Thursday, March 20, 2014

Perseverance Pays: Call for inclusive elections (The Hindu)

Perseverance Pays: My media campaigning on the World Disability Day; before
the Delhi election; on the polling day; after the DE; complaint to ECI,
CCPD, DSEC; RTI to ECI, CEO Delhi; campaigning on National Voters Day and
subsequent media coverage is finally getting repaid. The CEO Delhi accepted
our suggestion for inclusive elections. Hard work and strategic planning
certainly works.

Todays 'The Hindu' covers the story:

Call for inclusive elections

Access audit of polling booths by persons with disabilities, pictorial
signage for those with hearing problems, provision for wheel-chair users on
the polling day and involvement of special educators to create videos for
educating the polling staff - these are among the suggestions placed before
the Delhi Election Commission earlier this week by a group of
representatives from various disability groups to ensure that persons with
disabilities are able to participate in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Disability activist Dr. Satendra Singh, who is part of the group, said:
"The Election Commission in a meeting with our group acknowledged the
deficiencies and has promised to rectify it at the earliest. Attitudinal
barrier was acknowledged as the major hindrance."

Members from the Handicapped Welfare Federation have also demanded that
there should be a database of voters with disabilities and that staff from
the Delhi Social Welfare Department should monitor booths.

"We have also said that there is a need to include pictorial signage to
help persons with psychosocial disabilities. Also, persons with cerebral
palsy should have a companion to press the buttons. Currently the benefit
is given only to the blind. Provision of wheelchairs on polling day is also
a matter to be taken care of," added Dr. Singh.

Stating that the Commission should look at establishing a helpline number
for persons with disabilities, Dr. Singh added that special educators be
involved in creating videos for educating and creating awareness among
polling staff.

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