For those people who have some physical difficulties, however – a curb or a few stairs can be large barriers. Airport loudspeaker announcements are often difficult to understand for people with perfect hearing; for those who are deaf or hard of hearing, they may not hear them at all. Signs, no matter how well-placed they are and how much information they carry, do no good for someone who is vision impaired unless they are in predictable places and can be read by touch. Disabled people were spotted all over the world in the entire history of the mankind. This was due to the wrong genetic copies of DNA (congenital disability), accidents or diseases during developmental and adult lives, many fights and wars that humans underwent through the centuries. Today about 1 billion (15% of the world’s population) experience a disability. There are more than 10 million wheelchair users in developed nations.
For many years people with disability lived at homes with no possibility of leaving their rooms and to take part in recreation activities. Today these people can use wide corridors, automatically opened doors, elevators, escalators, special ramps. They can use specially prepared both public transport (buses, tramways, trains) and private transport (bicycles, cars). These transport devices are equipped with low floors or with platforms or ramps so that disabled people can access the car’ or train’s floor. Also public areas are prepared for disabled people. There are low level curbs for crossing the street by people with crutches, or riding the wheel chair. There are also special places at the parking lot designated for disabled drivers and/or passengers. Recreation areas are technically prepared for reception of disabled people. There are several kinds of special equipment which give disabled people an opportunity of utilization of these areas.
There are a number of aspects to assuring access for people with disabilities. The obvious one is the physical: designing and building or changing structures and spaces to conform to the needs of all members of the community, including those with disabilities. In addition, however, there are social aspects, such as non-discrimination in employment and service delivery, and equal treatment in all situations of people with and without disabilities. And finally, there are political considerations: working to strengthen and enforce the laws that do exist, and working for laws to protect people with disabilities in countries that don’t have them. Perhaps most important is raising the consciousness of those who design and/or build facilities, employers, and the community and society about the rights and needs of people with disabilities.
Some facilities for disabled people include
Programme accessibility – People with disabilities have, in the past, often been denied access to services of various kinds – from child care or mental health counselling to help in retail stores to entertainment – either due to lack of physical accessibility or because of discomfort, unfamiliarity, or prejudices regarding their disabilities.
Employment – Discrimination in hiring on the basis of disability – as long as the disability doesn’t interfere with a candidate’s ability to perform the tasks of the job in question – is illegal in India and many other countries, and unfair everywhere.
Education – Everyone has a right to an education appropriate to his / her talents and needs.
Community access – Everyone should have the right to fully participate in community life, including attending religious services, dining in public restaurants, shopping, enjoying community park facilities, and the like. Even where there are no physical barriers, people with disabilities still sometimes experience differential treatment.
Separate rest rooms – Separate toilets are available for people with disabilities. They are clearly identifiable and accessible. The doors are wide enough and lockable from inside and releasable from outside. There is enough manoeuvring space inside. All floor surfaces are slip resistant. Mirrors, flushing arrangements, dispensers mounted at an appropriate height
In India, several ministries/departments of the Government provide various concessions and facilities that include:
Concession on railways – Railways allow persons with disability to travel at concession fares up to 75% in the first and second classes. Escorts accompanying blind, orthopedically and mentally handicapped persons are also eligible to 75% concession in the basic fare.
Air travel concessions – Indian Airlines allow 50% concession fares to blind persons on single journeys.
Income tax concession – The amount of deduction from total income of a person with blindness, mental retardation or permanent physical disability has been increased to INR 40,000/–.
Economic assistance by public sector banks – All orphanages, homes for women and persons with physical handicaps as well as institutions working for the welfare of the handicapped, are given loans and advances at very low rates of interest (4% under DRI) and a subsidy of 50% up to a maximum of INR 5,000/– is also admissible. State Governments/Union Territories also give concessions/facilities such as reservation in jobs, scholarships, old age pension, free travel in buses, etc.
Educational allowance – Reimbursement of tuition fee of physically and mentally handicapped children of the Central government employees has been enhanced to INR 5000/–
Ensuring accessibility for people with disabilities means more than building ramps and accessible restrooms. It calls for a change in basic attitudes, a change that has been at least partially accomplished in the United States and many other countries, but which hasn’t even started in some others. That attitude change won’t have been accomplished until a great majority of people around the world understand that individuals with disabilities are individuals who are not defined by their disabilities. To achieve that end, we have to demand enforcement of laws and regulations that protect those individuals’ rights, work for policy change and the passage of laws and regulations in places where they don’t exist, collaborate with those who design, build, and fund projects where accessibility can be built in, enlist the media to influence public opinion, and keep at it as long as necessary. Only when people with disabilities can live their lives free of unjust barriers will the work be done.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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