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Accessibility is a Human Right

CBM India staff Mr. Shiva Mohan using Magic Screen Magnification software for low and poor vision accessibility.
© CBM India
CBM India staff Mr. Shiva Mohan using Magic Screen Magnification software for low and poor vision accessibility.

Accessibility is a must for a society where ‘everyone’ has the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects of life

Many of us believe that ‘accessibility’ concerns only a specific group of people. This misplaced notion limits the idea of accessibility merely to ramps or few entry points. But in reality, accessibility is linked to the very concept of an inclusive and barrier-free society. 

CBM believes, accessibility is a fundamental prerequisite for building a society where everyone, including people with disabilities, has the opportunity to participate fully in all aspects. Besides meeting the necessity of physical access to the built environment, it implies that every individual is entitled to equal access to all social, health, educational, economic and cultural facilities, services, and institutions. 

Through our advocacy and programmes, we work with an approach that accessibility is a human rights issue in the sense that every individual has the right to access, full participation and inclusion in society.

Enabling Laws

India has made progress towards recognising the rights of people with disabilities. The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995 and a number of other schemes have provided policy and legal instruments for ensuring access and equal participation. 

The Act under sections 44, 45 and 46 categorically provide for non-discrimination in transport, non-discrimination on the road and non-discrimination in built environment respectively. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, to which India is a signatory, under Article 9 casts obligations on the Governments for ensuring to PwDs accessibility to (a) Information, (b) Transportation, (c) Physical Environment, (d) Communication Technology and (e) Accessibility to Services as well as emergency services.

The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment launched Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan or Accessible India Campaign as a nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility that will enable persons with disabilities to gain access to equal opportunity and live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life in an inclusive society. The campaign targets at enhancing the accessibility of built environment, transport system and Information & communication eco-System.

The key components of the campaign are (a) leadership endorsements of the campaign, (b) mass awareness, (c) capacity building through workshops, (d) interventions (legal framework, technology solutions, resource generation, etc. and (e) leverage corporate sector efforts in a Public-Private Partnership.

Towards Design for All

The Accessible India Campaign by Government of India is creating a buzz through workshops, media mentions and collaboration among stakeholders and projects. But the long-term success depends on an accompanying change in the mindset to move beyond ‘Disability-Friendly’ to ‘Design for All’. It is this shift that popular support will emerge for an accessible and inclusive world. 

The ‘Design for All’ approach is about environments that all people - regardless of age and abilities - are able to use to the largest extent possible without the need for adaptation or specialised design. Therefore, ‘Design for All’ can be defined as a philosophy and a process for achieving universal access to environments, products and services, which are respectful, safe, healthy, functional, comprehensible and aesthetic. 

‘Design for All’ recognises that “inclusion” equals “accessibility “and applies to social, cultural, intellectual and environmental conditions.

Read More

Conference on accessible and assistive technology

Conference on accessible & assistive technology throws up insights from companies, government and organisations on challenges & way forward


Panel calls for accessible urban transport system

Lack of an accessible urban transport system is a major hurdle in the way of full and equal participation for all


Enhancing knowledge of professionals on accessibility

CBM India organised a 3 day training, to build the capacities of development professionals to do ‘Access Audit’


Assistive Technology & Accessibility (ATA) Expo

An Expo showcased the modern technologies and accessibility products that improve education and career prospects of people with disabilities

Thumbnail for video "Winning combination of cricket and inclusion" Thumbnail for video "Winning combination of cricket and inclusion"

Winning combination of cricket and inclusion

Message by India’s T20 Blind Cricket Team on celebrating CBM India’s winning combination of cricket and inclusion.

Thumbnail for video "Why Vidya must go to school" Thumbnail for video "Why Vidya must go to school"

Why Vidya must go to school

We all feel very strongly about the need of education for enabling children to find opportunities and addressing development challenges of the country


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