Education

Over 70% Govt Schools Made Disabled-Friendly in Last 6 Years: Govt Data

More than 70 per cent of the total 11.68 lakh government and government-aided schools have been made disabled-friendly across the country, according to the central government’s Accessible Indian Campaign (AIC).

The schools have been made barrier-free with provisions of ramps, handrails and accessible toilets for disabled students. According to data collected under AIC, over 585 buildings of the states/Union Territories and 1030 buildings of the central government have been made barrier-free.

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Launched in 2015, AIC or Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan aims to achieve universal accessibility for persons with disabilities in transport systems, information and technology (IT) ecosystem, and built environments, The achievements of the scheme are set to be reviewed later this month.

Under the AIC scheme, the Center provided grants to states and UTs to hold audibility accessibility audits and make only identified public places fully accessible in built-up environments for disabled individuals.

The data available with the department of empowerment of persons with a disability under the ministry of social justice shows that 35 of the total 55 domestic airports have been made barrier-free with special provisions. However, when it comes to road and rail transport, AIC still seems to have a long way to go. While only 5.7 per cent of the total busses have been made fully barrier-free, only 709 A1, A and B category railway stations have been able to achieve the status.

The achievements and future of AIC are set to be revived by the Central Advisory Board, the apex consulting and advisory body on disability matters under the Right of Person With Disabilities Act 2016. The CAB is headed by the Union Minister for Social Justice, a position currently held by Virendra Singh.

AIC was slated to achieve its aim for public buildings by June 2022, however, the deadline is likely to be extended when the CAB meets on June 24. The status reports from various state governments and other ministries will be discussed before taking the final call.

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