A slew of measures have been recommended in the draft of 'general accessibility standards' prepared by the Ministry of Culture for harmonised and barrier-free environment for persons with disabilities (PwD) and elderly visitors coming to protected sites, monuments, libraries, and museums.
This includes the provision of 'well-demarcated' common parking space at entry points, information handouts in Braille, trained staff or guides, wheelchairs or palanquins, among others. The guidelines, released earlier this month, are currently available on the ministry's portal to receive feedback, The New Indian Express reported.
"People can send comments on the standards, mostly through their email to the deputy Secretary, ministry of culture by November 21. Email IDs are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com," an official said.
The guidelines also comprise a separate chapter on web accessibility — Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ecosystem.
Web accessibility means that users with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, contribute and interact with the portal or applications without any hassle. It includes all forms of disabilities that may affect access.
Disability In India
According to the 2011 census, there are 26.8 million people with disabilities in India while other sources have offered higher estimates. The central government has also enacted initiatives such as the Accessible India Campaign to make public spaces and transportation barrier-free for persons with disabilities.
Official data shows that India is behind Myanmar and Sri Lanka in terms of the number of disabled people, The New Indian Express reported. But, as per experts, it does not mean the country has succeeded in tackling disability through medical advancement. Though the government has managed to create a more disabled-friendly environment, a great deal has to be done to become an inclusive society. For that, the entire system of institutions and establishments needs to be modified and re-modified.