Expedite access of disabled to hospitals, schools, offices: Meira

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New Delhi, Apr 23 (UNI) Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Meira Kumar today stressed the need for faster pace of implementation of the legislations and policies aimed at facilitating the access of the disabled to schools, places of health care and work.

Inaugurating a Workshop on 'Holistic Approach for Access to Physical Environment' organised by her Ministry in coordination with the School of Planning&Architecture here, she said accessibility was essential for all persons to be able to enjoy the rights guaranteed in the Constitution including the right to live with dignity.

''Access to places of learning, health care, work and entertainment is also a prerequisite for availing various entitlements envisaged in socially beneficial legislations,'' she said.

Ms Kumar told the conference that the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995 had comprehensively addressed the issue of non-discrimination in the matter of transport, roads and built environment.

''The Government is committed to creating an inclusive, barrier-free and rights-based society. Our National Policy for Persons with Disabilities also aims to provide an environment that support independent functioning of individuals so that they can participate in everyday activities without assistance,'' said the Minister.

She also informed the conference that the UN Convention, which had been ratified by 20 countries on April 3 and would become an international law on the May 3, 2008, recognized that it was the environment which created inability for persons with disabilities to participate in various activities in a society.

''It is therefore, our responsibility that we design the environment in such a manner that persons with disability are able to participate in all the activities on equal terms,'' said Ms Kumar.

She said 19 States, UTs and many urban bodies had already adopted building byelaws for making public places accessible, but there was need for faster implementation of these laws.

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