New Delhi | 20th June 2018
Today, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Svayam, an initiative of the Sminu Jindal Trust, and the Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL), to improve the Facilitation for Persons with Reduced Mobility (PRM) and accessibility at existing and future buildings and services at the Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGI) projects.
Svayam is a Delhi based non profit, focusing on dignity and inclusion for persons with reduced mobility through #Accessibility4All in physical & virtual infrastructure and services. It works in the areas of promoting inclusive mobility, transportation systems, tourism, education, health, ICT, products, etc. It is also empaneled as Access Auditor under the “Accessible India Campaign” of Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Govt. of India.
As a part of MoU, Svayam will conduct access audits and design appraisals of the Terminal Buildings and Services provided to passengers in general and persons with reduced mobility in particular. The agreement also includes sharing of technology, user testing by stakeholders, training & sensitization programs. Svayam will hold experience sharing sessions for senior officials of DIAL, CISF, Indian Customs and AFRRO’s, etc.
Regular training is necessary to keep the staff better equipped on how to address the needs of passengers with disabilities and those with reduced mobility. It also becomes crucial due to higher attrition rates in aviation sector. Therefore, Svayam will also provide training to stakeholders involved in providing services at the IGI airport that may include Operators, Government Agencies, Ground Handling Agencies, Airlines, Vendors, etc.
Ms. Sminu Jindal, Founder-Chairperson, Svayam, said: “This MoU between Svayam and DIAL will prove to be a milestone in our shared journey towards ‘Inclusive Air Travel’ in India and help make air travel hassle-free for passengers with reduced mobility travelling from and to Delhi Airport.”
For a long time, a need was felt for creating a constant platform for opening a dialogue between the aviation sector and PRM user groups, and we are sure this MoU will fulfil that need. Our team will not only advise DIAL on improving the facilities at the airports, but also impart sensitization training to the airport staff on how to better address the needs of passengers with disabilities and those with reduced mobility by involving all stakeholders.
The Government of India has notified & enforced the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 to give effect to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Act under Chapter VIII (section 39 through 44) details the duties and responsibilities of appropriate governments and in particular covers subject like Awareness campaigns on rights of persons with disabilities among stakeholders, Accessibility, Access to transport, Access to information and communication technology, Consumer goods & Mandatory observance of accessibility norms. The DGCA has also issued a Civil Aviation Requirement (CAR) on Carriage by Air of Persons with Disabilities and those with Reduced Mobility which mandates accessibility at the airports, airlines and services and regular sensitization training for staff among other facilities.
Delighted to read about this initiative, which shows great leadership both from Svayam and DIAL.
I hope this inspires similar collaborative actions more widely in India, following the “Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act” 2016.
Good luck with the work ahead. We look forward to hearing how it goes! (ENAT)