Saturday, November 12, 2011

Reservation without Accessibility?


How effective is inviting people with hearing impairments to a conference and not providing sign language interpreters or inviting people with vision impairments and not providing them with braille material. On a similar account how good is reservation for disabled people without simultaneously providing accessibility.

There is a much needed 3% reservation in educational institutes for disabled students but the benefit this reservation is yielding is not as overwhelming as it should be as the campuses remain inaccessible. Take for example the Delhi University has 1600 seats reserved for disabled students but only about 450 to 500 seats are filled, because disabled students cannot operate in inaccessible environments. So how good is the reservation?

Public Housing schemes have a reservation of 2-3% for disabled clients, which is definitely welcome but the impact of this reservation is questionable. The houses are not accessible therefore a disabled person would need to spend lots of money to make them accessible which put an undue burden on the disabled person and hence is discriminatory.

Then what would happen if one acquires a disability after shifting into a house on the second floor? Or what if there is a disabled child born to a couple occupying the first floor house? Because the designers and planners do not provide an option for disabled people to have basic access as even a visitor to all units in the housing complex, the person who acquires a disability later or is born with a disability on a upper floor house become a prisoner of there own house.

I can continue to discuss about all other existing reservations or concessions available to the disabled people, but without accessibility their envisaged positive impact on the lives of disabled people is questionable.  

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