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Accessibility post the Persons with Disability Act in India - Issues, Status & the Way Forward. Presented by: Shivani Gupta Director & Co-Founder, AccessAbility firstname.lastname@example.org. About AccessAbility. An organisation working towards inclusion of PwD through:
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Accessibility post the Persons with Disability Act in India- Issues, Status & the Way Forward Presented by: Shivani Gupta Director & Co-Founder, AccessAbility email@example.com
About AccessAbility • An organisation working towards inclusion of PwD through: • Providing infrastructural accessibility • Promoting job opportunities • Sensitization and awareness • Research • The services we provide for Infrastructural Accessibility include: • Access Audits & Appraisals; • Access Consultancy - Implementation Strategies, - Architectural support services; • Research – developing local technical standards; • Subject training – architects, designers, town planners; • Information dissemination – website, online discussion forum, etc. • Some of our recent clients: • ITC Welcomgroup Hotels - Park Hotels • Indian School of Business - Guwahati Master Plan 2025 • Jamia Milia Islamia University - Delhi University • VFS India Pvt. Ltd. - MSJE • National Institute for the Visually Handicapped
Content • Understanding Accessibility • The Law • The Persons with disabilities Act • Other Policies • Accessibility Roadmap • Successes and Failures • The Gaps • Legal Loopholes • Accessibility Guidelines • The Professionals • The Way Forward
Primary Legislation- The PwD Act (1995) • Chapter V – Education • Ensure under 18 year olds have access to free education in Appropriate Environment • The removal of architectural barriers from schools, colleges or other institution, imparting vocational and professional training • Chapter VI – Employment • 3% reservation in every government & public sector establishment • “Health and safety measures and creation of a non-handicapping environment in places where persons with disabilities are employed.” • Chapter VIII – Non Discrimination • Adapt rail compartments, vessels & aircrafts to permit easy access • Adapt toilets in rail compartments, vessels, aircrafts & waiting rooms for wheelchair users • Auditory signals at red lights for VI • Curb cuts & slopes in pavements for wheelchair users • Engraving on surface of zebra crossing for VI • Engraving on edges of railway platforms for VI • Devising appropriate symbols of disability • Warning signals at appropriate places
Other Policies • Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan • All the schools in the country will be made disabled friendly by 2020 and all educational institutions including hostels, libraries, laboratories and buildings will have barrier free access for the disabled. • Also promises accessible study materials and transport facility. • National Policy for People with Disabilities (2006) • It is supposed to clarify the framework under which the State Governments and the private sector must operate to ensure implementation of the Act. • One of the salient features of the policy is “Barrier Free Environment” where it restates that to the maximum extent possible, roads, highways, buildings/places/ transportation systems for public use should be made barrier-free. • The national policy is supposed to inform the disability plan to be incorporated in the 11th Five-Year Plan, which will have a timeline, and funds for programmes can be allocated through the Finance Commission.
Building Bylaws • These are State level governing requirements that any architect/developer needs to mandatorily comply to get a Completion Certificate • Only few states have adopted accessibility as requirement in their local Bylaws. • But not linked to approval and monitoring mechanisms • The Tenth Five Year Plan (2002-2007) • Nationwide circulation of Barrier Free Guidelines • Certifying public buildings for accessibility • Public utilities such as buses, railways to be accessible • Efforts to usher barrier free environment in the private sector. • Module on barrier free environment to be introduced in architectural and engineering colleges. • The Swarna Jayanti Shahari Rojgar Yojana where there is a 3% resource allocation for the benefit of the disabled and “providing barrier-free environment for the disabled”. • Fund allocation for all these points has not been clarified except for the Swaran Jayanti Yojana
Some Successes & Failures • The one km radius model accessible project – IP Estate • Complete failure as no traces of accessibility can be seen here • Compilation of the CPWD guidelines • Guidelines not adequate and not reviewed for 10 years • Only 11% of the sample group of architects were aware of these guidelines • Ministry of Railways • Begun Access Improvement at category ‘A’ stations • Accessible Bus transport systems in Delhi • Too many agencies involved to actually provide accessibility
Some Successes & Failures • Sarva Siksha Abiyan making school environment inclusive • There exists an excellent action plan to achieve Inclusion by 2020, but looking at the implementation so far seems ambitious • UGC initiatives to improve accessibility in Universities • What does accessibility mean in a University setup…only ramps?? • Need to have clear access specification that can be enforced all over India not just in Delhi • Access Audit of several public buildings • On ground implementation rate is poor • The Delhi Metro project • One great example
Legal Loopholes - PwD Act • Accessibility is not provided as a matter of right but as a add on based on the economic capacity of the provider. (“…within the limits of their economic capacity & development…”) • It is discriminatory in itself as it applies only to the government & public sector. • does not even apply to all public use buildings such as theatres, restaurants etc. • The terms Accessibility, non discrimination or even Public Building have not been defined in the Act. • No designated accessibility standards, leaving all to have their own personal criteria. • The specific guidance on accessibility in the non discrimination section narrows down the focus to only certain aspects of physical accessibility. • Fails to consider access to services and information • Lack of any phases and timeframes & extremely poor recourse mechanism • No mechanism spelt out to guide authorities for implementation eg amendment of bye-laws, etc • There are no measurables to chart the progress or the direction being taken • It fails to give direction for polices and regulations that are drafted by other ministries.
Accessibility Guidelines • None Identified as a Standard under the PwD Act →No legal standing. • Not based on local research on Indian Population • Research done by us indicates: • Few parameters (e.g. 1500 mm turning radius, knee recess, etc) did not accommodate even 50% of the sample group studied. • Only 11% architects aware of any access guidelines
Some Outcome • Majority of the secondary legislations/polices have not incorporated accessibility or address the needs of disabled people • In a growing economy like ours there is tremendous infrastructural development and a large amount of it is not incorporating accessibility into it. • Poor institutional coordination (eg ITO pilot, Railway coaches, DTC bus shelters, etc) • There are sporadic activities happening in patches in different parts of the country • “A circular no. 10/Vee Yoo-17/2001-1600 dated 16.7.2002 have been issued by Director Social Welfare to all theDistrict Collectors to see that all cinema halls in the State of Bihar are made barrier free within a period of one month.” (Annual Report o/f CCPD 2004-05 )
The Professionals • As a part of a study conducted by us on practicing architects, we found that: • While a majority (85%) were aware of the PwD Act but only 11% were aware of any Accessibility Guidelines. • While 63% were taught barrier free principles in their college only half (57%) of them felt that accessibility was a very important feature in a building and just a handful (29%) felt the importance of building management. • 82% felt that we must develop Indian Standards • While there are a lot of people who are able to point out what needs to be done in terms of infrastructural retrofitting (366Access Auditors trained by CCD alone + many more by NGOs) • no professional training available in the country to create Access Consultants who can look beyond just physical accessibility.
Other Recommendations • Designated fund allocation for access improvement. • National level committee to chart a course of action for improving accessibility based on the present status. • Vision • Monitoring Progress • Charting POA Responsible for incorporating UNCRPD provisions. • Increase professional capacity • Institutes teaching architecture, engineering, town planning, designing, etc. must look at ‘Universal Design’ of infrastructure, products or communication as a core module. • Access auditing and access auditors to be standardised and certified/accredited respectively. • Encourage academic research in issues pertaining to accessibility.
Thank You www.AccessAbility.co.in