The success of any democracy lies in its scope of inclusion of citizens regardless of caste, color, shape, creed and religion. This basic notion of equality creates the very essence of a democracy and makes it a celebration of the sheer perseverance, ability and courage of human spirit which no disability can steal. Securing this ideology in mind, the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DePwD) has initiated the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) in sustenance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which intends to provide equal accessibility to all the citizens and encourages independent living of persons with disabilities in all walks of life. But to bring justified success to this initiative, public participation towards it is a must.
Therefore, the government has come up with a user friendly mobile application under the Accessible India Campaign which works as a crowd sourcing platform to obtain information about inaccessible places, make requests for creation of accessible environments like buildings, transportation and communication systems and gather resources for the same. The basic idea of developing this app is to inspire citizen contribution in concern with the accessibility rights and independent living of persons with disabilities. To facilitate the process, the app has been made interactive and user friendly. In it a user can lodge a request by simply uploading a photo or video of the inaccessible infrastructure in the selected category along with a description.
Every request that is made will go for verification under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. Once approved, it will be published on the portal. The accessibility request falls under three broad categories :- Built-Up Environment for eg:- a Bank, Cinema Hall, Garden etc , Transport Eco Systems which includes Air, Road and Waterways, Airport, Bus Stop, Railway Station and ICT Eco Systems which can be a public website or a TV programme. It also gives an opportunity to both public and private sector organizations to adopt projects as a part of CSR activity.
The app also contains a Reward system where for every request made, a user will receive a star point. If the request is approved and published, the user will be rewarded with a certificate from the Ministry. In the city of Bhopal, the contributions for the app and the initiative come from Nikita Kothari who is currently the Project lead – Bhopal Hub, Global Shapers Community. The Global Shapers Community is an initiative of the World Economic Forum and is a network of hubs founded and led by young people to make a contribution to their communities. She has now become an active user and her hub is going to highlight this project and take it to a global level. These contributions from the society just go on to prove the awareness which the app has spread in such a short span of time. It has endowed the citizens to care for each other and work together both at individual and organizational level to create an inclusive society and develop universal accessibility. Because until the last man and woman on this planet is not touched by benign efforts, democracy cannot persist.
Story by : Nikita Kothari & Tanima Chakraborty
The Optimist Citizen is India’s First Purely Positive Newspaper (in print). Subscribe to The Optimist Citizen Newspaper starting at just Rs. 350 per year.
Help us sustain and spread Positive Journalism!