Harmonized Guidelines and Space Standards for Universal Accessibility in India | UPSC Notes

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Harmonized Guidelines and Space Standards for Universal Accessibility in India

Why in the News?


In the RPwD (Amendment) Rules, 2023, changes were made to the Harmonised Guidelines and Space Standards for Universal Accessibility in India-2021, which were made by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

What are the Harmonised Guidelines and Space Standards for Universal Accessibility in India-2021?


It is a set of rules and standards for making sure that people with disabilities (PwDs) in India have access to the physical world, transportation, information and communication, and other facilities and services.


The Harmonised Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier-Free Built Environment for Persons with Disabilities and Elderly Persons, which came out in 2016, have been updated.


Before, the rules were about making sure there were no barriers, but now the focus is on making sure everyone can access everything.


The rules aren’t just for people with disabilities (PwDs), but also for people who work on projects like building government buildings or making plans for whole towns.


The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) is in charge of making sure that the rules are followed


What does India’s law say about people with disabilities?


India signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2007 and passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act in December 2016, which went into effect in 2017.


The RPwD Act of 2016 has recognised 21 different kinds of disorders.

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According to Section 40 of the RPwD Act of 2016, the Central Government works with the Chief Commissioner (for PwDs) to make rules for people with disabilities.

These rules set the standards for how accessible the physical environment, transportation, information and communication, as well as other public facilities and services in urban and rural areas are for people with disabilities.


Under this, a lot of things are being done, like the “Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan” (Accessible India Campaign) campaign.