Union Urban Development Minister M. Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday called for a change in attitudes to enable people with disabilities to realise their potential in an enabling environment. He released an 'Inclusiveness and Accessibility Index' that enables organisations to reflect on their policies and organisational culture in aid and support of differently abled people, employment of such people and adaptations to meet their needs at workplaces.
The index, based on which organisations can be ranked, encourages them to recruit more disabled people and give them equal opportunities. Naidu called for enabling access to such people in buildings and workplaces, public transport and information and communication technology eco-system. The minister called for changes in stigmatised attitudes and responses to disabled people to make them contribute to community life.
“Among every one lakh people in the country, 1,755 people have one or the other disability. About 8.40 percent of rural households and 6.10 percent of urban households have at least one disabled person," Naidu said.
The minister said about 47 percent of the disabled never married and about 55 percent are illiterate. “These statistics suggest that society's inadequate and improper response to the disabled people make their lives more difficult and challenging," Naidu said.
He called for provision of ramps in public buildings, adaptation of toilets for wheelchair users, things like Braille symbols in elevators and lifts, ramps in hospitals and other public places like bus and railway stations and airports to provide easy access to disabled persons.