Wednesday, May 16, 2018

No funds for new projects that don't include accessibility features in buildings - says Finance Minstry

Dear Colleagues,

In a welcome initiative, the Finance Ministry has, in compliance with Section 40 & 44 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016, which are reproduced below,  made it mandatory for all new projects to include accessibility features in the costing of the total project cost when proposals are sent for expenditure finance committee approvals. No funds will be release for projects that don't include accessibility components. 

"40. Accessibility.—The Central Government shall, in consultation with the Chief Commissioner, formulate rules for persons with disabilities laying down the standards of accessibility for the physical environment, transportation, information and communications, including appropriate technologies and systems, and other facilities and services provided to the public in urban and rural areas.

44. Mandatory observance of accessibility norms.—(1) No establishment shall be granted permission to build any structure if the building plan does not adhere to the rules formulated by the Central Government under section 40.
(2) No establishment shall be issued a certificate of completion or allowed to take occupation of a building unless it has adhered to the rules formulated by the Central Government"

The department of expenditure has directed all ministries to include “special measures proposed to meet needs of persons with disabilities, including accessibility requirements under the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act” in new construction projects.  The measures would be included in all inter-ministerial consultation notes and in the final expenditure finance committee (EFC) note. In the format of EFC notes for appraisal of schemes, the department of expenditure amended its earlier guidelines to include an additional para. 

This comes into immediate effect. The ministries/ departments are requested to accordingly circulate EFC memos for inter-ministerial consultations after incorporating measures to meet needs of persons with disabilities,” the amended guideline directed. 

The department of empowerment of persons with disabilities (DEPwD) has been pushing for this inclusion for some time. Speaking to ET, DEPwD joint secretary Dolly Chakraborty said, “Any new construction project – like a flyover where pedestrian crossings are being planned or overbridges or a new government building – would now have in-built accessibility features. Harmonised guidelines have been issued to have common features. Now it would be mandatory to include these within the planning stage.” .. This, Chakraborty said, would help to make physical environment more accessible as retrofitting later has always been a financial and design challenge. 



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