Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) will facilitate access of services available to population living with disabilities and allowing them to handle a wide range of activities independently, enhancing their social, cultural, political and economic participation.
Importance of Accessibility-Accessibility would help achieve the combined goal of creating an inclusive society that will allow for a better
quality of life for all citizens, including persons with disabilities.
Poor accessibility has led to social exclusion of people with disabilities, aggravating the negative impact of the existing digital divide.
Beyond the social implications, accessibility makes for business and economic sense too. Exclusion of persons with disabilities has huge economic implications. UN agencies put this cost at around 7% of national GDP.
Accessible services and business premises can broaden the customer base.
Recent research pegged the market size of different products needed by persons with disabilities in India at a whopping Rs. 4,500 crore.
Government Initiative so far-Accessible India Campaign - It aims at achieving universal accessibility for all citizens and creating an
enabling and barrier-free environment.
CRPD - India was one of the first countries to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
. Disabilities Bill - The recently passed Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 mandates adherence to standards of accessibility, transportation, information and communications, including appropriate technologies and systems, and other facilities and services provided to the public in urban and rural areas.
The Act also mandates incorporation of Universal Design principles while designing new infrastructure,electronic and digital media, consumer goods and services.
It also sets timelines to ensure implementation of the above and punitive action in the event of non-compliance.
The need is for representation of persons with disabilities in all ministries and key missions, commissions and committees to advise and ensure inclusion in all policies and programmes.
The government‘s procurement policy must mandate accessibility as a key criterion.