New Delhi: At a function in the capital, to recognise the efforts of individuals and organisations working towards the cause of accessibility for persons with disabilities, Anand Mathur, Director General Ministry of Railways and Srikanth Karra, Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) at Mphasis gave away the 8th NCPEDP-MPHASIS UNIVERSAL DESIGN AWARDS (UDA).
Chief Guest Anand Mathur, Director General (Personnel) Ministry of Railways said “ The railways carry 2.3 crore passengers every day. Post the Act on Rights of Persons with Disabilities passed in Dec 2016, the Govt is committed to ensure a favourable environment, with respect to transport, media and information accessible to persons with disabilities. We had identified 340 major stations to provide accessible toilets out of which 220 are already covered. We already have standard ramps at the entry of all major stations, for barrier free access. We are ensuring one drinking water tap, wheelchairs, lifts and escalators wherever possible. Some berths are now reserved for persons with disabilities as well as their attendants.(RDSO) Lucknow is also re-designing train coaches.Also, in addition to the 3% reservation provided for disabled candidates, there are a number of relaxations for candidates for persons with disabilities while conducting recruitment examinations.”
Speaking on the occasion, Javed Abidi said, “ Suresh Prabhu, who couldn’t join us today, had been the Chief Guest in 2015 at the NCPEDP Mphasis Universal Design Awards (UDA). Our work with him started then, and Im happy to announce that thanks to our joint efforts, every platform in every station will have a disabled-friendly toilet soon.”
Srikanth Karra, Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) at Mphasis adds, “As per a recent report, the market size for accessible technologies in India is roughly 4500 crore. If you add physical mobility devices to that, the market will be easily doubled. The involvement of the Government is always critical to our efforts. As they get closer to the issues on the ground, they are able to make more meaningful legislation and policy towards persons with disabilities”.
Mphasis employs 1% of persons with disability in their workforce( they employ over 21000 employees) and is a pioneer in training persons with disabilities.
Chairman of NCPEDP, Som Mittal said, “Accessibility is the bedrock of inclusion – be it education, employment, public spaces, communication, entertainment or recreation. To convert the talk into concerted action, it is extremely important that each one of us contributes to this by incorporating Universal Design into our everyday lives. This has been the driving force for the 12 Awardees who have emerged as role-models for our society today. The NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Awards celebrates such role models!”
Accessibility not only means access to physical spaces but also means access to information, technology, transport, services, aids, appliances and so on. Access, therefore, is an important issue that cuts across disabilities and sectors and forms the very basis of empowerment of people with disabilities.
Intrinsic to any kind of access is Universal Design, a design that is usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of age, ability, or situation.
Therefore, to bring awareness on the issue of accessibility and to promote the concept of Universal Design, NCPEDP in association with Mphasis constituted ‘The NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Awards (UDA) in the year 2010 to honour individuals and organizations doing exemplary work in the area of accessibility for persons with disabilities.
Awards were given in three categories.
A. PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES
Aqil Chinoy, CEO, inspiralive (Mumbai, Maharashtra)
Dr. Homiyar Mobedji, Country Representative, Benetech (Ahmedabad,Gujarat)
Vivek Mehta, Founder and CEO, DeafEasy (Panchkula, Haryana)
Suvarna Raj, Para-athlete & Disability Rights Activist (New Delhi, NCR)
B. WORKING PROFESSIONALS
Hemang Mistry, Architect & Proprietor, PMA Design Studio (Valsad, Gujarat)
Parikipandla Narahari, District Magistrate & Collector (Indore, Madhya Pradesh)
Dr. Ramesh C. Gaur, University Librarian, Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi)
Siddhant Chetan Shah, Founder and Access Consultant, Access for ALL (Mumbai, Maharashtra)
GingerMind Technologies, Eye-D Android app helps a blind person in travel, identification of objects and read text in many languages (Bangalore ,Karnataka)
Hear2Read, Text To Speech (TTS) App for Indian languages (initiative of Indians for Collective Action (ICA), San Francisco Bay)
Intuit, builds accessible software products (Bangalore ,Karnataka)
UMOJA Travels, India’s first and largest online travel portal to enable accessible travel (Mumbai, Maharashtra)