#IndependenceDayGoals – My dreams for people with disabilities
2020 has been a hard year for people around the world. Covid-19 has thrown life out of gear and the new normal it has ushered in looks set to stay for some time. The pandemic has also highlighted the acute vulnerabilities of certain sections in our society – the elderly, migrants, and people with disabilities. In this changed scenario, what is the wish-list for India’s disabled community? What are the immediate changes they would like to see in the post-Covid world?
Smitha Sadasivan, Disability Rights Alliance India
I wish to see that the State takes major responsibility on disaggregated data of Persons with Disabilities and their community support systems in Consultation with civil societies instead of Civil societies having to take the whole responsibility on their own; and Persons with Disabilities and their representing organisations are included in all decision making and planning phases.
Dr Satendra Singh, Doctors with Disabilities
The lockdown was imposed under the Disaster Management Act. However, none of the Ministry of Home Affairs circulars mentioned people with disabilities under the vulnerable category. The Disaster Risk Reduction preparedness was once again not disability-inclusive. Our immediate demand again is disaggregation of data based on disability, revisiting of Sustainable Development Goals in light of Covid-19 and strengthening of nodal officers (State Disability Commissioners) in times of disaster.
Jomy Joseph, Disability rights activist
Businesses are affected. The government is struggling to bring back the economy to normal. So we understand so many problems are going on. With all this, how can they be concerned about the needs of persons with disabilities? For example, the Accessible India Campaign is not even being discussed about anymore. I am just concerned and worried that needs and requirements of disabled people will not be given any attention for a long time from now.
Prajith Jaipal, Founder, Disability Welfare Trust
I hope to see the inclusion of disabled people in all departments including politics. We need disabled leaders, only then can the real problem of disabled people be understood. This must be made applicable to all government departments.
Sharada Devi, Research scholar and Disability rights activist
Covid-19 pandemic has taught us many things. These times have made people without disabilities reflect lives of those with disabilities. They have realized how it feels to be restricted to the four walls of homes. I hope to see more people being empathetic towards disabled people and help them in times of need in a post Covid-era. People have taken initiatives to make adjustments in the already existing system in order to suit their requirements. I believe some of these have helped the disabled community too. For example, work from home option. Let the new normal be a disabled-friendly one.
Shiv Prasad, Vice-captain, Indian wheelchair cricket team
Para-sports policies have to be revamped at the earliest. Officials must come up with incentives for para-sportsmen and women who are dedicating a lot of their time for sports amidst all odds, especially financial constraints. Most importantly, make public places and buildings accessible. When I say accessible, it does not mean merely fitting wheelchair ramps. Officials must come up with a holistic solution that suits needs of people with all kinds of disabilities. There are many disabled people who are doing their own businesses. The government must give them exemptions and reservations so that their business can thrive.
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