Mumbai: By July next year at least 50 government buildings, 75 railway stations and all international airports will be made accessible to people with physical disabilities, the government has claimed as part of an ambitious drive to make India more accessible for the different-abled.
For a country with 2.68 crore people living with disabilities, according to the 2011 census, the proportion of universally accessible civic infrastructure is not enough, the government admits.
To change this under the Accessible India Campaign, expected to formally launch by the end of the year, the government is planning to launch an app, a universal card and recognise 12 more kinds of disabilities.
"The government is planning to bring in a law with a more inclusive definition of disability that will recognise as many as 19 disabilities as against just 7 right now," Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thawarchand Gehlot told NDTV.
The government says it is also planning to use crowd sourcing to get more information on areas and structures that need to be made more accessible.
"We are also going to launch an app where people can send in pictures of public spaces and buildings which they think need to be made more accessible. It will eventually help the government map all these places," Mukesh Jain, joint secretary in the ministry, said.
Recently, the archaeological survey of India made iconic tourist sites like the Taj Mahal and Fatehpur Sikri in Agra more access friendly.
Neha Trivedi, Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged said this is the first effort on such a massive scale undertaken by the government.
"Making public spaces more accessible also involves a change in our mind-set. The challenge will be to ensure that after the initial targets are met on accessibility, there is a diligent follow-up," she said.