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Without accessibility, inclusivity cannot become a reality’ says Shakuntala Doley Gamlin

Written by The Optimist

NCPEDP highlights the need for making the census 2021 accessible and inclusive for persons with disabilities 

The winners of the 11th NCPEDP Mphasis Universal Design Award were awarded in a virtual ceremony on Monday, September 28, 2020. 

20 individuals and organisations were recognised for their pathbreaking work on promoting accessibility for persons with disabilities at this virtual ceremony of the NCPEDP Mphasis Universal Design Awards that entered their second decade this year. Conceived in 2010 to create awareness about the principles of Universal Design and to encourage people to innovate and create products based on the same, the Awards were then expanded to include work that would lead to policy changes to promote accessibility for all and increase the mandate of the Awards to also increase access to services.

List of Awardees


 
Speaking at the ceremony, Srikanth Karra, Chief Human Resource Officer, Mphasis said “Inclusion and Innovations are the key tenets, the pillars on which our support is based. The most important thing for us is the structural changes achieved through advocating for policies. You can always do the small sponsorships and small scale level interventions, but doing it at the structural or policy level has been a much more everlasting and solid contribution.”

Shakuntala D. Gamlin, Secretary, Department Of Empowerment Of Persons With Disabilities

Congratulating the Awardees, NCPEDP and Mphasis, the Chief Guest of the ceremony, Shakuntala D. Gamlin, Secretary, Department Of Empowerment Of Persons With Disabilities said “Accessibility issues are challenging to the policymakers, engineers, governments, corporates, innovators and inventors but we should not tire from going incrementally towards perfecting and trying to replicate the designs and the accessibility issues that can finally take us towards a professed goal of universal accessibility. Without accessibility, inclusivity cannot become a reality”.
“What we are doing today may be looked at from the narrow perspective and it’s for a particular category of disability, but looking from the perspective of Universal Accessibility and Inclusivity, you will find that, it has a wide and deep inclusive and empowerment not only for the disabled but the aged, the women, pregnant women, children, and many others and finally the universal inclusivity in terms of those who may have been left behind due to the absence of technology and lack of proper accessible tools,” she added.

Speaking on the occasion Arman Ali, executive director, NCPEDP pointed out that the pandemic had taught us the importance of accessibility as a fundamental right.  “Access to information is particularly important as people with or without disabilities navigated through the new normal in today’s times,” he said. 

Arman Ali, executive director, NCPEDP 

Giving the closing remarks Som Mittal, Chairman, NCPEDP said that COVID has provided us with an opportunity and shown that many demands for reasonable accommodation by people with disabilities were not unreasonable and have now become part of work and life in this new normal. “Ensuring accessibility of products and services is not only mandated by the law but it makes for increased business sense as we can attract more customers – people with disabilities and older people –together easily 15% of our population,” said Mittal. He also reiterated the need to ensure that the upcoming Census 2021 is inclusive and accessible for persons with disabilities and appealed to the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities to push for this demand to ensure that people executing the Census must be trained and sensitized with right questions”.

Over 76 applications were received from across the country and even overseas. The jury for the prestigious award comprised of Som Mittal, Chairman, NCPEDP, Nipun O S, AVP and Head, CSR, Mphasis, Shilpi Kapoor, CEO, Barrier Break,  Mamta Kohli, Senior Social Development Advisor, FCDO  and  Prof. P.VM Rao, Head, Department of Design, IIT Delhi. 

Som Mittal, Chairman, NCPEDP

The awards were instituted in 4 categories 

A total of 13 Winners, 2 Special Jury Awardees, and 4 Jury Recognitions were acknowledged during the ceremony on September 28, which is also celebrated as the International Day for Universal Access to Information. 

About NCPEDP:

Registered in 1996, the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) is the country’s premier cross-disability, not-for-profit organisation working as an interface between Government, Industry, International Agencies and the Voluntary Sector towards empowerment of persons with disabilities. Its mandate is simple – to encourage the employment of disabled people, increase public awareness on the issue of disability, empower disabled people with knowledge, information and opportunities and ensure easy and convenient access to all public places. NCPEDP works on six core principles, also called the six pillars of the organization, namely: 1) Education; 2) Employment; 3) Accessibility; 4) Legislation/Policy; 5) Awareness/Communication, and 6) Youth. For more information, visit: https://www.ncpedp.org

About Mphasis

Mphasis applies next-generation technology to help enterprises transform businesses globally. Customer centricity is foundational to Mphasis and is reflected in the Mphasis’ Front2Back™ Transformation approach. Front2Back™ uses the exponential power of cloud and cognitive to provide hyper-personalized (C=X2C2TM=1) digital experience to clients and their end customers. Mphasis’ Service Transformation approach helps ‘shrink the core’ through the application of digital technologies across legacy environments within an enterprise, enabling businesses to stay ahead in a changing world. Mphasis’ core reference architectures and tools, speed and innovation with domain expertise and specialization are key to building strong relationships with marquee clients. For more information, visit:https://www.mphasis.com/

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