Thursday, September 29, 2022

Academic Council of Kerala University decides to permit 100% visually impaired to pursue Science Course, after SCPD's directions

Dear Colleagues,

The Academic Council of Kerala University on 16 Sep 2022 has taken a decision to permit 100% visually impaired student to pursue BSc Physics course after an applicant, who had scored 100% marks in the higher secondary examination, was unable to submit her online application for admission and she had to  subsequently petition the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities. The SCPD issued an order under provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 directing the Kerala University to do the needful. 

Before the current decision of the academic council, the undergraduate (UG) prospectus of the university has thus far permitted admissions for only visually impaired candidates with less than 40% disability to Science subjects which is contrary to the provisions of the RPWD Act. 

The council factored in various impediments during the discussion, including the low availability of Physics texts in Braille and prominence of practical work in Science subjects. It was decided to extend assistance, including the provision of scribes for regular practical work and examination in laboratories. The number of experiments will also be reduced to one-third of the total that must be completed by a regular student.

It is hoped that this decision will enaable more disabled aspirants to pursue higher education, particularly in Science and Mathematics in Kerala University. More Higher Education Institutes need to change their admission norms not to restrict students from admitting in the courses on the basis of their disability. On the contrary, the HEIs should focus on providing reasonable accommodations to applicants and creating a mechanism for such aspiring students to approach the HEI seeking such accommodations. 

The HEIs have to be cautious that they do not lower the course contents but enhance the support systems and better assistive technology solutions. This woud be in line with the Accessibility Guidelines and Standards for Higher Education Institutions and Universities June 2022 issued by the University Grants Commission, Ministry of Education, Govt. of India under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016.

Related Source: The Hindu

Saturday, September 3, 2022

Mouseware - a head mounted wearable assistive technology device for those with upper limb disabilities

Dear Colleagues,

Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in the Smart Solutions Challenge and Inclusive Cities Award, 2022 organised by the National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) and United Nations India and supported by NITI Aayog, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Atal Innovation Mission, and others and held on Thursday, 01 September, 2022 at Hyatt Regency, New Delhi.

The Smart Solutions Challenge and Inclusive Cities Awards aimed to start a dialogue on the need for people-centric design for technological innovations and for fostering novel home-grown solutions and approaches through citizen participation in line with Hon’ble Prime Minister’s clarion call for ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India’, in much broader contexts for finding new ways to bridge the digital divide for vulnerable population groups in urban development. 

The initiative sought to crowd-source innovative technological solutions to align with the New Urban Agenda and promulgate the principle of ‘Leave No One Behind’ (LNOB) in order to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, particularly SDG11 in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) and the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPwD) Act, 2016. 

Mouseware, is a head-mounted wearable devices that allows handsfree use of mouse. Seen in image the device with accessorie placed on a table with background of Brand Logos etc.
In the category 2 - Market Ready Solutions, Mouseware by Dextroware Devices won the first award. On the sidelines of the award the winning entries also showcased their technological  products. 

Assitive Technologies for Persons with disabilities, assist them to live an independent life in turn improving their quality of life. Mouseware is a product that can help many persons with disabilities can gain potential employment opportunities in open market. The aim is to make every place that has a smart device accessible for all. 

Mouseware, is a head-mounted wearable devices that allows handsfree use of mouse. Seen in image the devices mounted on head of a user.Product Details: Mouseware is a head-wearable device that enables hands-free control of computers and all smart devices such as phones, tablets and television with simple head movements.  It’s a plug-and-play device, that enables users to move the cursor with simple head movements and accessible click buttons. The system also allows users to interact with computers through customizable voice commands through a speech – to – text engine. A person can interact with any smart devices completely hands free. This chargeable device can be used for nearly 90 hrs upon charging.

Using the device:  The user is required to wear the headgear and rotate their head in the direction the mouse cursor has to be moved, the head movement is synchronous with the cursor on the screen. The tracking sensors track the user's head movements and transcode them into corresponding cursor coordinates on the screen. The user can strap this small sensor box to an elastic band or headphones or caps or even spectacles. Depending on the nature of the disability, mouse clicks can be performed with any one of the following assistive switches: 

  • Foot Tap Switch
  • Finger Switch and 
  • Microswitch

Additionally, a software-based Dwell click is also provided for users who cannot use any of their limbs to use the above physical switches to perform mouse clicks.

Typing is performed with a Speech-to-Text engine that includes an Indian-English accent and most Indian regional languages. It is the only assistive tech in India for hands-free control of smart devices for amputees, people with neurological disorders, and people with hand fractures.  For more details, see this video:

       

Employment Options that Mouseware can potentially open up:  As computer jobs are being highly pursued, Mouseware offers a solution to enhance the lives of people with disabilities by aiding them to seek better job opportunities. Like any other individual, the aspirations of persons with disabilities to have a career and better livelihoods are often affected due to limited job opportunities for them. Mouseware will socially and financially empower persons with disabilities in multiple ways as it provides complete access to perform all computer and smartphone operations, thus enabling the user to be independent. 

The device can be integrated into every private and government workplace to make computers and other smart devices accessible to encourage employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. Computer labs in schools, colleagues and other educational institutions can also integrate this assistive technology to make the computers accessible for children and youth with disabilities. There is also a need for insurance companies to add such devices under the post-hospitalization facilities as it is also used at orthopaedic hospitals & physiotherapy centres for fractured & chronic hand pain patients.

Providing this Assistive Tech as Reasonable Accommodation: Employers can also provide this technological product  as a reasonable accommodation at workplace, to their employees who may have acquired disability or to simply enhance their productivity of emloyees with disabilities with this device.

Handholding to users: The user are provided with clear instructions and are assisted in getting accustomed to the product and also guided throughout their learning curve by the organisation. 

Comparing with other products in market: Although there a number of such technologies available in the market today. Technologies that assist persons with upper-limb disabilities or those who don’t have control over their hands and fingers are few in number and may not always be economically comfortable. Mouseware is the only affordable solution at Rs.15,000 developed in India in comparison to similar products available in foreign markets in the range of Rs. 50,000 to Rs.1.2 Lakhs. In addition to this, some products also use a camera to detect eyeball/head movement to move the mouse cursor, for which a good lighting environment and HD camera are mandatory which is not possible to have for all users. Further, it may not include speech-to-text integration and most of those products can control only computers or laptops and not smartphones.

Price: The price is set at INR 15,000/- + GST, however, currently there are multiple subsidy programs due to which it can be made available at a mere cost of 5,000/-. 

Contact Details: You can reach out to the agency by email at  hola@dextrowaredevices.com and contact cumber: +91 9487650321, Website: www.dextrowaredevices.com

Disclaimer: The post is not a paid promotional activity. It has been shared for information in larger interest of persons with disabilities who may benefit from this product. 


Sunday, June 7, 2020

Despite IRDAI Advisories in 2016, Persons with Disabilities & other Vulnerable Groups still hankering for Equitable Insurance Covers.

Dear Colleagues,

In 2016 the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) asked the Insurance Companies to cover all kinds of risks under health policies,  and to provide covers for individuals with special needs, but the Companies are still reluctant and lacking clarity - and as a result the persons with disabilities, people with anxiety and people with HIV have no insurance cover. 

IRDAI has now again asked insurers to be transparent about offering health covers to those with HIV/AIDS, mental health issues and for persons with disabilities, since there is no coverage provided to this segment by the companies.

In compliance of the IRDA notification of 2016, the insurance companies subtly stopped using or simply removed the language related to excluding coverage for those with mental illness, disabilities and HIV to escape the long arm of the law, however, they did not actively start any coverage.

Experience from the field indicates that the Insurers routinely reject covers for differently-abled citing higher risks. For mental health issues and HIV/AIDS, there are hardly any covers available to individual customers.

So far, only national health insurance schemes run by the Govt. partially cover some of these conditions. For example, the 'Niramaya Health Insurance Scheme' by the National Trust covers conditions arising from disabilities, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, and multiple disabilities. 'Ayushman Bharat', which started after the change in regulation brought out by IRDAI, has 17 packages for mental health disorders, which also includes psychoactive substance use and covers ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy), rTMS (Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation), MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and most of the blood tests.  But sadly, even Ayushman Bharat, does not cover HIV as of today, though there are discussions to include this condition.

Similarly, few popular state health insurance schemes running for nearly a decade like Maharashtra's 'Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana' or Tamil Nadu's 'Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme' do not cover these conditions.

Likewise in the private sector, only Star Health Insurance has two plans dealing with the marginalised segments, that too are severely restricted :-
(a)  "India Medi-Classic Insurance Plan" - that covers the HIV positive or AIDS patients. (b) "Indemnity-oriented health insurance policy" - to cover children and young adults (aged 3-25) with autism.
In light of such huge deficit in the insurance coverage, the IDRAI in a notification on June 2, 2020, [link takes you to the website of IRDA], has asked insurers to provide detailed information on their websites stating their underwriting philosophy on covering people with disabilities, HIV/AIDS or mental illnesses. This has to be done by October 1, 2020. However, mere disclosure will not solve issues caused by absence of products.

Access the signed PDF Copy (inaccessible to screen readers)  of the circular Here. Content of the Circular are also pasted below for the purpose of accessibility: 

'CIRCULAR

 Ref: IRDAI/HLT/MISC/CIR/129/06/2020                    Dated:   02nd June, 2020 

To 

All Insurers (Except ECGC and AIC) 

Sub: Disclosure of underwriting philosophy of offering Insurance coverage to Persons with Disability (PWD) and people affected with HIV/AIDS and Mental Illness diseases. 

1.    Reference is drawn to the provisions of IRDAI (Health Insurance) Regulations, 2016 in accordance to which every insurer shall evolve a health insurance underwriting policy covering approach and aspects relating to offering health insurance coverage not only to standard lives but also to substandard lives. Further insurance companies shall also comply with various provisions of HIV and AIDS Prevention and Control Act, 2017 and Mental healthcare Act, 2017. 

2.    Notwithstanding the above provisions, it is considered essential that the targeted population of every insurer shall have complete information on the philosophy that insurers adopt while complying with the above referred provisions. 

3.    In furtherance to above, all Insurers are instructed to publish on their respective websites the underwriting philosophy and approach with regard to offering insurance coverage to the following category of population: 
a.    Persons with Disabilities ( PWD)
b.    Persons affected with HIV /AIDSc.
c.    Persons affected with Mental Illness diseases. 
4.    All Insurers (Life, General and Health Insurers) are here by directed to comply with the aforesaid instruction by 01st October, 2020. 

5.    This has the approval of the competent authority.  

                                                                                   (DVS RAMESH)  


                                                                                   GENERAL MANAGER (H)'

I can recall how the Postal Life Insurance (PLI) justified the extra premium and reduced sum assured to persons with disabilities when it was challenged in W.P.(C) No.10323/2009 titled Vikas Gupta Versus Union of India.  The Hon’ble  Delhi High court in the instant case agreed that charging extra premium from employees with disabilities was indeed a discrimination on the basis of disability and therefore in a remarkable judgement directed the postal life insurance to provide equal insurance coverage and not charge extra premium from the employees with disabilities. Read my earlier discussion dated 22 April 2012 on the subject in the post titled 'Extra Premium or Reduced Insurance Cover, both discriminatory against Disabled - Delhi HC'

Some Experiences from the field 
Mumbai-based software professional Nikhil Deshpande had sought a cover from his health insurance for his anxiety therapy sessions and related medication which costs almost Rs 7,000 per month. He was also hospitalised twice last year. However, the insurer informed him that no cover was available.

The same goes for the differently-abled as well. Pratigya Tiwari from Kolkata who lost her eyesight due to polio at the age of seven in 1998, still does not have a health cover. Reason? All insurers said that she is prone to higher risks and will cause adverse selection.

“I work in an administrative position in a power facility and also travel to work on a daily basis. Especially with the coronavirus pandemic, I am at a loss because if I am hospitalised I do not have any insurance. Why can’t the regulator make it mandatory?” asks Tiwari.

The magic word here is ‘mandatory’. So far, IRDAI has only ‘advised’ companies to offer covers for all types of risks, defined in insurance parlance as ‘standard’ and ‘sub-standard’ lives.

Here, standard lives are regular able-bodied individuals with no ailments whereas substandard are defined as all others. Lack of data to price products is often cited as a reason to reject covers.

While IRDAI had advised insurers to cover all kinds of health requirements, be it HIV/AIDS, cancer or mental health, the truth is that less than 10 percent of the industry is offering covers.

“Whatever few covers are available, they are not adequate in sum assured sizes. Further, the annual premiums are above Rs 20,000 which is not affordable for the masses,” said disability rights' activist Naveen Das.

Das also questioned that when insurers were offering covers for diabetes, blood pressure and even advanced stages of cancer, why not offer covers for all disabilities. When individuals with some sort of physical disabilities function normally without any major concerns, he explained that it is baffling why insurers don’t want to offer covers.

Insurance companies are of the view that certain sections of the society are high-risk depending on their physical and mental well-being. Companies feel that offering an individual cover to such people would lead to a high ratio of claims because a proportion of the high-risk category would require medical intervention at regular intervals.

Insurance works as a pooling concept where premium is put into a common pool and the claims are paid out of it. Underwriting officials believe that insuring individuals who are prone to claim regularly would mean that ‘healthy’ individuals would compensate for premium loss by having to pay a higher annual cost for covers. This argument has been earlier rejected by the Courts as indicated in the ibid judgement of Vikas Gupta Vs. UOI.

An article in MoneyControl.com titled 'Four years on, the differently abled, anxiety and HIV patients have no insurance cover. Is IRDAI doing enough?' suggests that  a better solution would be to have standardised products of health insurance of say Rs 5-7 lakh size with a premium range of Rs 10,000-12,000 for those with special needs. Those seeking a higher cover size could buy a top-up plan by paying a market-linked premium. This will ensure that no individual in India is denied a health insurance cover. With the absence of a standard social security scheme (except for the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana for those below poverty line), there should be more standard medical covers across the spectrum covering those with all types of physical and mental health.

As of now, in the private health insurance space, very few insurers provide coverage for HIV positive/AIDS patients. One of these policies that provide coverage is Star Health Insurance's India Medi-classic Insurance plan. And with regard to disabilities, Star health provides an indemnity-oriented health insurance policy for children and young adults with autism.

Issues that we still need to work on 
However, issues I had raised in my article dated 22 Apr 2012, continue to be relevant and we need to work on these issues. I reiterate the same once again with some improvements:-

(a) The insurance sector still discriminates on the basis of etiology of the disability i.e. causes of disability, whether it is from birth and after birth; neurological or physical and  then rates their lives accordingly,  which in my considered view has again no scientific base.

(b) The persons with neurological disabilities are still not allowed any insurance policy and needs to be challenged.

(c) The ibid Delhi HC judgement in 2012 only adjudicated about  PLI's inactions which is an insurance scheme for the benefit of government employees hence, it covered a very small section of persons with disabilities. Those who are outside the government jobs especially those in rural areas are far away from reaping the benefits of insurance, particularly health insurance. Though the judgement challenges the principles that have so far formed the basis for denying the insurance to the disabled.

(d) The Actuaries who are in the business of assessing the life risks are not aware of the real challenges and the lives of the persons with disabilities and they continue to live in their own world and decide on their own whims, the risk calculation of the life of a person with disabilities. They need to be sensitized and made aware not only about the lives of persons with disabilities but also the rights regime that UNCRPD brings.

(e) The entire literature on insurance that I had to read while pursuing this case from outside, I found it reinforced the stereotypes about persons with disabilities and their proneness to accident! Hence, we need new literature for future actuaries to understand that Disability can not be treated always as a negative health profile and that living with disability was distinct from suffering from a life threatening disease.

(f) There is a need to raise awareness that a person with visual impairment or with hearing impairment or with neurological impairment also enjoys good health like anybody else.

(g) The rules of Insurance sector needs to be changed in light of the 2012 judgement and a few more that came afterwards and applied across the sector. All insurance  issuing companies - be it private or government have to factor in the principles of this judgement and make amends. And this must apply to not just life insurance but also health insurance and other insurance products available in the market and we see a larger role of IRDAI- the insurance regulator in making their advisories mandatory.

Regards
Subhash Chandra Vashishth
Adv

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Focal Points in Different States & UTs of Govt. of India to address grievances of Persons with Disabilities during COVID19

Dear Colleagues

Government of India has facilitated the following list of Focal Points in different States/ Union Territories to address and attend to the Grievances of Persons with Disabilities during COVID19:

The contact details of the Focal Point at the Central level of Govt. of India is:-

Shri Vikash Prasad
Director
Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities,
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment
Room No. 5, B-I Block, Antyodaya Bhawan,
CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi - 110003 (India)
vikash[dot]prasad[at]nic[dot]in

Here are the Contact details of Officers in different States/ UTs of India that have been given in the following order :-

S.Number
Name of State/UT
First Contact Details
Second Contact Details
Third Contact Details

1
Andaman & Nicobar
Ms. Ankita Mishra Bundela
Secretary (Social Welfare Department),
Andaman and Nicobar Administration,
Secretariat, Port Blair-744101
secyship.and@nic.in


2
Andhra Pradesh
Ms. K. Damyanti ,
Principal Secretary,
Social Welfare Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh
9100778087
peshisw1@gmail.com
peshi.wcdsc@gmail.com
M.A.Kumar Raja,
Deputy Director, Welfare of Differently Abled, Transgender & Sr.  Citizens, D.Number.74-14-2, 1st floor, rajanarendra building, Krishna Nagar, yanamalakuduru road, Vijayawada-520 007
94907 20301

3
Arunachal Pradesh
Ms. Niharika Rai
Secretary
Department of Women & Child Development, Social Justice & Empowerment & Tribal Affairs,
Govt. of Arunachal Pradesh,
Itanagar-791111
Mobile No. 8919173853

4
Assam
Shri K J Hilaly
State Commissioner of PwDS
Government of Assam
9435080266
Joint Director
9453182377

5
Bihar
Shri Atul Prasad,
Principal Secretary,
Department of Social Welfare,
Government of Bihar, Patna-800015, Bihar
09431005001
Email: swbihar@gmail.com
secysw-bih@nic.in 

6
Chhattisgarh
Shri Prassna R
Seceratary  social welfare
Govt.of chhattisgarh
94061 00100

7
Delhi
Shri Santosh Kumar Section officer
 Office of State commissioner PwDs, GNCT of Delhi
 85270 77845
Dr. A. Madhavi
DD disabilities
Deptt of Social welfare
GNCTD
9013270156
Sh. Nitish Mohan Tripathi
State Coordinator UDID project
9873936472

8
Goa
Shri S. K. Bhandari ,
Secretary,
Department of Social Welfare,
Government of Goa,
Porvorim-4035211,
Goa.
Mobile No. 9643335576
Email Id:- socialwelfaregoa@rediffmail.com
Shri Santano Fernandes
Deputy State Commissoner of Persons with Disabilities, Govt. of Goa
98814 35463

9
Gujarat
Shri MaNumberj Aggarwal
Principal Secretary,
Department of Social Justice & Empowerment,
Govt. of Gujarat,
Sardar Patel Bhawan, Block-5, 9th floor, Sachivalaya,
Gandhinagar-382010
Email: secswd@gujarat.gov.in
Mobile: 09978444105
Shri Dina Nath Pandey
State Commissoner of Persons with Disabilities, Govt. of Gujarat
9978406491

10
Haryana
Shri Dinesh Shastri
State Commissioner of Persons with Dsiabilities, Govt. of Haryana
Mobile Number:- 90500 80529


11
Jharkhand
Dr. Amitabh Kaushal,
Secretary,
Department of Women Child Development & Social Security,
Govt. of Jharkhand,
Room Number.304, Project Building, Dhurwa
Ranchi-834004,
Jharkhand.
Email: swdjharkhand@gmail.com
Mob: 09430119083
Shri Satish Chandra
State Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities
94312 71428

12
Kerala
Shri Biju Prabhakar
Special Secretary,
Social Justice Department,
Government of Kerala,
Mob: 9447035355
E-mail: sjsecykerala@gmail.com
Dr. G. Harikumar
State Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities, Govt. of Kerala
9447743797

13
Madhya Pradesh
Shri Sandeep Rajak
State Commissioner of PwDs
9425139344
Shri Sunil Sharma
Assistant Director
9752405244

14
Maharashtra
Prerna Deshbratar
State Commissioner, Disabilities, Maharashtra State, Govt. of Maharashtra, 3, Church Road. Pune – 411 001


15
Manipur
Shri. V. Vumlunmang
Principal Secretary, Social welfare and Health
Govt. of Manipur,
Imphal, Manipur.
Mobile- 09436034934
Email: jacinthalazarus@gmail.com
Shri. L. Dhaneshwor Singh
Child Welfare Officer
Social Welfare Department
Mobile Number:- 94360 27993

16
Meghalaya
Shri Sanjeet K Seal,
State Numberdal Officer,
UDID Project, Meghalaya
Mobile Number: 9436101358
Smti Bridget Warshong,
Asst Commissioner for PwDs, Govt of Meghalaya
Mobile Number: +919863086563
Shri Dylan Robby Syiem
State Coordinator UDID Project, Meghalaya
Mobile Number: 8415927160

17
Mizoram
Smt. Marli Vankung
Secretary,
Department of Social Welfare,
Govt. of Mizoram, Aizwal, Mizoram.
Mobile: 09436155461
Office : 0389 - 2318212
Email: socdepmiz@gmail.com
Dr. Ankita Chakravarty, IAS
Director
Social Welfare & Tribal Affairs
Social Welfare Department
Govt. of Mizoram
Mobile : 08289008855
Office : 0389 - 2395044
Email : Mizoramswd@gmail.com
Shri. F.Vanlalruata
State Coordinator, UDID Project
Mizoram
Mobile : 8974144424
Email : Mizoramswd@gmail.com

18
Nagaland
Smti Sarah. R. Ritse
Secretary,
Department of Social Welfare,
Govt. of Nagaland,
Kohima-797004.
Ms Diethono Nakhro
State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Govt. of Nagaland
Mobile Number:- 8258953837
Email Id :-

19
Odisha
Shri Bhaskar Jyoti Sharma
Principal Secretary,
Department of Social Security & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities,
Government of Odisha,
SIDR Building, Capital Hospital Campus, Unit-6,
Bhubaneshwar-751001
Odisha.
Ms. Sulochna Das
State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Govt. of Odisha
Mobile Number:- 98610 80699

20
Puducherry
Shri.Ashokan.S
The Director,
Department of Social Welfare/Department of Women and Child Development,
Puducherry
Mobile Number:9443635370
Smti. Kalavady.D,
The Deputy Director
Numberdal Officer(COVID 2019)
Department of Social Welfare
Puducherry
Mobile Number: 9600219478
Smti. Kamalakumari V
The Superintendent(Establishment),
Staff Incharge(COVID 2019),
Department of Social Welfare,
Puducherry
Mobile Number:8637466067

21
Punjab
Shri Davinder Singh
Superintendent, O/O Director Social Security, Punjab
Mobile Number: 9888880363
Shri Gagandeep Shahi
State Coordinator , UDID, Punjab
Mobile Number: 9876377800
COVID 19:
The Department of Social Security and Women and Child Development ,Punjab has set up helpline service exclusively Persons with Hearing and Speech difficulties. They can use  the following WhatsApp Video Calling Helpline number to converse in Indian sign language:-
9888176357 ( Nitesh Sharma)
T&C
*Only Hearing/ speech  impaired Individuals Can Call .
*Plan your calls and Inform The Interpreter Before any Visit To the Doctor.
*Use Videocall During 9 am to 6 pm.
*Calls Between 10pm to 8 am are only for Emergency.
*Remember-Interpreters are not”Medical-Experts”

22
Rajasthan
Shri B.P Chandel
Deputy Director
Directorate of Specially Abled Persons, Rajasthan
Mobile number: +91 99283 09095

23
Sikkim
Shri K. Srineevasulu,
Principal Secretary
Social Justice, Empowerment & Welfare Department,
Govt. of Sikkim,
Samaj Kalyan Bhawan,
Lumsey, 5th Mile,
Gangtok-737102,
Sikkim.
Mobile No. 8919173853
Email: yangchenbhutia63@gmail.com

24
Tamil Nadu
Shri C. Vijayaraj Kumar
Secretary,
Department of Welfare of Differently Abled Persons
Govt. of Tamil Nadu,
Chennai-600078
Tamil Nadu.
Email: secywdap@tn.gov.in
Mobile Number : 0950037711
Thiru. Johny Tom Vargease I. A. S
State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities/ Director for Welfare of the Differently Abled
Email. Scd.tn@gmail.com
Mobile. +918800656753
Corona Virus 24X7 Helpline for Persons with Disabilities & Senior Citizens 18004250111 (Toll Free) WhatsApp & Video Call Helpline for Persons with Hearing and Speech Impairments to communicate with Sign Language Interpreters 9700799993

25
Telangana
Shri M. Jagadeeswar
Principal Secretary,
Department of Women & Child Welfare & Disabled Welfare,
Government of Telagana,
Hyderabad.
Mobile: 09849792093
Email: wcdsctg2014@gmail.com
Ms. Shailaja
Director and State Commissioner of PwDs
Department of Women & Child Welfare & Disabled Welfare,
Government of Telagana,
Hyderabad.
Mobile: 98499 05475
Email: wcdsctg2014@gmail.com

26
Tripura
Dr Deep Kumar Debbarma
State Surveillance Officer
7005513426, 9862670872
Shri Anant Das
(Superintendent of Police): 9436949241, 9612150583

27
Uttar Pradesh
Shri Mahesh Kumar Gupta
Addl. Chief Secretary,
Department of Disabled Welfare,
Govt. of Uttar Pradesh,
Room No.732, 7th Floor,
Bhapu Bhawan, Sachivalaya,
Lucknow-226001, Uttar Pradesh
Mobile Number: 09161737373
Email: psred2016@gmail.com
Shri S. K Shrivastav
State Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities, Uttar Pradesh
Mobile Number:- 95999 14539

28
Uttarakhand
Major Yogendra Yadav
State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities,
Govt. of Uttarakhand
Mobile. 99105 61116

29
West Bengal
Control Room 1070.            

033-22143526
 
30
Karnataka
Shri Basavaraju V S

State commissioner for Persons with Disabilities 

Mobile number +919449869430




Thursday, September 26, 2019

Polling Stations without lift can only use ground floor for assembly elections in Mumbai

In a bid to ensure accessibility during the forthcoming assembly elections in Maharashtra, it has been decided that all polling stations will be on ground floor if there’s no lift, reports Times of India.

For the first time an assembly election will have all polling booths on the ground floor if the building does not have working lifts. Taxis and buses will also be arranged by the election commission to ferry the elderly, ailing or disabled voters. “Accessibility will be the main feature of this election and the administration is braced to achieve it,” city district collector Shivaji Jondhale and suburban collector Milind Borikar, who are also the district election officers, said in a public interaction organised by Together VCAN, a social forum.

Farog Mukadam, deputy election officer, said the city and suburbs had 2,540 and 7,395 polling stations and only 104 of these in the city and 450 in the suburbs had permission to operate from the first, second and third floors as these had functional lifts. There would also be ramps for voters moving on wheel-chairs. While city has around 5.5 lakh voters above the age of 60, the suburban district has approximately over 20 lakh senior citizens. The collectors said that at stations where rooms were not available on the ground floor, pandals would be erected to create polling booths.

There are around 2,600 persons with disabilities in the city district and around 5,500 in the suburban district. The city and suburbs have a target of achieving a minimum of 60% voting against the 53% and 57% achieved in the recent Lok Sabha polls.

“We have around 14 wheelchair-mounted vehicles donated by VCAN, a social forum and six buses in the city to cater to disabled and elderly voters. In the suburbs, around 100 buses will arrange transport for them. Over and above this, 360 and 1,200 taxis each in city and suburbs will help in arranging transport for such voters on behalf of the election commission,” Mukadam said. 

Source: Times of India