The deadline for the government’s Accessible India campaign that aims at making public spaces friendly for persons with disabilities has been extended due to “slow progress,” the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has informed the Lok Sabha.
Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Krishanpal Gurjar said “due to slow progress, revised deadlines have been extended to March 2020.” The decision was taken by the Central Advisory Board chaired by Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Thawar Chand Gehlot.
Answering a question from Shiv Sena MP Dhairyasheel Sambhajirao Mane, Mr. Gurjar said State-wise details of the facilities for the disabled at railway stations were not maintained, but the Indian Railways was committed to making its stations accessible. Short-term facilities like standard ramps, non-slippery walkways, signages, disabled-friendly toilets and help desks are included in the plan.
Regarding Central government buildings maintained by the Central Public Works Department, the reply said 211 CPWD buildings had been made accessible. In all, a total of ₹354.45 crore had been released for making 1,058 public buildings accessible around the country, the reply said. Under the Rights of PwD Act, 2016, all existing and new public buildings have to follow the accessibility standards notified on June 15, 2017. The existing buildings were given five years to comply.
The original deadlines under the Accessible India campaign were July 2016 for conducting an accessibility audit of 25-50 of the most important government buildings in 50 cities and making them completely accessible and March 2018.