Government launches ‘Inclusiveness and Accessibility Index’ as part of Prime Minister’s ‘Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan’ for Persons with disabilities

Government launches ‘Inclusiveness and Accessibility Index’ as part of Prime Minister’s ‘Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan’ for Persons with disabilities 

Government launches ‘Inclusiveness and Accessibility Index’ to mark the next chapter of its flagship Campaign, the ‘Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan’. The Index, prepared in collaboration with The Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) was launched by Shri M Venkaiah Naidu, Hon’ble Minister of Urban Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation and Parliamentary Affairs at a function held here today. Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar also graced the occasion.
The ‘Inclusiveness and Accessibility Index’ helps the industries and corporates to participate in the Accessible India Campaign (AIC) by voluntarily evaluating their readiness for making the workplace accessible for Persons with Disabilities. The Prime Minister made a call to the Corporate Sector to come forward and support the Campaign during his speech on the occasion of the launch of AIC on 3rd December 2015, which also marked the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

Shri Venkaiah Naidu, Union minister for Urban Development addressing the gathering at the launch of Accessibility Index.

Speaking on the ocassion of the launch, Shri M Venkaiah 

Naidu congratulated the Ministry and DEPwD for taking the 

Accessible India Campaign to the next level of inclusivity by 

introducing the Inclusiveness and Accessibility Index. He 

recounted that there are numerous persons with disabilities 

who have never let any form of disability come in their way 

of success and have left an indelible mark in their respective 

fields. He added that society’s inadequate and improper 

responses to the disabled make their lives more difficult and 

challenging; therefore the need of the hour is to change the 

mindset of the people, which will be the right step forward to the social integration of PwDs into the mainstream. 

Emphasising on the need of nurturing the talent of PwDs he 

said that they should be equipped with skill training to make 

optimum use of their potential, and it is only then that the 

country will transform into an incluisve India and give true 

meaning to the clarion call of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas”. He 

informed the audience that his ministry - Urban 

Development, Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation – has 

recently come out with ‘Harmonised Guidelines for Barrier 

Free Built Environment for Persons with Disability and 

Elderly Persons’ to be followed by CPWD.  These guidelines 

have special emphasis on safety and dignity, independence 

of movement and maintaining architecture quality. He also 

added that his Ministry has made an earnest beginning in 

addressing Accessibility related concerns for the Smart City 

Mission and Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban 

Transformation (AMRUT). Shri Naidu also said that the 

collective mission of the society should be towards ‘Making 

of a developed India (MODI)’. He added that the Index has 

been prepared with a holistic approach and may be applied 

and used by organisations irrespective of their size and scale. 

Adding that the issues of PwDs are now being addressed 

with redoubled passion and energy under the guidance of 

the Hon’ble Prime Minister, the Minister emphasised that 

joint efforts of all stakeholders including central and state 

governments are required to effectively implement AIC and 

for transformation of ‘India’ into an ‘Inclusive India’.

Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar, MoS, SJ&E addressing the gathering while launching Accessibility Index

Shri Krishan Pal Gurjar, informed the gathering that 

Accessibility is the key to inclusion and equal access for 

people with disabilities is the mantra for Sugamya Bharat 

Abhiyan.  An accessible barrier-free environment is the first 

step towards fulfilling the right of people with disabilities to 

participate in all areas of community life. It is with this 

objective that DEPwD’s Accessible India Campaign was 

launched on 3rd December, 2015. Further, he added that the 

Campaign is a nation-wide programme for achieving 

‘Universal Accessibility’ for ‘Persons with Disabilities’ (PwDs) 

with a focus on three verticals: Built Environment; Public 

Transportation and Information & Communication 

Technologies. He said that the Index is a first-of-its-kind 

initiative in the country and will be a potential game changer 

for the integration, assimilation and inclusion of Persons with 

Disabilities into the mainstream. The Index enables the 

organisations to introspect over their inclusive policies and 

organisational culture in aid of PwDs, employment of such 

workforce and adaptations to meet the needs of PwDs.

The Index toolkit aims at assessing the current stage of 

inclusiveness and accessibility of persons with disabilities by 

an organisation. It can also act as a guide for taking 

progressive steps to increase support, inclusiveness and 

accessibility towards persons / employees with disabilities. 

The toolkit is based on research, and the best examples and 

experiences of organisations that have taken initiatives to 

increase accessibility of persons with disabilities and have 

benefited from such initiatives. The study will prioritize 

constructing the Accessibility Index for corporates to 

measure sensitivity towards persons with disabilities which 

will benchmark corporates operating in a given sector with 

their national peers. Extensive stakeholder consultations 

with NGOs and corporate sector will be held to ensure that 

the Index accommodates wide-ranging views of all 

stakeholders and is a robust document. At the second stage, 

the study will examine the role of state and NGOs in creating 

an enabling environment and executing the intent of 

regulations in promoting accessibility of disabled persons.

The absorption and recognition of the Index by the Corporate 

Sector and public sector organisations will benefit them 

immensely by –

(a)        Being the benchmark

(b)        Take Progressive steps to increase support

(c)        Fully utilise diverse talent pool

(d)       Reduce employee turnover, increase employee loyalty 

and increase morale and productivity of other employees in 

the organisation.

(e)        Create a positive brand image.

(f)        Expand customer base through new products and 


(g)        Enhance shareholder value.

(h)        Above all, the Inclusiveness and Accessibility Index 

shall promote human dignity and social cohesion where all 

citizens have equal access to opportunities to fully realise 

their potential.

Stating the Targets of AIC Dr Vinod Agarwal, Secretary, 

DEPwD informed the audience that under Built 

Environment Accessibility audit, 25 to 50 most important 

government buildings and converting them into fully 

accessible buildings by July 2016 in 50 cities of the country. 

To enhance the Accessibility of public transportation systems 

- accessibility audit of all the international airports and 

converting them into fully accessible international airports 

by July 2016 and that of all the domestic airports and 

converting them into fully accessible airports by March 2018. 

It will also include ensuring that A1, A & B categories of 

railway stations in the country are converted into fully 

accessible railway stations (July 2016) and that 50% of 

railway stations in the country are converted into fully 

accessible railway stations by March 2018. 10% of 

Government owned public transport carriers in the country 

are also to be converted into fully accessible carriers March 

2018. Whereas, under the Information and Communication 

Technology vertical the accessibility audit of 50% of all 

government (both Central and State Governments) websites 

and converting them into fully accessible websites by March 

2017 and also train and develop 200 additional sign 

language interpreters by March 2018. The Secretary also 

informed that DEPwD has already enrolled 18 Access 

Auditors in its panel, who will be leading the Access Audits 

across the country.  Quoting the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s 

visionary message of ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ he appealed 

to the corporate representatives in the gathering to come 

forward and lead the change.

The launch function also witnessed distinguished participant 

speakers from the Corporate sector who shared inspiring 

stories of change on how inclusion of PwDs has positively 

impacted the company and led to an overall holistic 

overhaul in their best practises. 

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