App on 'accessibility' to address concerns of disabled on Covid-19 too

1 month ago 24
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NEW DELHI: Bringing focus on the critical need for accessibility, a mobile based application "Sugamya Bharat App" that became available to the public from Tuesday will not only enable persons with disabilities to complain about inaccessible spaces and services but also seek information and raise concerns related to Covid-19.
The app, incidentally, comes at a time when the second phase of vaccination has started for those above 60 years and for those in the priority group of 45 and above with specific co-morbidities which includes certain categories of disabilities.
The list of specified comorbidities for determination of eligibility of citizens in age group 45 to 59 years includes persons with intellectual disabilities, those having high support needs, muscular dystrophy, acid attack with involvement of respiratory system and multiple disabilities including deaf-blindness. All those who fall on this list will need to get a certificate from a doctor to apply for vaccination.
The new app offers to take up a wide range of accessibility issues - built environment, transportation sector and ICT ecosystem. The separate section on the app allowing people to write in with their concerns linked to Covid-19 is also being cited as a way to reinforce the need for inclusion that is not limited to accessible spaces alone.
Launching the app, minister for social justice and empowerment, Thaawarchand Gehlot said it aims at mobilising "jan-bhagidhari" (public participation) in gaining access to on-ground issues related to inaccessibility being faced by not just persons with disabilities but any vulnerable member of society such as the elderly, the ill and infirm, pregnant women, children, among others.
The department of empowerment of persons with disabilities under the ministry of social justice has set a timeline of 15 days for the authorities in-charge to respond and deal with any complaint registered on the app. Any delay will be escalated to higher authorities and nodal officials in ministries, departments and the states. DEPwD secretary, Shakuntala D Gamlin said cases of delay will also be referred to the disability commissions in states so that they can issue orders for action.
Gamlin further shared that if anyone raises any issue they are facing related to Covid-19 or want any information regarding the ongoing vaccination process they will be guided as per the laid out directions and procedures of the health ministry.
Arman Ali, executive director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People said that the app can be gamechanger in bringing to the fore concerns of the disabled provided it is implemented properly on ground.

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