Divyang-Friendly measures need to be integrated at planning stage to ensure the growth of smart cities: Hardeep S Puri

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NEW DELHI: Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Puri stressed on the need for integrating divyang-friendly measures in various projects being implemented in the Smart Cities in India. Puri said, this is required at the initial project planning stage to ensure that cities become divyang-friendly, accessible and inclusive. He was speaking at an interactive session on “Divyang-Friendly Measures and Policy Recommendations for Smart Cities in India” on 12th September 2018. He said that in conjunction with the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT), the Smart Cities Mission seeks to ensure that the most vulnerable sections of our society enjoy ‘Ease of Living’ in Indian cities. The workshop, organised by the National Institute of Urban Affairs, had participation from divyang persons from different walks of life and eminent citizens and experts, including several international sports personalities.

Hardeep Puri said that “we will be looking at 25 per cent of the population that will need universal accessibility in order to live independently and with dignity.” He asserted that the Disability Act of 1995 also mandated accessibility for persons with disabilities. He pointed out that the “Clause 40-48 of the 8th Chapter of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 also mandates making all buildings, services and products accessible giving definite timelines for implementation and retrofitting.”

Puri also said that accessibility needs to be looked at beyond the built infrastructure alone. He said, “with a growing digital interface, technology must be made accessible too – municipal apps, bus shelters, kiosks, red light junctions, ATMs, all need to be made accessible for people with disabilities. Signage captioning is important for the deaf and hearing-impaired. Products that we use must be accessible- e.g. low floor buses, lifts and elevators that announce the floor reached for people with visual disabilities, etc.”

With inputs of PIB

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