​​​Indigo Airlines, SAP labs, NIC - lead the way in addressing disability in India.

Does your organisation design with disabled people in mind? ​​​The ​​NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Awards recognises organisations that do.
( | Press Release | 2016-08-04 13:47:53 )
All of us are a part of some organisation. Before launching products in the market, theres tremendous market research, on reaching the customer, breaking the clutter etc. Even HR policies are being re-designed for people-centricity.

So does your organisation design with the disabled people in mind.

Lets call such design ‘universal design’- which means a design that is usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of age, ability, or situation. Something as simple as;

a. Do you print your product labels in Braille as well?
b. Are your office buses large enough for wheelchairs to get in?

Do you think in terms of making your products accessible to India’s 70-100 million persons with disability?

​​Accessibility not only means access to physical spaces but also means access to information, technology, transport, services, aids and appliances, etc. Access, therefore, is an issue that cuts across disabilities and sectors and forms the very basis of empowerment of people with disabilities.

It was with this goal, that the NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Awards were incepted in 2009, and this is their 7th edition. The brainchild of Javed Abidi,​ ​​​Honorary Director of the NCPEDP, the award logo stands for the spirit of Freedom and Celebration.

Abdi explains, “Through this award, we want to be able to tell organisations in India that accessibility is a huge commercial opportunity as well as a social responsibility. We are delighted with some of the work we have seen this year, but sincerely hope that more and more organisations come into the fold.”

About 60 applications were received from across the country.

The jury comprised Som Mittal, Former Chairman and President of NASSCOM, Papiya Sarkar, Chief Architect, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, Dr. Garimella Subramaniam, Deputy Editor with The Hindu, Shilpi Kapoor, Ashoka Fellow, accessibility evangelist and the founder of BarrierBreak, Dr. Meenu Bhambhani, Vice President and Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Mphasis Ltd. and A. S. Narayanan, Secretary of National Association of the Deaf, India.

Awards were announced in three categories.

1. Category A: Persons with Disabilities

Awards in this category are given to people with disabilities who have created an impact in accessibility and Universal Design- either in service provision, ICT, policy framework, grass-root level implementation, design and development, access audits, or even the rights movement/ advocacy. The winners in this category are

a. DANISH MAHAJAN AND DIVYA SHARMA ​-​Danish Mahajan and Divya Sharma are a part of Radio Udaan, an online radio station run by visually impaired people.

b. DR. NIRMITA NARASIMHAN ​-​Dr. Nirmita Narasimhan is a policy director with the Centre for Internet and Society and has worked extensively to promote electronic accessibility and universal design.

c. SATHASIVAM KANNUPAYAN ​-​Sathasivam Kannupayan started to work on, an online accessible information portal for persons with disabilities in the year 2009. It is one of the Tenth Planet Open Source Foundation (TPOSF) venture initiatives.

2. Category B: Working Professionals

Awards in this category are given to people who work for the cause of accessibility. She/ he may be an employee of an education institute/ NGO/ corporate/ government body that has taken up the cause, or may be a consultant or freelancer who has devoted her/ his time for the cause.

The winners in this category are


Prem Nawaz Khan Maraikayar is a front end Engineer, presently working with PayPal Inc. and contributes to a couple of open source projects like bootstrap plugin, skipto and amCharts plugins which have wide acceptance.

Dr. Sandeep Sankat is Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture, School of Planning and Architecture, Bhopal. He is dedicated to dissemination of the concept of Universal Design amongst the budding students of architecture.

Dr. Sujatha Srinivasan has established the Rehabilitation Research and Device Development (R2D2) lab in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at IIT Madras with the focus on assistive device development. R2D2 collaborates with NGOs, hospitals and rehabilitation centres working in the field of disability.

3. Category C: Companies/ Organisations

Awards in this category will be given to those companies or organisations who have taken up the cause of accessibility, which has led to them recruiting or serving people with disabilities and providing them equal opportunities to participate to the best of their abilities.

These awards are to be given away on 14th of August, the eve of our Independence Day.

Since its inception in 2006, Interglobe Aviation Ltd. (IndiGo) has set a benchmark for organizations within and beyond the Aviation Industry, both in terms of operations as well as service standards.

National Informatics Centre (NIC) provides Nationwide Common ICT Infrastructure to support e-Governance services to the citizens and has formulated ‘Guidelines for Indian Government Websites (GIGW)’ with a view to make government websites citizen centric, accessible and user friendly.

NewzHook is India’s 1st news app which is inclusive and accessible to all of us equally.

Planet Abled provides accessible and inclusive travel solutions and leisure excursions for people with disabilities.

SAP Labs India, has a mission to help the world run better and improve people's lives. They recently undertook the accessibility audit of all their office premises in Bangalore and made changes and additions to the existing infrastructure towards accessibility.

For students with disability, the University of Hyderabad offers total exemption from the payment of tuition fee, apart from other things.

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Kiran Rajput

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