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Election Commission awarded for working towards disability-friendly polls

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Panel lauded for working towards making auxiliary polling stations for the psychically challenged.

New Delhi: One of India’s leading cross-disability organisations, the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People, Tuesday awarded the Election Commission for working towards making auxiliary polling stations for the disabled in the upcoming polls.

The ninth edition of the NCPEDP Mphasis Universal Design Awards held on the eve of Independence Day in the national capital, commemorated several individuals and organisations, which have made “impeccable contribution in actively promoting accessibility for persons with disabilities”. The awards were handed out by urban affairs minister Hardeep Singh Puri and ThePrint editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta.

Also read: Election Commission inexperienced to handle 2019, fear former poll body chiefs

The Election Commission has actively been working to better the facilities – including by providing ramps, giving priority entry, allowing companions, sensitising poll officers and staff – for the disabled since 2000. This year, has, in fact, been earmarked as the “Year of Accessible Elections”, with the EC constituting a technical committee especially for the inclusion of the disabled.

A number of awardees

Alim Chandani, associate vice president of Centum Foundation, was awarded for leading the foundation’s GRO initiative, a division dedicated entirely to disabled persons. The foundation’s Deaf Skill Training Hub — which has been designed by deafness experts — provides training on ways to empower the deaf, along with equipping them with language skills.

Another key awardee was Dhananjay Bhole, coordinator of the Centre for Inclusive Education and Accessibility at the Savitribai Phule Pune University. Bhole, who played an integral role in founding the centre, provides support services to 700 affiliated institutions, along with his students.

Also read: Women with disability face higher risk of sexual violence & lower access to justice in India

Other important awardees included Harish Kumar, founder, Ability on Wheels, Dr. J.S. Arora, general secretary, National Thalassemia Welfare Society, Tigmanshu Bhatnagar of IIT Delhi, Vishal Kapoor, chief design officer of Future Enterprise, Orkids Foundation, Ezy Mov Solution, Amar Jain, Associate (Equity Capital Market), Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Vishal Kumar Jain, senior manager, HR MIS & Analytics, TATA Motors, Diversity and Equal Opportunity Centre and National Association of the Deaf.

Emphasising on the need for an inclusive “ease of living”, Hardeep Singh Puri said: “This government recognises that it is only when each individual can truly enjoy ‘ease of living’ in our urban centres, will India’s development story be deemed a success. The Divyang community is an integral part of our social fabric, and they too deserve access to the benefits of urban living.”

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