”

Mr. Pandey added that, he would urge all the State Commissioners for Persons with Disabilities to ensure accessibility at religious places in their respective states based on these guidelines.

केंद्रीय मंत्री ने स्वयम की पुस्तिका “धार्मिक स्थानों को सुगम्य बनाने के लिए दिशानिर्देश” का अनावरण किया

नई दिल्ली | 25 जनवरी 2019

25 जनवरी 2019 को, श्री थावरचंद गहलोत, माननीय केंद्रीय मंत्री, सामाजिक न्याय एवं अधिकारिता मंत्रालय, भारत सरकार, एवं सुश्री स्मिनू जिन्दल, संस्थापक, स्वयम, ने संयुक्त रूप से “धार्मिक स्थलों को सुगम्य बनाने के लिए दिशानिर्देश” पुस्तिका का अनावरण नई दिल्ली में किया।

स्वयम ने ऑफिस ऑफ़ चीफ कमिश्नर फॉर पर्सन्स विद डिसैबिलिटीज (सी.सी.पी.डी.) के साथ साझेदारी करते हुए इस पुस्तिका का प्रकाशन किया।

पुस्तिका का विमोचन करते हुए केंद्रीय मंत्री श्री गहलोत जी ने कहा, “यह दिशानिर्देश ‘दिव्यांग अधिकार अधिनियम 2016 (RPWD Act)’ के नियमों एवं सिद्धांतों को ज़मीन पर उतारने की ओर एक बड़ा और सही कदम है। इस पुस्तिका का लेखन एवं प्रकाशन करके ‘स्वयम’ ने भारत सरकार द्वारा चलाये जा रहे ‘सुगम्य भारत अभियान’ को भी गति देने का एक सराहनीय कार्य किया है।”

सुश्री स्मिनू जिन्दल ने टिप्पणी करते हुए कहा: “ सभी मनुष्यों को उनके द्वारा चुने हुए स्थानों पर ईश्वर की तलाश करने और प्रार्थना करने का समान अधिकार है। मुझे उम्मीद है कि विभिन्न धार्मिक स्थानों की प्रबंधन समितियां अपने धार्मिक स्थलों को सुगम्य बनाने के लिए इस पुस्तिका में दी गई मानकों का इस्तेमाल करेंगे, ताकि कोई भी अध्यात्म की खोज में पीछे न रह जाए।”

डॉ. कमलेश कुमार पाण्डेय, सी.सी.पी.डी., सामाजिक न्याय एवं अधिकारिता मंत्रालय, भारत सरकार, ने कहा: “ऑफिस ऑफ़ सी.सी.पी.डी. ‘दिव्यांग अधिकार अधिनियम 2016 (RPWD Act)’ के प्रावधानों को ध्यान में रखते हुए ‘स्वयम’ के साथ हाथ मिलाया है। राष्ट्रीय मानकों के आधार के साथ, यह पुस्तिका संक्षिप्त है और इसमें आसानी से लागू होने वाले प्रारूप/मानक दिए हुए हैं। हमें उम्मीद है कि विभिन्न धर्मों से संबंधित लोग अपने धार्मिक स्थलों को सभी के लिए सुगम्य बनाने के लिए इसकी मदद लेंगे और इसके बारे में प्रचार-प्रसार भी करेंगें।”

श्री पांडे ने कहा कि, वे सभी राज्य आयुक्तों (दिव्यांगजन) से आग्रह करेंगे कि वे इन दिशानिर्देशों के आधार पर अपने-अपने राज्यों में धार्मिक स्थानों पर सुगम्यता सुनिश्चित करें|

Ms. Sminu Jindal confers ‘Svayam Accessibility Awards 2018 (Taiwan Edition)’ on eight institutions for promoting inclusion through accessibility

Founder of a pioneering dream – “To Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild a newer world to empower every soul”, an accessibility crusader, India’s first women leader to have broken the glass ceiling in the Steel, Oil and Energy sector, young and dynamic Managing Director of Jindal SAW Ltd. Ms. Sminu Jindal gave away the ‘Svayam Accessibility Awards 2018 (Taiwan Edition)’ at Taipei on the sidelines of 15th International Conference on Mobility and Transportation for the Elderly and Disabled People (TRANSED2018), on 14th November 2018 to leading government and non-government agencies of Taiwan for their wonderful initiatives to promote #Accessibility4All and inclusion.

The Call for Nomination received an overwhelming response from across Taiwan – both from government organisations as well as businesses and social enterprises.

Board of Jury
The Board of Jury for Svayam Accessibility Awards, comprised of International experts and practitioners and included Ms. Ann Frye, Director, Ann Frye Ltd., U.K. and Member, International Activities Sub Committee of TRB ABE 60, Prof. (Ms.) Anabela Simões, Ergonomics Department, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal and Member, Research Sub Committee of ABE(60) TRB, Mr. Rex CK Luk, Hong Kong Welfare Society, Member, TRB ABE 60 Committee, Mr. Joey Goldman, Independent Consultant/Co-Chair TRB ABE 60, Dr. Geetam Tiwari, Transport Research & Injury Prevention Program (TRIPP), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) New Delhi, Mr. Mohammed Yousuf, US Department of Transport and Member ABE 60, Mr. Anuj Malhotra, Centre for Green Mobility, India, Mr. Amit Bhatt, Director – Integrated Transport, Sustainable Cities, World Resources Institute, India, Prof. M. Balakrishnan, Computer Science Engineering Department, IIT Delhi, and Prof. Sheila Mitra –Sarkar, Founder, Future Trans Consulting and Member, ABE 70 – Women’s Issues in Transportation.

Introductory Film to Svayam Accessibility Awards, its legacy and nominees of 2018 edition.

 

RECIPIENTS OF SVAYAM ACCESSIBILITY AWARDS 2018 (TAIWAN EDITION):

Category: MOST ACCESSIBLE PUBLIC TRANSPORT (POLICY)

Institute of Transportation (IOT), Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), Taiwan

Dr. Chi-Kuo Lin (centre), Director General, Institute of Transportation, MOTC, Taiwan, receiving Svayam Accessibility Award 2018 from Svayam Founder Ms. Sminu Jindal & Mr. Patrick Yey, Hony. Chairman, TRANSED2018, at Taipei on 14 Nov 2018 on the sidelines of 15th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED2018)

Citation: The Institute of Transportation (IOT) helps the MOTC in accessible public transportation using a promotion cycle with concepts introduction, planning and design demonstration, operation demonstration, and regulation and policy development. IOT has been successfully assisting MOTC to establish a public transportation that is more in line with the needs of diverse groups, from barrier-free to universal design.

Institute of Transportation, Ministry of Transportation and Communications (IOT-MOTC) introduced the concepts of barrier-free environment through a series of researches since 1990. In 1995, IOT performed a series of studies that demonstrated how to plan, design, and operate the barrier-free vehicles and services.

With the help of a series of researches, IOT successfully demonstrated the planning, design, and operation of barrier-free vehicles and services. IOT also drafted the Regulation based on the gradually implemented accessible public transportation. The Regulation draft accomplished the legalization of accessible public transportation in land (road and railway), sea, and air transportation.

IOT helped towards facilitating the “sustainable development of policies for accessible public transportation to establish an inclusive environment.”

Congratulations Institute of Transportation, MOTC!

 

Category: MOST ACCESSIBLE PUBLIC TRANSPORT (PRACTICE)

The Bureau of Transportation, Taichung City Government, Taiwan

Mr. Hui-Sheng, Feng, (Centre) Deputy Director, Transportation Bureau, Taichung City Government, Taiwan, receiving Svayam Accessibility Award 2018 from Svayam Founder Ms. Sminu Jindal & Mr. Patrick Yey, Hony. Chairman, TRANSED2018, at Taipei on 14 Nov 2018 on the sidelines of 15th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED2018)

Citation: The Bureau of Transportation, Taichung City Government has undertaken inclusion- friendly accessible transport initiatives such as “Adopting Connected Vehicle Technology to Improve Bus Service” and “Accessibility for Blind and Visually Impaired Passengers”. The Bureau’s ‘City All-in-One Service’ is a ‘visually impaired navigation technology’ combined with public transport applications’ services, which is truly a great enabler. The system also works for inclusion as general population and visually impaired passengers can use the bus service together without any barrier.

In the last two years, the Bureau had started to develop Smart Transportation IOV Service, which includes Continuous promotion of Accessibility for Blind and Visually Impaired Passengers services, Bus shelter flow, and traffic detection. The buses are equipped with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) & driving recorders (MDVR).

Congratulations Bureau of Transportation, Taichung City Government!

 

Category: MOST ACCESSIBLE TOURIST ATTRACTION

North Coast & Guanyinshan National Scenic Area Administration, Tourism Bureau, MOTC, Taiwan

Mr. Shi-Ching, Chang (Second from Left), Dy Director General, Tourism Bureau MOTC Taiwan and Mr. Jenn-Chyan Chang (second from right), Director of North Coast & Guanyinshan National Scenic Area Administration, Tourism Bureau, MOTC, Taiwan, receiving Svayam Accessibility Award 2018 from Svayam Founder Ms. Sminu Jindal & Mr. Patrick Yey, Hony. Chairman, TRANSED2018, at Taipei on 14 Nov 2018 on the sidelines of 15th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED2018)

Citation: In order to a create disabled- friendly environment, the North Coast & Guanyinshan National Scenic Area Administration, Tourism Bureau, MOTC, Taiwan, has included accessibility as one of its main focus areas toward “Building a Barrier-Free and Accessible Environment at the Keelung Heping Island Park” and North Cost Accessibility Route”, and allocated a dedicated budget to develop accessible facilities.

North Coast offers nursery room, accessible toilet and accessible parking lot, accessible route, while also offering wheelchairs and baby stroller on rent. As North Coast owns one of the most unique geomorphic and incredible beaches in the world, it made the entire facilities accessible so that tourists with disabilities can also enjoy cruise tourism.

Congratulations North Coast & Guanyinshan National Scenic Area Administration, Tourism Bureau, MOTC, Taiwan!

 

Category: BEST PRACTICE AWARDS

1. Best Practice (Accessible Transport) : Bureau of Transportation, Tainan City Government, Taiwan 

Mr. Wu Yu-Chiu, Section Chief of Transportation Management Section, Tainan City Government, Taiwan, receiving Svayam Accessibility Award 2018 from Svayam Founder Ms. Sminu Jindal at Taipei on 14 Nov. 2018 on the sidelines of 15th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED2018)

Citation: The Bureau of Transportation, Tainan City Government’s “Bus Rapid Transit” system helps in creating a barrier-free environment of bus service. There are 149 low-floor buses now in Tainan with wheelchair zones, specific seats for guide dogs, and companion seats. In addition to 40% low-floor buses ratio, there are 607 new type bus shelters which have been built with LED dynamic information display systems, and 62 of them were selected to be equipped with “blind information dots” and “bus to the station voice broadcast” equipment.

“Rapid Public Transportation System” by the Bureau includes Bus Rapid Transit, Railway Rapid Transit, Inter-modal Stations Development, Demand Responsive Transportation Service (DRTS), Integration of Electronic Tickets and Information, and Advanced Public Transportation System.

Congratulations Bureau of Transportation, Tainan City Government!

 

2. Best Practice (Accessible Hospitality) : – OurCityLove Social Enterprise Co., Ltd., Taiwan

Prof. Dr. Chong Wey Lin (second from left), Founder and CEO,  along with Mr. Jack Chen, Vice CEO, OurCityLove Social Enterprise Co. Ltd., Taiwan, receiving Svayam Accessibility Award 2018 from Svayam Founder Ms. Sminu Jindal & Mr. Patrick Yey (extreme right), Hony. Chairman, TRANSED2018, at Taipei on 14 Nov 2018 on the sidelines of 15th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED2018)

Citation: OurCityLove Social Enterprise Taiwan combines innovative technology and passionate social entrepreneurs to raise awareness, increase inclusivity and improve accessibility for the elderly, mobility impaired, and people with disabilities.

It is now the leading smart city accessibility information service partner for 15 city governments, 3000+ companies in public service category and 77 NGOs in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia. Many famous museums, shopping malls, hospitals, schools, transportation stations and government agencies have adopted OurCityLove’s advanced ICT solution to offer inclusive services to all.

Congratulations OurCityLove Social Enterprise!

 

3. Best Practice (Comprehensive rehabilitation & accessibility services for Persons with Disabilities)- Eden Social Welfare Foundation, Taiwan

Mr. Juo-Sung HUANG, CEO, Eden Social Welfare Foundation, Taiwan, receiving Svayam Accessibility Award 2018 from Svayam Founder Ms. Sminu Jindal at Taipei on 14 Nov 2018 on the sidelines of 15thInternational Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED2018)

Citation: Eden Social Welfare Foundation has undertaken brilliant steps towards accessible para-transit systems, rehab bus transportation provisions, vocational training for persons with disabilities, job counselling, emotional therapy, as well as early intervention services for children with delayed development and residential care for seniors.

Eden has more than 100 service centres in Taiwan and overseas and serves nearly 200,000 people every year. Through a series of activities, such as “Love without Borders – Assistive Devices Donation Project”, Eden has successfully been promoting the cause of disabilities and accessibility in Taiwan and beyond.

Congratulations Eden Social Welfare Foundation!

 

4. Best Practice [Accessible Transport (Taxi service)] – Joint Award to The Yulon Group, Taiwan and the OurCityLove Social Enterprise, Taiwan

Mr. Vincent Tsao (extreme right) Vice President Luxgen Motor Co. Ltd, Yulon Group & Prof. Dr. Chong Wey Lin (extreme left), Founder and CEO, OurCityLove Social Enterprise Co. Ltd., Taiwan jointly receiving Svayam Accessibility Award 2018 from Svayam Founder Ms. Sminu Jindal at Taipei on 14 Nov 2018 on the sidelines of 15th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED2018)

Citation: The Yulon Group and the OurCityLove Social Enterprise have together redefined access to hotels with its inspiring accessible transport (Taxi service).

Their cooperation inspires social innovation and boosts accessible tourism services in Taiwan. “Luxgen V7 Eco‐Hyper” is the result of their joint design with the inputs from the people with disabilities, and is Taiwan’s first accessible vehicle.

With these breakthrough models, they have successfully tried to address a common frustration among the elderly and people with disabilities and their families — travelling far tourism.

Congratulations Yulon Group and the OurCityLove Social Enterprise!

 

5. Best Practice (Rehabilitation of People with Intellectual Disabilities) – Children Are Us Social Welfare Foundation, Taiwan

Ms. Sunny Hu, Director, Public Affairs, Children Are Us Social Welfare Foundation, Taiwan, receiving Svayam Accessibility Award 2018 from Svayam Founder Ms. Sminu Jindal at Taipei on 14 Nov 2018 on the sidelines of 15th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for Elderly and Disabled Persons (TRANSED2018)

Citation: Children Are Us Social Welfare Foundation (CAREUS) has constructed a safe working environment for children with intellectual disabilities and has demonstrated the Best Practice in their Rehabilitation. With assistance of social workers and industrial mentors, they teach children with ID professional skills, and have simplified the operational procedures through individualized and differentiated practical training and the design of assistive devices.

Children with ID are engaged in job matching and license acquisition to transform them from “service receivers” into “service providers.” Also, positive values are also being instilled into them for equal participation in the society.

Congratulations Children Are Us Social Welfare Foundation!

 

Media Coverage

Coverage of Svayam Accessibility Awards 2018, Taiwan Edition held on 14 Nov 2018 at Taipei.

See you in the next edition of Svayam Accessibility Awards 2021!

Svayam Accessibility Awards 2018 (Taiwan Edition) – Winner’s List

We are extremely happy to share that on the basis of recommendations of the Board of Jury, following organisations are being selected for bestowing the “Svayam Accessibility Awards 2018 (Taiwan Edition)” in different categories.

 Category: MOST ACCESSIBLE PUBLIC TRANSPORT 

  1. Institute of Transportation, Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC), Taiwan
  2. The Bureau of Transportation, Taichung City Government, Taiwan

Category: MOST ACCESSIBLE TOURIST ATTRACTION 

  1. North Coast & Guanyinshan National Scenic Area Administration, Tourism Bureau, MOTC, Taiwan 

Category: BEST PRACTICE AWARDS

  1. Best Practice (Accessible Transport) : Bureau of Transportation, Tainan City Government, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
  2. Best Practice (Accessible Hospitality) : – OurCityLove Social Enterprise Co., Ltd., Taiwan
  3. Best Practice (Comprehensive rehabilitation & accessibility services for Persons with Disabilities)- Eden Social Welfare Foundation, Taiwan
  4. Best Practice [Accessible Transport (Taxi service)] Joint Award to The Yulon Group, Taiwan and the OurCityLove Social Enterprise, Taiwan
  5. Best Practice (Rehabilitation of People with Intellectual Disabilities) – Children Are Us Social Welfare Foundation, Taiwan

Details of the Award Ceremony 

The award ceremony will be held on the sidelines of the 15th International Conference on Mobility and Transport for the Elderly and the Disabled Persons (TRANSED2018, Taipei),  as per the following details:  

Venue:  Banquet Hall, Taipei International Convention Centre (TICC),                                            1 Hsin-Yi Road, Section 5, Taipei 11049, Taiwan (ROC)

Date & Time:     14th November, 6 PM – 8 PM

Heartiest congratulations to all the Winners and we hope this award becomes another milestone to renew our commitments to achieve a better, liveable, sustainable and inclusive world for all of us!

Hashtags: Sustainable TransportSvayam Accessibility AwardsSvayam EventsSvayam Press ReleasesTRANSED ConferencesTransportation Research Boardurban mobility  Accessible TourismAccessible TransportSvayam Accessibility AwardsSvayam EventsTRANSED2018 Conference

Svayam Accessibility Awards 2018 Update- 10 entries shortlisted for finals!!

We are encouraged by an overwhelming response to the ‘Call for Nomination for Svayam Accessibility Awards 2018 (Taiwan)’. The Jury consisting of national and international experts have shortlisted 10 applications for final review.

Each of these applicants have proven record of mobility, transportation and accessibility related projects implemented in the territory of Taiwan on the thematic areas. The award ceremony will coincide with the 15th International conference on Mobility and Transport for the Elderly and the Disabled Persons (TRANSED2018, Taipei), scheduled to be held during 12-15 November 2018 at Taipei, Taiwan.

We thank our jury members for shortlisting the top 10 agencies/organizations. The names of finalist organizations with their respective categories are as below:

S.No. Names of Organization Category/categories
1 Children Are Us Social Welfare Foundation (CAREUS) Best Practice Project
2 The Bureau of Transportation, Taichung City Government Accessible Public Transport
3 Eden Social Welfare Foundation Best Practice Project
4 Yulon Group & OurCityLove Social Enterprise Taiwan Best Practice Project (Transport)
5 OurCityLove Social Enterprise Co., Ltd., Taiwan Best Practice Project (Hospitality)
6 Bureau of Transportation, Tainan City Government, Taiwan Accessible Public Transport
7 Institute of Transportation, MOTC Accessible Public Transport
8 Chiayi City Government Accessible Tourist Attraction/ Heritage Site
9 National Taiwan Museum Accessible Tourist Attraction/ Heritage Site
10 North Coast & Guanyinshan National Scenic Area Administration, Tourism Bureau, MOTC, Taiwan Accessible Tourist Attraction/ Heritage Site

We congratulate all ‘Finalists’ who made it to this prestigious and coveted list. Keep your fingers crossed and watch this space for the final results to be declared on 14 Nov. 2018!!

Svayam & FAAS (water.org) join hands to promote Accessible Sanitation in Rural India

To promote accessible sanitation in rural India, Svayam  & Foundation for Accessible Aquanir and Sanitation (FAAS) (the Indian arm of water.org) organized a project launch event in New Delhi on 20 September 2018.

In Photo: Svayam Founder Sminu Jindal (seated) with Svayam & FAAS team members at the launch of Joint Accessible Sanitation Project

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed on 02 August 2018.

Ms. Sminu Jindal, Founder-Chairperson, Svayam, & MD, Jindal SAW Limited,  graced the occasion and formally launched the project.  The event was attended by Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director, Svayam, Mr. Manoj Gulati, Executive Director India, water.org, and Director, FAAS, along with Ms. D. Buvaneswari, Senior Program Manager, FAAS, and other key personnel of the both organisations.

Commenting on the unique project, Ms. Jindal said: “As every home has elderly people, women and children, an accessible toilet is a need and not a choice. Also, it provides safety and ease-of-use when someone in the family gets sick or injured, or when a lady in the house is going through pregnancy or has a C-Section. The families having children or persons with disabilities certainly need such toilets.”

Svayam Founder added, “As awareness is lacking in rural India, it is imperative that we go out there and tell people that they need such family toilets. Through this project, people will be able to know that building an accessible toilet is not expensive; it is done differently. I hope this project will set an example for many more states to follow and it will also strengthen the Government’s ‘Accessible India Campaign’ as well as ‘Swacch Bharat Abhiyan’. I wish the Project Team a great success!”

Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth said: “This project can create a larger impact in propagating the concept of ‘Accessible Family Toilets’ in rural areas. The project is sustainable as once the families start using it, it will spread by word-of-mouth and more families would like to own this kind of toilet.”

The brief details of the project are given below:

States to be covered: Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha

Target beneficiaries: Families with elders, persons with reduced mobility, persons with disabilities, injured/sick family members, pregnant women/new mothers and children.

The five key pillars for this project are:

  1. Establishment of Technology Specifications for Rural Special Need Toilet
  2. Supply Chain Market Creation and Mason Training
  3. Local People and Stakeholder Awareness and Demand Generation
  4. Credit Financing for Self-Construction
  5. Monitoring and Evaluation

Svayam is the Funding and Knowledge Partner of this project, while FAAS is the Implementing Partner. The objective of the project is to encourage people in rural areas to build accessible family toilets with the loan from Financial Institutions (FIs).  With the grants from Svayam FAAS will launch awareness campaigns, create IEC material, hold workshops, and promote Accessible Family Toilet as a financial product and encourage rural households through self help groups to take a loan to built or retrofit an accessible family toilet.

Svayam Founder’s Interview in Hindi publication ‘Aahar Vihar’ (Sep. 2018)

सुश्री स्मिनू जिन्दल, मैनेजिंग डायरेक्टर, जिन्दल सॉ लिमिटेड, एक दूरदर्शी उद्यमी हैं जिन्होंने ये मिथक तोड़ दिया कि महिलाएं स्टील, तेल और गैस क्षेत्र में बड़ी कंपनियों का नेतृत्व नहीं कर सकती। जिन्दल सॉ लिमिटेड, जिसका मौजूदा टर्नओवर Rs. 8300 करोड़ है, को उचाईयों तक पहुंचाने में सुश्री जिन्दल का अत्यंत महत्वपूर्ण योगदान रहा है।

सुश्री जिन्दल, जो खुद व्हीलचेयर यूजर है, वर्ष  2000 में ‘स्वयम’ नाम की एक संस्था की स्थापना किया, जिसका उद्देश्य विश्व को सुगम्य बनाना है ताकि बुज़ुर्गों, बच्चों, बीमारों, और दिव्यांगजनों को जीवन जीने और अपने रोज़ मर्रा के कार्यो के करने में किसी भी तरह की परेशानी न हो और वो स्वाभिमान और सुरक्षा के साथ अपना जीवन जी सकें।

स्वयम की स्थापना से पहले देश में अधिकतर लोग केवल विकलांगता के बारे में जानते थे और इनके अधिकारों की मांग करते थे। स्वयम ने लोगो में सुगम्यता को लेकर जागरूकता फैलाना शुरू किआ और पालिसी और धरातल दोनों लेवल पर कड़ी मेहनत की। एक ऐतिहासिक मौका हमें क़ुतुब मीनार को सुगम्य बनाने को मिला जिसके एक्सेसिबल बनने के बाद 20 मेंबर्स वाली संसदीय समिति, जिसके अध्यक्ष श्री सीताराम येचुरी थे, ने क़ुतुब परिसर का सर्वेक्षण किया  और देखा कि कैसे सुगम्यता हर तरह के टूरिस्ट्स (बुज़ुर्ग, बच्चे, महिलाएं, दिव्यांगजन) को लाभ पहुंचा रही है। इसके बाद भारतीय पुरातत्व सर्वेक्षण (ASI) ने सारी विश्व धरोहर स्थलों को सुगम्य बनाने का निर्णय लिया जिसमे ताज महल भी शामिल है।

इसके बाद पर्यटन मंत्रालय, दिल्ली सरकार और राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर सुगम्यता से होने वाले फायदे के बारे में जागरूकता बढ़ने लगी और सरकार को ये मालूम हो गया कि सुगम्यता देश के लिए ज़रूरी है। जब सरकार ने  ‘सुगम्य भारत अभियान’ की शुरुआत किआ तब बहुत सारी संस्थाओं को रोज़गार से जुड़ने का मौका मिला और पहली बार संस्थाओं ने सुगम्यता के लिए काम करना शुरू किया ।

राष्ट्रीय और अंतर्राष्ट्रीय स्तर पर सुगम्य वातावरण को प्रोत्साहित करने के लिए स्वयम वर्ष 2012 से अलग अलग देशों में अवार्ड्स भी देता रहा है। अगला पड़ाव ताइवान है। 

ऐसा देखा जाता है कि घर में बुज़ुर्ग होने के बावजूद भी लोग अपने घर को सुगम्य नहीं बनाते। क्या ये जागरूकता की कमी की वजह से है या लोगों को ये लगता है की ये काम महंगा होगा?

हाँ, जागरूकता की कमी है। हमें लगता है की हमारे बुज़ुर्गों ने अपनी ज़िन्दगी जी ली और वो अब ‘एडजस्ट’ कर लेगें। हम उनकी दिक्कतों को नहीं समझ पाते और उन्हें ‘एडजस्ट’ करने के लिए बोल देते हैं।

लोग 60 वर्ष की आयु में सेवानिवृत हो जाते हैं परन्तु बेहतर स्वास्थ्य सेवाओं की वजह से रिटायरमेंट के बाद भी उनके  पास जीने के लिए लम्बी आयु बची होती है। हमें सोचना चाहिए की 60 से 80 के बीच इस लम्बी उम्र को भला एक बुज़ुर्ग कैसे एडजस्ट कर लेगा। सुगम्य व सुलभ बुनियादी वातावरण और सुविधाओं की कमी के कारण बुज़ुर्ग सोने के पिंजरों में क़ैद हो जाते हैं जिसे वो कभी घर कहा करते थे!

और फिर बुज़ुर्ग ही क्यूँ? सुगम्यता की ज़रूरत आप को है, सब को है। महिलाओं, बीमार, बच्चों, घायल – इन सबको सुगम्य इंफ्रास्ट्रक्चर की ज़रूरत पड़ती है। सुगम्यता आपके घर को ‘सुरक्षित’ बनाती है। इसलिए सुगम्य बिल्डिंग, सुगम्य यातायात और सुगम्य सर्विसेज का होना बेहद ज़रूरी है।

ये काम लगता महंगा है किन्तु ऐसा नहीं है। आज के इंटरनेट के ज़माने में सुगम्य घर बनाने के लिए हर इन्फॉर्मेशन आसानी से हासिल की जा सकती है। अगर आप नया घर बना रहें हैं तो इसे सुगम्य बनाने में कोई अलग खर्च नहीं होगा। पहले से बने हुए टॉयलेट को सुगम्य बनाने  (रेट्रोफिटिंग) में भी ज़्यादा खर्च नहीं होता, पर ये तो आपको घर बनाते समय सोचना चाहिए था कि चिकनी टाइल्स या संगमरमर न लगाए जबकि बाजार में स्किड-फ्री टाइल्स और ग्रैब बार्स आसानी से मिल जाते हैं। ये तो आपको मालूम होगा की अगर दरवाज़ा चौड़ा होगा तो जहाँ लकड़ी ज़्यादा लगेगी वहां ईट, सीमेंट कम भी तो हो जाएगी।

ये काम महंगा नहीं, डिफरेंट ज़रूर है। या ये कहिये कि ये दूसरी तरह से सोचने की चीज़ है।

पब्लिक इंफ्रास्ट्रक्चर को सुगम्य बनाने में मुख्य चुनौतियां क्या हैं?

तीन चुनौतियां हैं। पहली चुनौती जागरूकता की कमी हैं। इसकी वजह से हम ये नहीं जान पाते कि ‘सुगम्यता’ हम सब का विषय है और हमें इससे कभी न कभी तो जूझना ही पड़ेगा। चूँकि हम जागरूक नहीं इसलिए हम अपनी ज़िम्मेदारियों को भी नज़रअंदाज़ कर देते हैं। हम रैम्प का रखरखाव नहीं करते, वहां कूड़ा दाल देते है, ट्रैफिक से बचने केलिए कर्ब-कट से अपनी बाइक निकाल ले जाते हैं, लिफ्ट में बुज़ुर्गों को पहले नहीं चढ़ने देते।

दूसरी बात, मान लो अगर एक बस या बस स्टॉप ख़राब हो जाये तो क्या हम उसे इस्तेमाल करना छोड़ देते है? नहीं, बल्कि हम उसे मेन्टेन करते रहते है। इसी तरह रैंप व सुगम्यता के अन्य साधनों का रखरखाव भी ज़रूरी है।

लोगों के नज़रियें को बदलना दूसरी बड़ी चुनौती है। जैसे हम पानी का इंतज़ाम करते हैं (न कि ये इंतज़ार करें की पहले प्यास लगे फिर कुआँ खोदें), वैसे ही घर को अभी सुगम्य बनाना ज़्यादा ज़रूरी है या फिर पहले चोट लग जाये, विकलांगता और बुढ़ापा आ जाये तब सोचें कि आओ अब घर को सुगम्य बनाते है? तबतक शायद बहुत देर हो चुकी होगी। उम्र के उस पड़ाव में शायद आपके पास आर्थिक निर्णय लेने की क्षमता भी न हो।

ऐसा मानना कि ये तो केवल २% (दिव्यांगजन) लोगों की प्रॉब्लम है फिर भला हम क्यूँ इस विषय पर बात करें, न सिर्फ ग़लत है बल्कि अपने आप को धोखा देने जैसा है। क्या आप बूढ़े नहीं होंगे? क्या आप के घर पर बुज़र्ग नहीं है? क्या आपके घर पर कभी कोई महिला प्रेगनंट नहीं होगी? क्या आपके घर में बच्चे नहीं रहते? क्या किसी को कभी भी चोट नहीं लगेगी? क्या कभी कोई बीमार नहीं पड़ेगा? ये सब हर घर में होता है, इसलिए नज़रिया बदलिए, नज़ारा अपने आप बदल जायेगा।

जागरूकता डिमांड्स को बढ़ाएगी और जब डिमांड्स बढ़ेगी तो सुगम्य घर बनाने वालों और इसमें इस्तेमाल होने वाली चीज़ो की उपलब्धता अपने आप ही बढ़ जाएगी।

तीसरी बड़ी चुनौती आवाज़ न उठाना है। उदाहरण के तौर पर रेलवेज में सुगम्यता को लेकर तो काम हो रहा है पर विमानों में में एक भी सुगम्य टॉयलेट नहीं होता जबकि इसमें प्रथम श्रेणी का कक्ष व विशिष्ट स्नानगृह का प्रावधान होता है। अब जरा कल्पना कीजिये कि आप लम्बी दूरी की हवाई यात्रा पर जा रहे हैं और आपको केवल इसलिए अपने आपको रोकना पड़े कि विमान में एक भी सुगम्य शौचालय नहीं है!  क्या ये मानवाधिकार का उल्लंघन नहीं? लेकिन ये हक़ तो तभी मिलेगा जब सारे लोग एक साथ आवाज़ उठाएगें।

दिव्यांग लोगों को हमारे देश में चैरिटी की नज़र से देखा जाता है, जबकि उन्हें सामान अधिकार मिलना चाहिए। इस पर आपके क्या विचार है?

आपने बिलकुल सही कहा। दिव्यांगजनों को सामान अधिकार मिलना ही चाहिए। जन सामान्य ये समझती है कि दिव्यांगजन केवल चैरिटी के पात्र है। स्कूल और कॉलेज सुगम्य नहीं, बच्चो के माता-पिता चाहते नहीं कि उनके बच्चे के साथ कोई दिव्यांगजन पढ़े, कंपनी इन्हे जॉब देना नहीं चाहती क्यूंकि फिर उन्हें अपने ऑफिसेस को सुगम्य बनाना पड़ेगा, इसलिए अधिकतर लोग दिखावे, पुण्य प्राप्त करने या एक अच्छी अनुभूति हेतु थोड़ी देर के लिए दिव्यांगजनों के प्रति सहानुभूति तो दिखा देंगें पर कोई ऐसा काम नहीं करेंगे जिससे एक दिव्यांगजन स्वाभिमान के साथ अपनी रोज़ी कमा सके। दिव्यांगजन को ‘बेचारा’ दिखाने में कुछ संस्थाओं का भी काफी योगदान है। यहाँ तक कि माता -पिता भी अपने दिव्यांग बच्चे को ‘स्पैशल ट्रीट’ करते है, जो गलत है। उनको पूरी तरह दूसरों पर निर्भर बना देते हैं और इस तरह वो बच्चे असली दुनिया और इसकी प्रोब्लेम्स को नहीं समझ पाते और न ही झेल सकते हैं। इसलिए माता-पिता को चाहिए कि दिव्यांग बच्चों को भी आत्मनिर्भर बनाये और उन्हें गिरने और उठने का मौका दे।

दिव्यांगजन को आगे बढ़ने के लिए चैरिटी नहीं, अपॉर्चुनिटी चाहिए। इसीलिए हमें सुगम्य शिक्षा और शिक्षा का सामान अधिकार की मांग करना चाहिए। अगर दिव्यांग बच्चो को चैरिटी के बजाये सुगम्य शिक्षा मिलेगी तो वो अपनी राह तलाशने में खुद सक्षम होंगें।

सम्मिलित समाज तभी बनेगा जब पब्लिक इंफ़्रास्ट्रक्टर, ट्रांसपोर्ट एवं टेक्नोलॉजीज सुगम्य होंगी। जब लोग पालिसी बदलने की बात करेंगे तब अधिकार मिलेगा। ‘स्वयम’ इसी मिशन को लेकर आगे बढ़ रहा है।

सरकार का कितना सहयोग रहा है आपके मिशन में?

सरकार का सहयोग स्वयम के लिए बहुत ज़रूरी है क्यूँकि इतने विशाल देश के आधारभूत ढाँचे को सुगम्य बनाना किसी एक व्यक्ति या संस्था के बस की बात नही। वर्तमान सरकार ‘सुगम्य भारत अभियान’ को लांच करके हमें जागरूकता फ़ैलाने का मौका दिया। अगर हम सब अपनी शारीरिक परिस्थितियों के बावजूद एक साथ विकास के लिए चल पड़े तो वो दिन दूर नहीं जब हमारा देश फिर से ‘सोने की चिड़िया’ कहलाएगा।

जब आपकी सरकार ‘सबका साथ सबका विकास’ की बात करती है तो वो तभी होगा जब सही मायनों में सम्मिलित सर्व शिक्षा अभियान, स्वच्छ भारत, सुगम्य भारत के अन्तर्गत साफ़ और सुगम्य टॉयलेट और इंफ्रास्ट्रक्चर और यातायात होगा।

‘स्वयम’ का आगे का क्या प्लान है?

स्वयम सरकार के साथ मिलकर देश को सुगम्य बनाने के लिए पूरी तरह समर्पित और कार्यरत है। हम नेशनल बिल्डिंग कोड (NBC) के अलावा ब्यूरो ऑफ़ इंडियन स्टैंडर्ड्स (BIS) द्वारा स्मार्ट सिटीज मिशन के लिए बनायीं गयी समिति के भी मेंबर हैं। हम केंद्रीय लोक निर्माण विभाग (CPWD) साथ भी हमारे कई प्रोजेक्ट्स चल रहे हैं। पहले भी हम सरकारी डिपार्टमेंट्स जैसे लोक निर्माण विभाग (PWD) और नई दिल्ली नगर निगम (NDMC) के साथ कई बड़े प्रोजेक्ट्स कर चुके हैं।

हवाई यात्रा सुगम्य बनाने के लिए नागरिक उड्डयन मंत्रालय एवं सामाजिक न्याय और अधिकारिता मंत्रालय को हमने CAR (हवाई नियम) को बदलने के लिए कई रेकमेंडेशन्स दिए हैं, और उम्मीद करते हैं की उन्हें जल्द नए CAR में शामिल किया जायेगा।

अभी हमने दिल्ली मेट्रो के अमान्तरण पर उनके 10 मेट्रो स्टेशन को बुज़ुर्गों, महिलाओं, बच्चो, बीमारों एवं दिव्यांगों के लिए सुगम्य बनाने के लिए एक्सेस ऑडिट किया है, जिसका रेकमेंडेशन्स तैयार किया जा रहा है।

इसके अलावा वाराणसी के घाटों को सुगम्य बनाए के लिए हमें आमंत्रित किआ गया था। इन घाटों का एक्सेस ऑडिट संपन्न हो चूका है और रेकमेंडेशन्स भी सबमिट करने के कगार पर हैं।

आहार विहार के पाठकों को सुगम्यता के बारे में आप क्या सलाह देना चाहेंगीं?

जब लोग विकलांग हो जाते हैं या बुढ़ापे की वजह से चल फिर नहीं सकते, तो उनके पास दो विकल्प होते हैं – आप क्या कर सकते हैं, और आप क्या नहीं कर सकते हैं। आप जो नहीं कर सकते हैं उसे पछतावा करने के बजाय, महत्वपूर्ण यह है कि आप अपनी मौजूदा क्षमताओं पर ध्यान केंद्रित करें और देखें कि आप उन क्षमताओं के साथ क्या कर सकते हैं। इसके लिए सुगम्यता के बारे में बोध होना और उसके प्रति कार्यरत होना और आवाज़ उठाना ज़रूरी है।

हम सभी को वास्तविकता को स्वीकार करना होगा और इसके लिए पूर्ण रूप से तैयार भी रहना होगा। हमें सोचना होगा कि भारतवर्ष में 65 प्रतिशत जनसंख्या 35 वर्ष से कम आयु वाले लोगों की है। जब वो बुज़ुर्ग हो जायेंगें तो क्या उन्हें सुगम्य इंफ्रास्ट्रक्चर नहीं चाहिए?

अगर एक  समावेशी समाज हमें बनाना है तो ‘सुगम्यता’ हमारे लिए “रोटी, कपडा और मकान” की तरह बेहद ज़रूरी होना चाहिए। आपकी मैगज़ीन का नाम भी ‘आहार विहार’ है। उम्मीद है इसके ज़रिये काफी लोगों तक मेरी बात पहुंचेगी और सुगम्य विहार के कैंपेन को  बल मिलेगा।

इस नेक काम में हर इंसान की मदद चाहिए तभी ये एक ‘क्रांति’ बन पायेगा और मुझे पूरा विश्वास है कि जिस तरह ‘हरित क्रांति’ एवं ‘श्वेत क्रांति’ आई, उसी तरह  अब हम सब मिलकर ‘सुगम्य क्रांति’ लेकर आएगें।

Link for full magazine:  Aahar Vihar Magazine Sep 2018

Svayam’s suggestions find place in TRAI’s Full Recommendations on making ICT Accessible for Persons with Disabilities

We are happy to share that most of the suggestions made by Svayam on Consultation Paper on ‘Making ICT accessible for Persons with Disabilities’ have found place in the  Full Recommendations released by TRAI on 09 July 2018.  

July 09, 2018 | New Delhi

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) had issued a Consultation Paper on  ‘Making ICT Accessible for Persons with Disabilities’ dated 20 December 2017.  Stakeholders were requested to send their comments by 22 January 2018, and counter comments by 05 February 2018.

Svayam, as a leading accessibility rights organization, was on the forefront in submitting its comments and recommendations, as well as counter comments.

Open House Discussion by TRAI on Consultation Paper on making ICT Accessible for Persons with Disabilities
Open House Discussion organised by TRAI on 05 Apr 2018

Later, TRAI held an open house discussion on 05th April 2018, where Svayam team participated and strengthened its case for accessible information and communication technologies (ICT), and why its recommendations should be considered for framing a policy for Inclusive ICT for all. 

The Full Recommendations released by TRAI have been submitted to the Government of India for framing a National Policy. 

Svayam’s Suggestions which became part of TRAI’s Recommendations:     

Many ideas and comments submitted by Svayam have found place in TRAI’s recommendations; some of them are given below:

2.3: All 21 disabilities listed under the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016‘should be covered under any proposed framework. Cognitive disabilities, learning disabilities, locomotive disabilities, and degenerative diseases should also be incorporated into any proposed framework.

2.18: The Authority (TRAI) recommends that in order to ensure accessibility of ICT services to the PwDs a steering committee under aegis of Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities should be formed.

2.19: Access to assistive technologies: In order to ensure barrier-free interaction with the digital world, it is essential that assistive technologies are free or available at a low cost through subsidies or grants. It is imperative to either make devices accessible or ensure that devices are compatible with third party assistive technologies. There is also a need for training of PwDs and those who assist them on the use of technologies and features made available.

Accessible services and interfaces: To ensure complete and equal participation in the digital world, PwDs require services and interfaces that ensure that content on television, Internet or in other electronic media is available in accessible formats – for instance, through the use of closed captions for users who are deaf or hard of hearing and audio description for users who are blind or visually impaired. There is also need to undertake awareness campaigns on the availability of accessible content.

Inaccessible customer services: PwDs face challenges accessing customer services offered by telecom service providers. Customer services need to be redesigned to addresses the specific needs of persons with disabilities.

2.29: In India, RPWD Act,2016 envisaged that there is need to take measures to ensure that all content available in audio, print and electronic media are in accessible format. So far as ICT accessibility is concerned the Authority is of the view that the telecom service providers need to provide telephone/DTH bills to the PWDs in accessible form based on their choice. For the persons with low vision, telephone/mobile bills can be provided in large font size, blind persons can opt to get the telephone bill in Braille script.

2.44: The Authority is of the view that every service provider (TSPs/MSO/DTH) should have dedicated customer support desk meant only for PwDs so that any call received from them should be directed/diverted to that desk.

2.45: Apart from having a dedicated desk it is also important to ensure that the customer support/service staff employed by TSPs and broadcasters are adequately trained to assist PwDs in accessing the services and devices designed for them.

2.46 (d): TSPs, MSOs/DTH and PSAP operators should ensure that the executives that deal with PwD customers have been given sensitivity training from time to time so as to understand and deal with the issue raised by PwDs.

2.51: The Authority recommends that DoT and MIB may instruct TSPs and DTH/MSOs to conduct frequent awareness campaigns regarding issues of accessibility, design, affordability and information pertaining to assistive products available to PwDs and the various government policies/schemes pertaining to accessible ICT that can be availed by PwDs.

2.52: The universal design principles should be adopted instead of developing a model specifically for PwDs.

2.54: The Authority is of the view that every mobile manufacturer who produces 5 or more different models of mobile handsets should provide at least one mobile handset satisfying the accessibility criteria for PwDs.

2.55: the Authority recommends every mobile manufacturer who produces 5 or more different models of mobile handsets should provide at least one mobile handset satisfying the accessibility criteria for PwDs as enumerated in the recommendations.

2.67: The Authority recommends that the Government should mandate all the government agencies that in procurement of ICT products viz Computer hardware, mobile phones, Set Top Boxes, it should be mandatory that these are accessible to PwDs.

2.90: Grips for improved stability (mobile phones)

Chapter-III – Summary of recommendations:

3:2: The Authority recommends that in order to ensure accessibility of ICT services to the PwDs a steering committee under aegis of Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities should be formed.

3.2 (c): Formulate guidelines and suggest an implementation and monitoring mechanism so as to improve ICT accessibility for PwDs.

3.5 (b): TSPs, MSOs and DTH Operators should have a special desk in their Call Centres/Customer support centres where calls received from special category numbers are routed to this specialised desk which should be manned by person(s) to receive calls from PwDs using assistive technologies.

3.5 (d): TSPs, MSOs/DTH and PSAP operators should ensure that the executives that deal with PwD customers have been given sensitivity training from time to time so as to understand and deal with the issues raised by PwDs.

3.7: Every mobile manufacturer who produces 5 or more different models of mobile handsets should provide at least one mobile handset satisfying the accessibility criteria for PwDs as enumerated in the recommendations. This may be achieved by the end of 2020.

3.9: The Authority recommends that the Government should mandate all government agencies that in procurement of ICT products viz Computer hardware, mobile phones, Set Top Boxes, it should be mandatory that these are accessible to PwDs.

3.11 (d): Closed captioning control and display options.

3.12: The Authority recommends that broadcasting channels may be developed in accessible format too for PwDs with audio & visual impairment.

We hope that recommendations submitted by TRAI would soon be accepted by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) Govt. of India for framing a national policy which is crucial for standardization of Inclusive ICT Norms. It will help include a large segment of  persons with disabilities in the mainstream., which as per the World Bank Report (2007) titled ‘People with Disabilities in India: from Commitments to Outcomes’, comprise between 4 and 8 percent of the Indian population. 

Also, the population of senior citizens is about 10-12 % of the total population which is  expected to grow more than 2.8 per cent and make up one-fifth of the total population by 2025-2030. (Report by WHO). Accessibility of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can play a great role in not only improving the quality of life but also tapping the potentials of such a huge number of India’s citizenry.

For achieving a truly inclusive information society, persons with disabilities must be able to use information and communication technologies (ICTs) with equal ease. This can be made possible only if the accessibility of ICTs is on the top of the agenda of manufacturers and service providers. Though, it makes business sense to attract persons with disabilities with ICTs having accessibility features, manufacturers failed to tap this opportunity.  Hence, a stringent policy is required to ensure persons with disabilities get what they need. A comprehensive plan is needed to adopt accessible operating system for product development and service divisions to include everyone.

Downloads Available 

(a) Full Recommendations by TRAI to the DoT, 09 July 2018

(b) Svayam’s Comments submitted to TRAI, Jan 2018