Building spaces for people with disabilities is important: Union Minister Puri
Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri said on Thursday there was a need to build sustainable and universally accessible spaces and find policy solutions to accommodate people with disabilities.
The Minister for Housing and Urban Affairs also pointed out that around 70% of those who need assistive technology do not have access to such a facility.
Puri was speaking at an event held to present the “Smart Solutions Challenge and Inclusive Cities Awards 2022” here.
Citing 2011 census data, Puri said about 26.8 million people in India live with a disability.
”We need to find policy solutions and build infrastructure that caters for people with disabilities and that is what we are committed to. It is estimated that nearly 70% of those who need assistive technology do not have access to it. This means that people with disabilities are constantly in competition just to have access to essential resources.
”The lack of accountability limits their access to transport services, sanitation, health and education. As a result, the most vulnerable populations could be excluded. This is precisely why we need universal designs,” he said.
Shifting to such designs will also help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals goal of providing universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible green and public spaces for women, children, older people and people with disabilities by 2030, he said.
Recalling the use of technology to better manage the Covid situation, he said the Integrated Command and Control Centers (ICCCs) under the Smart City mission served as war rooms and also played a vital role in the incubation of smart solutions.
The minister said that Delhi is going to see some developments in the near future which will not only be major milestones but also represent a paradigm shift in the approach to urban development.
“By August 15 next year, all smart cities nationwide will have fully functional integrated command and control centers,” he said.
Asking people to be sensitive to people with disabilities, he said, “We need participatory and citizen-centric solutions that create an ecosystem where Indians are more empathetic to the needs of people with disabilities. Sustainable and universally accessible spaces must be built.” Puri awarded prizes to distinguished innovations and start-ups. He also gave an update on smart solutions from different groups and entities during an exhibition here.
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