Four years after the Accessible India Campaign was launched to make public offices, transport and websites accessible to persons with disabilities (PwD), officials said at a recent review meeting said the number of buildings of the Central Public Works Department across the country, and websites of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) were not known.
During the review by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot on December 19, 2019, a Department of Empowerment of PwD official said the “total buildings either under maintenance or owned by CPWD are not known”, minutes of the meeting recorded. All these buildings, along with other projects being implemented by other Ministries, are supposed to be made accessible by March 2020.
An official of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, under which the CPWD operates, said 787 out of 889 buildings had been made accessible so far, while approval for 13 buildings had been received from various Ministries and work would be started. “For remaining 89 buildings, approval of respective Ministries is still awaited,” the minutes said.
On government websites, Mr. Gehlot reiterated the target of making at least 50% of the sites accessible.
“However, the quantum of websites i.e. total no. of government websites is not known,” the minutes said, adding that Mr. Gehlot directed the MeitY to find out the total number of the Central and State government websites.
With regard to transportation, the Minister noted that while there had been progress on making airports accessible, all aspects of air travel, including aircraft and buses used to ferry passengers from terminals, needed to be compatible.
An official of the Civil Aviation Ministry said all 35 international airports and 55 domestic airports under the Airports Authority of India had been made accessible by providing ramps, and had accessible toilets and provision for audio and Braille commands in lifts. A Railways official said 7,000 wheelchairs had been provided at major stations and 22 stations had online booking of wheelchair facility.
The Minister expressed concern over the slow pace in making buses and bus terminals accessible. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways informed the Minister that only 3.6% of buses had been fully accessible.