Tue, 31 Jan 2023

New Delhi [India], December 2 (ANI): On the eve of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the Election Commission of India felicitated the Indian Deaf Cricket Team today at Nirvachan Sadan. Welcoming the team, CEC Rajiv Kumar said that the Election Commission salutes the resilience and tenacity demonstrated by the players.

The team has brought laurels to the country by winning the T20 Champions Trophy held in UAE by Deaf International Cricket Council Kumar said it is important to accord due publicity and visibility to the winners. ECI will explore the possibility of sponsoring a match between the Indian Deaf Cricket Association and mainstream cricket teams.

The Commission also organised a sensitization training workshop for officers of the Commission on 'Diversity and Inclusion' by Padma Shri awardee Niru Kumar, ECI National Icon to mark the International Day of PwDs.

Speaking on the occasion, Kumar said that ECI is committed to mainstreaming and deeply embedding the concept and practice of accessibility in ensuring a new normal of enabling environment in the entire election process ecosystem from registration to voting.

Kumar elaborated that with administrative and technological innovations, ECI has developed a one-stop solution in the form of an APP - Saksham App - for enabling and facilitating the PwDs from enrolment to poll day facilities. The PwD electors can avail of various services provided by the ECI encouraging their participation in the election process, thus making them Saksham. The App can be downloaded from Google Play Store and Apple store.

ECI has been implementing several measures to ensure accessible facilitation at the polling stations, making them conducive for Persons with Disabilities to cast their vote without any hassles. Notified checklist for provisions such as polling stations on the ground floor, standardised ramps, wheelchairs, volunteers, EVM with braille and ballot paper, braille EPIC, accessible toilets, tactile signage, sign language interpreters and pick up drop facility is made available in polling stations. The Commission has also provided the option of a postal ballot facility to PwDs with 40% benchmarked disability to vote from the comfort of their homes.

The Commission has carried out milestone initiatives such as:a. Setting up of the National Advisory Committee on Accessible Elections.b. A module on sensitization of election personnel.c. Deploying Accessibility Observers during electionsd. Appointing achievers with disabilities as election ambassadors/icons e. Developing awareness films on inclusive elections starring achievers with disabilitiesThe Commission is dedicated to the goal of inclusive and accessible elections. It shall endeavour to increase the participation of PwDs in the electoral process for a truly representative and robust democracy. So far, over 83 lakhs electorate has been mapped as PwDs in the electoral roll across the country. (ANI)

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