Mobility & Accessibility
Accessibility is one of the most important principles of UNCRPD and also of our new law. Nevertheless, accessibility to roads, transportations, and other important means of daily necessities is still a distant dream. The Government needs to improve transport policy to specifically mandate private players to look at this with some incentives.
Government of India has come out with an excellent National Policy on Universal Electronic Accessibility after a long consultation with the stakeholders in 2013 but unfortunately, access to ICT in India is an unfulfilled dream. Websites are still largely unusable and important technological gadgets such as set-top boxes, washing machines etc are difficult to handle for the blind. This can certainly be improved if accessibility can be laid down as an important element of passage the standardization test with organizations such as Indian Standards Institute.
Unfortunately, more than the limitation that the blind face in terms of lack of sight, their difficulties get aggravated as there is inadequate understanding about their accessibility needs, in comparison to those of the orthopedically disabled. Mere Braille labels and signage do not lead to accessibility but proper orientation of people and accommodative attitude is what is required.
RN Mohanty is CEO of Sightsavers India.
(With inputs from Ketan Kothari, Sightsavers.)