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Leaving No One Behind

Important To Build Spaces For People With Disabilities: Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri

Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri called upon innovators to come up with solutions that are simple and widely accepted for people with disabilities

Important To Build Spaces For People With Disabilities: Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri
Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri emphasised finding policy solutions and building infrastructure that caters to people with disabilities
  • Mr. Puri urged startups to create facilities for persons with disabilities
  • Mr Puri called for building infrastructure that caters to the community
  • He asked for solutions that will help achieve Sustainable Development Goals

New Delhi: Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri on Thursday (September 1) said there is a need to build sustainable and universally accessible spaces and find policy solutions to accommodate persons with disabilities. The minister for housing and urban affairs said around 70 per cent of those who need assistive technology did not have access to such a facility and called upon innovators to come up with solutions that are simple and widely accepted.

Mr. Puri was speaking at an event organised to present the ‘Smart Solutions Challenge and Inclusive Cities Awards 2022’, an initiative of the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) and the United Nations (UN) in India to address city-level accessibility and inclusion challenges faced by persons with disabilities, women, girls and senior citizens.

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Citing the 2011 census data, Mr. Puri said approximately 26.8 million people in India live with disabilities.

We must find policy solutions and build infrastructure that caters to people with disabilities and that is what we are committed to. It is estimated that nearly 70 per cent of those who need assistive technology have no access to it. This means that persons living with disabilities are constantly competing just to gain access to essential resources

He added,

Lack of accountability curtails their access to transport services, sanitation, health and education. As a result, the most vulnerable populations could get excluded. That’s why we precisely need universal designs

Moving to such designs will also help achieve the target under Sustainable Development Goals to provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible green and public spaces to women, children, senior citizens and persons with disabilities by 2030, he added.

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On the occasion, Sagar in Madhya Pradesh and Belagavi in Karnataka were awarded for their innovative solutions to issues concerning women’s safety and quality education for low-income families, respectively.

I was pleased to see that two cities under the Smart City Mission have developed solutions (to challenges) that are being implemented. While Belagavi has developed a comprehensive tool for education and literacy for low-income families, Sagar has developed a ‘Nirbhaya App’ to enhance women’s safety

Recalling the use of technology in handling the Covid situation better, he said the Integrated Command and Control Centres (ICCC) under the Smart City Mission served as war rooms and also played a vital role in the incubation of smart solutions.

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The minister said Delhi was going to witness certain developments in the near future that would not only be major landmarks but also represent a paradigm shift in the approach towards urban development.
Asking people to be sensitive toward those suffering from disabilities, he said,

We need citizen-centric and participatory solutions that create an ecosystem where Indians are more empathetic to the needs of persons with disabilities

Mr. Puri also bestowed awards on distinguished innovations and start-ups. He took stock of smart solutions by different groups and entities at an exhibition here.

I am thoroughly impressed at the creative capacity of the innovative solutions as well as their potential to change the lives of persons with disabilities, women and senior citizens. The best solutions are always simple, cater to specific pain points, have clear benefits, and are widely accepted by users

Mr. Puri added that these solutions would be instrumental in integrating a universal design, which would help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals target to provide safe, inclusive, and accessible, green and public spaces for all vulnerable communities.

Also Read: Able 2.0: Here Is How NGO EnAble India Is Helping People With Disabilities Get Employed

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.


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