Tuesday, July 04, 2023

2-day in-person Capsule Course on "National Building Code 2016 - Accessibility in Buildings & Built Environment" held on 24-25 July 2023 at NITS Noida, India (with Post Event updates)

Dear A11y Enthusiasts,

Bureau of Indian Standards, the National Standards body of the country responsible for formulating Indian Standards in the various fields of science and engineering, has introduced CAPSULE COURSES on various standards/special publications of national importance.  These short training courses have been devised with the objective to train our aspiring professionals on the essence of various provisions covered in such standards/special publications for ensuring orderly development, accessibility, sustainability, health, safety and environment protection as well as to resolve their queries/concerns relating to the interpretation and implementation of provisions of these standards/special publications.  These Courses are also targeted to help professionals in acquiring state-of-the-art knowledge in that particular field which would boost their confidence and help them to deliver their services in a better and efficient manner.

One such course has been devised on National Building Code of India 2016 (NBC 2016), the model code which covers all aspects of planning, design, construction and operation and maintenance of buildings and is used by urban local bodies and various authorities involved in building regulation and building permission activities, in framing their regulations. The course on NBC 2016 has several modules covering various aspects covered in the Code such as:-

1. Accessibility in Buildings and Built Environment;
2. Fire and Life Safety; 
3. Structural Design; 
4. Soil and Foundation Engineering;
5. Air Conditioning, Heating and Mechanical Ventilation; and
6. Plumbing Services. 

Government of India has launched Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) as a nation-wide Campaign for achieving universal accessibility for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). It has three important verticals, namely, the Built Environment, the Transportation Sector and the ICT Ecosystem.  An accessible building and built environment is one, where persons with disabilities face no barrier in entering a building and using all the facilities therein and encompasses steps and ramps, corridors, entry gates, emergency exits, parking as well as indoor and outdoor facilities including lighting, signages, alarm systems and toilets. An accessible physical environment not just benefits persons with disabilities, it benefits everyone including the elderly and the children.  Thus, for creating an inclusive environment, it is particularly important to take measures to eliminate obstacles and barriers to indoor and outdoor facilities including schools, medical facilities, and workplaces as well as all public spaces such as roads, footpaths, parks and gardens. 

Further, under Accessible India Campaign, a large number of public builidngs were / are being audited to convert them in to fully accessible buildings. Private sector builidngs coming within the definition of 'Public Buildings" as per the RPWD Act 2016 are also being audited and retrofitted by private establishments and Green projects are designed to be 'born accessible' ensuring full accessibility based on universal design from the planning stage itself.  

Capsule Course on NBC 2016 – Accessibility in Buildings and Built Environment
In order to enable the professionals and officials involved in land development and building construction to contribute towards effectively meeting the targets of Accessible India Campaign and requirements laid down in Persons with Disabilities Rules, 2017, one of these modules of NBC 2016 has been designed to cover the subject of  'Accessibility in Buildings and Built Environment' . 

The first two-day Capsule Course on National Building Code of India 2016 - Accessibility in Buildings and Built Environment is scheduled to be held on 24-25 July 2023 at National Institute of Training for Standardization (NITS), Noida, the state-of-the art training arm of BIS.  

CABE Foundation is happy to contribute to this capsule course along with senior faculty members from the BIS. You are invited to attend this Course scheduled to be held as per the details hereinbelow:

Who should attend?
Professionals and officials involved in land development and building construction whether in ULBs or Development Agencies or Private Players. All those concerned with city planning, building regulation, and planning, design, construction and maintenance of buildings and built assets and facilities.   The course will also benefit those interested in accessibilty in buildings and surveying the usability of the building for persons with disabilities and other diverse usergroups from the perspective of Universal Design or carrying out retrofitting in existing buildngs to make them accessible.  It will also help DEI professional, consultants to ensure that built environment meets the needs of diverse usergroups at the workplaces.

Course Schedule & Duration
The Course is of 2 days duration scheduled during 24 -25 July, 2023.

Venue:     National Institute of Training for Standardization (NITS)
       A 20-21, Institutional Area, Sector 62, NOIDA-201301(UP), India 
                 Tel : +91-120-4670238, Email - nits@bis.gov.in

Course Fee :  INR 1,500/- only for the 2-day Course* (*Plus applicable GST). 

Hostel Facilities: The hostel facilities can be availed, if needed at NITS, Noida on chargeable basis which includes Breakfast & Dinner.

How to Apply?

1. Online Portal: Application has to be made through BIS Training Portal www.manakonline.in, as explained below, latest by 21 July 2023.:- 
    • VISIT the E-BIS Website: www.manakonline.in
    • CLICK on the "Training" Head
    • LOGIN by clicking on the blue "LOGIN" button on the top right corner
    • SIGNUP by clicking on "SIGNUP" on the Member Login Page if you are not a member otherwise "SIGN IN" using your credentials
    • FILL OUT all the fields and click on "REGISTER" and complete the registration process. 
    • CHOOSE the course you want to apply for, fill in the required information and "PAY" the requisite fee.
2. By Email: Alternatively, you can also E-mail the filled up application form to nits@bis.gov.in. latest by 21 July 2023:- (Download the application Form : Word File 38 KB)

Criteria for Selection and Batch Size
  • Selection on First come First serve basis subject to availability of seats
  • Batch size – 40 
Certification: Certificate of participation on completion of the course.

  1. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director at CABE Foundation, Specialist- Accessibility, Universal Design & Diversity Inclusion, Accessibility Expert CPABE Level III (IAAP), Member of BIS Technical Committees- CED12, CED59, LITD35, SSD 09:03 etc. & Empaneled Access Audit Trainer (under Accessible India Campaign), Govt. of India, 
  2. Shri T.D. Dhariyal, Former Dy Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Govt. of India and Former State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities. Delhi, Executive Director- CABE Foundation
  3. Ms. Madhurima Madhav, Scientist 'D' & Jt Director (Civil Engg.), Bureau of Indian Standards
Access the Course Brochure below

And the Training Program Module schedule here:

Post Event Updates:

The capsule course saw participation from diverse sectors ranging from private players, government departments, non-government organisation, practicing architects, builders and contractors undertaking accessibility related renovations and projects. CABE Foundation was happy to contribute to this important intiative and there are two more such events are planned which will be shared here a month before the courses.

Here is a tweet from the BIS on the capsule course:

Some pictures from the training:

Group picture of the participants with Faculty at the training
Picture 1. Group photo of the training participants

Mr. TD Dharyal, Executive Director, CABE Foundation taking a session
Picture 2. Sh. TD Dhariyal, Executive Director, CABE Foundation conducting a session

Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director, CABE Foundation conducting the training
Picture 3. Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Director, taking sessions at the capsule course.


Monday, June 19, 2023

Join us at the Conference on Inclusion in Cultural Spaces organised by MAP Bangalore on 01 July 2023

Dear Colleagues,

Creative of the Inclusion in the Cultural Organisations
We are delighted to announce that Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, CABE's Co-Founder & Director, will be joining the upcoming conference on 'Inclusion in Cultural Spaces', scheduled to be held on the 1st of July 2023 at Bangalore. 

Organised by the Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) in Bangalore, and supported by the Mphasis F1 Foundation, the conference will bring together experts from the arts, as well as the broader development sector to highlight and demystify the complexities of inclusion within the arts.

The day-long conference will feature conversations on the status of inclusion in cultural organisations, the built environment, fostering a meaningful audience engagement, representation within the workforce, and the need for a strategic effort by funders to move towards a more inclusive art sector.

The day will also feature an introductory session on Indian Sign Language and will conclude with a networking reception.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

The event is free, but registration is mandatory.  

Register for the Conference in Person: [Weblink to Register]

Download Programme Schedule of the Conference : [PDF 146KB]

Date and Venue: 01 July 2023, Mazumdar - Shaw Auditorium, Ist Floor, 22, Kasturba Rd, Shanthala Nagar, Bengaluru, Karnataka 560001 (Location PIN)

Require support  or have Questions : access@map-india.org  or visit MAP-India dot org

Thursday, May 18, 2023

National Seminar in hybrid mode on “Breaking Barriers: Universal Design for Accessibility in the Built Environment” by BIS on 13 June 2023 (With Post Event updates)

Dear Accesssibility Enthusiasts,

As you are aware, Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), is the National Standards Body of India, which is inter alia responsible for promotion of harmonious development in standardization and matters connected therewith, both within the country and at international level.  In line with its mandate, BIS is engaged in the establishment, publication, review and promotion of the Indian Standards, in relation to goods, articles, processes, systems and services.

Accessibility in the built environment refers to designing and constructing buildings, public spaces, and infrastructure that can be accessed and used by persons with disabilities.  Creating an accessible built environment is essential for addressing needs of older adults and persons with disabilities, promoting social inclusion, upholding human rights, supporting the economy, and meeting legal requirements.

Recently, the draft for revision of IS 4963 “Requirement for Accessibility in Built Environment for Older Adults and Persons with Disabilities” (Second Revision) has been issued in Wide Circulation.  This document is an important guideline for architects, builders, and policymakers in ensuring that buildings and public spaces are accessible to older adults and persons with disabilities.

To sensitize the sensitize professionals, government organizations, academia, NGOs, accessibility specialists, important private organizations working for the welfare of elderly people and persons with disabilities and seek comments on the wide circulation draft, we are glad to invite you to this National seminar on “Breaking Barriers: Universal Design for Accessibility in the Built Environment”.  The seminar will highlight the importance of addressing the needs of elderly people and persons with disabilities in building construction.

In the Seminar the improvements and developments to the provisions existing in the National Building Code of India 2016 (Part 3 - Annex B), particularly the revision of IS 4963 will be disseminated, and interactions held.

Date of the Seminar: Tuesday, 13 June 2023

Time: 1000 Hrs onwards 

Venue: Dr Lal C Verman Conference Hall, Bureau of Indian Standards, Manak Bhawan, 9 Bahadur Shah Zafar Marg, New Delhi 110 002, India.

Mode: Hybrid (in person as well as virtual), however, registration is compulsory.


Welcome address: Shri Arun Kumar S, Scientist E & Head, Civil Engineering Department, BIS

Theme Address:    Shri Sanjay Pant, Deputy Director General, (Standardization-II), BIS 

Sensitisation Talk on Specific Needs of Diverse Users :  Shri Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Accessibility, Universal Design & Diversity Inclusion, Accessibility Expert CPABE Level III (IAAP), Director, CABE Foundation

Accessibility in NBC2016:  Smt Madhurima Madhav, Scientist D/Joint Director, Civil Engineering Department, BIS

What’s new in IS 4963:   Shri Dheeraj Damachya, Scientist B/Assistant Director, Civil Engineering Department, BIS

Access the Brochure here: 

Post Event Update:

The seminar was attended by a large number of participants from across sectors and differnet geographies. Here are some visuals from the seminar:

Image of the National Seminar Banner

Image of Sh. Sanjay Pant, DDG, BIS welcoming Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth

Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth making his presentation at the National Seminar

Ms. Madhurima Madhav & Mr. Dheeraj Damachaya speaking at the seminar

Responding to Q&A Session, Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth, Mr. Dheeraj Damachaya and Mr. Arun S, Head CED

Group Photo of some of the in-person participants with speakers.

Seeking your comments on Revision to IS 4963:1987 Indian Standard on Requirement for accessibility in built environment for older adults and persons with disabilities

Dear colleagues,

Wish you a very Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2023!

As you may be aware, the CABE Foundation has been an active contributor to the formulation and revision of standards on accessibility and universal design in built enviornment in India. As a member of the Functional Requirements in Buildings Sectional Committee, CED 12, of the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS), we have been working on revision of Indian Standard IS 4963: 1987. 

The sectional committee had recently issued Document Number: CED12(22230)WC titled as "Requirement for accessibility in built environment for older adults and persons with disabilities" in Wide Circultion for public comments. The document is available on the   BIS Website.  

This document has the following salient features which may require specific attention for your valuable comments:

1)  This standard specifies the requirements of barrier free access to, movement within and around buildings, by the elderly persons and persons with disabilities who may have non-ambulatory disabilities, ambulatory disabilities, sight disabilities, hearing disabilities, etc.

2)  These requirements apply to all buildings and facilities open to and used by the public.  These shall also apply to all forms of public housing by the government/civic bodies or private developers.

3)  The reference to the accessibility needs of persons with disabilities, made in this standard shall also mean a reference to such needs of the elderly persons, children, women and persons of short stature / dwarfism in so far as the concerned provision is applicable to the type of disabilities that may be associated therewith.

The last date for sharing the comments is 01 June 2023. It will great to come together to examine the document and further improvise it in the larger interest of having an Indian Standard on universal design based built environment that meets the needs of all users, especially those with disabilities. You may like to share the comments on the document in the prescribed template through the ManakOnline portal at  www.ManakOnline.in.

Happy Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2023 once again!

Friday, April 28, 2023

Capacity Building Workshop at Chandigarh on 'Inclusive Library-A digital and Accessible Library for All'

Inaugural session of the WorkshopAccess to Libraries is an important area of intervention especially in this age of technology where STEM education is increasingly being chosen by blind and visually impaired students among others. Physical access to schools and libraries too is equally crucial for children with disabilities and convenient for other students. We need more sensitization among schools and educational institutions.

Workshop schedule of Day 1We contributed to this crucial two day Capacity Building Workshop on "Inclusive Library-A digital and Accessible Library for All" on 28 April 2023 at Sri Guru Govind Singh Public School Sector 35B Chandigarh as resource. The school, the GIEN (Global Inclusive Education Network), Centre for Disability Studies and Action, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai (TISS, Mumbai), DAISY Forum of India (DFI), National Associated for the Blind, Delhi (NAB), and Brotherhood, Delhi, collaborated together to organise a two-day capacity-building workshop for the librarians, special educators, counsellors and IT professionals of schools (Primary, Middle, Secondary and Senior Secondary), special schools and universities.

Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth conducted two sessions during the workshop - one each on - Legal framework on Obligations of educational institutions & libraries towards persons with disabilities, Access to ICT products & services and on How to ensure Physcial Accessibility in Schools & Libraries. Attendees were Teachers, Special Educators, Librarians, Counsellors and IT Staff from various schools, Universities and Special schools from North India. Interesting take aways from the exercise. 

Mr. Vashishth conducting the technical session with the participants.
Fig. Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth conducting the training session.

We thank Global Inclusive Education Network; Centre for Disability Studies and Action, School of Social Work, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai (TISS, Mumbai); DAISY Forum of India (DFI); National Associated for the Blind, Delhi (NAB), and Brotherhood, for this importnat collaboration!, 

Saturday, January 21, 2023

IRDAI need to act to ensure an equal and non-discriminatory Health Insurance for Persons with Disabilities

    - Drafted by Ms. Anugya Srivastava & Edited by Mr. Subhash Chandra Vashishth

Health insurance is the means to cover your medical expenses if you are at risk or injured. A comprehensive medical insurance covers the cost of hospitalisation, day-care procedures, medical care at home (domiciliary hospitalisation), and ambulance charges, amongst others. A health insurance plan helps you stay covered against various diseases. Additionally, it enables you to boost tax savings. Under section 80D of the Income Tax Act, 1961, one can claim tax benefits against their health insurance premium. Everyone can apply for insurance. So what is there for the disabled when it comes to insurance?

HDFC Insurance’s explanation below will give us a better idea about the deep routed phenomenon of discrimination being faced by persons with disabilities particularly those with congenital disabilities (those who were born with it):

Depending on whether the disability that a person is suffering from is congenital (i.e. by birth) or accidental, various health insurance providers offer healthcare coverage scopes. Generally speaking, if the disability is congenital i.e. in the event of a person being disabled from birth, the insurance providers do not offer any healthcare coverage. This means that persons who are suffering from congenital disabilities are not eligible for healthcare coverage in the general sense of the word. However, persons who have become disabled on account of an accidental occurrence are treated as regular customers when it comes to purchasing a health insurance plan. Therefore, such persons who were not born with a disability but became disabled due to any accidental occurrence are equally eligible for healthcare coverage as is provided by the various insurance providers. There is a clear set of medical tests and documentation at the time of policy purchase, which must be duly followed and all the details pertaining to the disability must be divulged.”


What the Law says on Health Insurance for Persons with Disabilities

Article 25 of the United Nations Convention for Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which India ratified in 2007, states as under:

(e) Prohibit discrimination against persons with disabilities in the provision of health insurance, and life insurance where such insurance is permitted by national law, which shall be provided in a fair and reasonable manner”


Sections 3, 25 and 26 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPWD), 2016, have made it clear that a person with a disability cannot be discriminated against when accessing healthcare and its other aspects. According to Section 26 of the Act, “The appropriate Government shall, by notification, make insurance schemes for their employees with disabilities”. 

Health Insurance Schemes of Union Government, State Governments and Private Companies

Keeping in view the above provisions of the UNCRPD and RPWD Act, let us take a look at the health insurance Schemes of the Government:

Central Government:

    A. Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana: Ayushman Bharat PM-JAY is the largest health insurance scheme in the world, which aims at providing health cover of Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalisation to approximately 50 crore beneficiaries which make up the bottom 40% of the Indian population. The households included were based on the deprivation and occupational criteria of the Socio-Economic Caste Census 2011 (SECC 2011) for rural and urban areas, respectively. It subsumed the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY), launched in 2008.

The eligibility criteria of this scheme for the beneficiaries are divided into two categories: rural and urban:

a. For the rural beneficiaries, PM-JAY covers all such families who fall into at least one of the following deprivation criteria (D1 to D5 and D7) and automatic inclusion (living on alms, manual scavenger households, tribal group, legally released bonded labour) criteria:

       D1- Only one room with kucha walls and kucha roof
       D2- No adult member between ages 16 to 59
       D3- Households with no adult male member between ages 16 to 59
       D4- Disabled member and no non-disabled adult member
       D5- SC/ST households
       D7- Landless households deriving a significant part of their income from manual casual labour

b. For the urban beneficiaries, the workers who belong to the following 11 occupational categories are eligible for the scheme:

       Domestic worker
       Street vendor/ Cobbler/hawker / other service provider working on streets
  Construction worker/ Plumber/ Mason/ Labour/ Painter/ Welder/ Security guard/ Coolie and other head-load worker
       Sweeper/ Sanitation worker/ Mali
       Home-based worker/ Artisan/ Handicrafts worker/ Tailor
   Transport worker/ Driver/ Conductor/ Helper to drivers and conductors/ Cart puller/ Rickshaw puller
  Shop worker/ Assistant/ Peon in small establishment/ Helper/Delivery assistant / Attendant/  Waiter
       Electrician/ Mechanic/ Assembler/ Repair worker

Ayushman Bharat', has 17 packages for mental health disorders, which also includes psychoactive substance use and covers ECT (Electroconvulsive therapy), rTMS (Repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation), MRIs (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and most of the blood tests.  But Ayushman Bharat, does not cover HIV as of today, though there are discussions to include this condition.  The main limitation of this scheme is that despite its goal of providing health insurance to the poor and vulnerable beneficiaries, the eligibility criteria for the urban beneficiaries exclude disabled professionals who are from vulnerable families living in urban areas.

          B. Niramaya Health Insurance Scheme

This Health Insurance Scheme' by the National Trust covers conditions arising from disabilities, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, autism, and multiple disabilities. The scheme envisages delivering comprehensive cover, which will have a single premium across the age band covering people with disabilities with up to ₹1 lakh for medical treatments under the National Trust Act on a reimbursement basis. It does not require pre-insurance tests, but individuals must enroll with the National Trust and have a valid disability certificate to avail of this policy. Treatment can be taken from any hospital.

          C. Swavalamban Health Insurance

Swavalamban has been designed to deliver comprehensive cover to the beneficiary as well as his family (PwD, Spouse & up to two children), has a single premium across age bands and can be availed by PwDs aged between 18 years and 65 years with a family annual income of less than ₹ 3,00,000 per annum. In order to enable and empower persons with disabilities (PwDs) to live as independently and with dignity as possible, health services and its access to persons with disabilities assume a very significant role. The objectives of the scheme are: 

  • To provide affordable Health Insurance to persons with Blindness, Low vision, Leprosy-cured, Hearing impairment, Locomotor Disability, Intellectual Disability and Mental Illness.
  • To improve the general health condition & quality of life of persons with disabilities.

          D. Employees’ State Insurance Scheme.

Primarily designed to help factory workers handle the expenses following accidents and occupational hazards, the Employees' State Insurance Scheme is available for the workers employed in various factories in India. Under Disablement benefits, the employers’ share of contribution in respect of such disabled employees is paid by the Central Government for initial three years. Permanently disabled persons working in factories and establishments covered under ESI Act and drawing wages up to ₹25,000/- per month are covered under the scheme.  

      State Governments

Although there is no specific scheme which gives health insurance or assistance to persons with disabilities, these are some of the following scheme(s) that give financial assistance to those people who are either injured or battling an illness/disease:

A. Delhi Arogya Kosh:

Delhi Arogya Kosh (DAK) is a scheme which provides financial assistance to the extent of Rs. 5 lakhs to needy eligible patients for treatment of any illness/disease in a Government Hospital and for any illness/treatment/intervention required by the patient undergoing treatment in a Government Hospital run by Delhi Government/Central Government/Local Bodies/Autonomous Hospital under State Government.

          Eligibility Criteria

      Patients with annual family income up to Rs 3 lacs are eligible.

    The patient should be a bona fide resident of Delhi for the last three years (prior to the date of submission of the application)

 The patient requiring treatment for any illness/ treatment/ intervention in a Government Hospital run by Delhi Govt. /Central Govt. /AIIMS /Autonomous Institutes of the State Govt. /Local Bodies.

B. Comprehensive Health Insurance Scheme (Tamil Nadu)

This Tamil Nadu Scheme provides quality health care to the eligible person through and empanelled government and private hospitals and to reduce the financial hardship to the enrolled families and move towards universal health coverage by effectively linking with public health system. The scheme seeks to provide cashless hospitalization specific ailments/procedures the scheme provides coverage upto ₹5,00,000/- per family, per year on a floater basis for the ailments and procedures covered under the scheme. 

C. Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MJPJAY) (Maharashtra)

This flagship health insurance scheme of Maharashtra Govt. provides end to end cashless services for identified diseases through a network of service providers from Government and Private sector. Earlier was known as Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayee Arogya Yojana (RGJAY) it was renamed as Mahatma Jyotirao Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MJPJAY) from 1st April 2017. it covers beneficiaries under three categories below:

Category A: Families holding Yellow ration card, Antyodaya Anna Yojana ration card (AAY), Annapurna ration card, Orange ration card (annual income up to INR 1 lakh) issued by Civil Supplies Department, Government of Maharashtra for 36 districts of Maharashtra.

Category B: White ration card holder farmer families from 14 agriculturally distressed districts of Maharashtra (Aurangabad, Jalna, Beed, Parbhani, Hingoli, Latur, Nanded, Osmanabad, Amravati, Akola, Buldhana, Washim, Yavatmal, and Wardha).

Category C:  

1. Children of Government Orphanages, Students of Government Ashram Shala, female inmates of Government Mahila Ashram & senior citizens of Government old age homes. 

2. Journalists & their dependent family members approved by DGIPR. 

3. Construction workers and their families having live registration with Maharashtra Building & other Construction worker Welfare Board.

    Health Insurance Plans by Insurance Companies

Most private insurance companies provide insurance cover to people with disabilities, but not all 21 types of disabilities given under the Schedule of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 are covered by them. For instance- 

A. Star Health Insurance has only one disability specific insurance plan called “Star Special Care”, which covers people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the age bracket of 3 to 25 years.

B. HDFC’s health insurance plans only cover people with acquired disabilities i.e. those who became disabled due to an accident or illness and excludes persons with congenital disabilities i.e. those who are disabled since birth.

C. Tata AIG’s Corporate Health Insurance also covers permanant and partial disabilities due to accidents under their Group Personal Accident Plan. However, their Individual focused health insurance plan doesn’t cover people with disabilities.

Actual State of Health Insurance for the Disabled in India

The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has issued an advisory in 2016 and it reiterated its advisory on 02 June 2020 to  provide equitable insurance covers to persons with disabilities and other vulnerable groups, there has not been much change in the status quo and onground situation continues to be challenging.

Judicial Interventions in the matter of Health Insurance for the Disabled in India

From the above schemes of Central and State Governments and the private health insurance companies, one may feel that adequate coverage has been given to persons with disabilities. But is it really the case? Let’s take a look at the judicial interventions on various issues pertaining to health insurance of the people with disabilities.

A. In 2009, a public interest litigation was filed by an employee of postal department in the Delhi High Court, on the grounds that the postal life insurance was giving a cover of only ₹1 lakh to the persons with disabilities against ₹5 lakhs for the non-disabled employees. Further, an extra premium was being charged from the persons with disabilities. The Delhi High Court in a milestone judgement, directed the postal life insurance to provide equal insurance coverage and not charge extra premium from the employees with disabilities.

B In 2016, Jai Prakash Tayal, holding a Mediclaim policy had filed a suit against United India Insurance Company Ltd. seeking payment of ₹5 lakh spent on his treatment while the Insurance firm had denied Mediclaim saying “genetic disease is not payable as per policy genetic exclusion clauses". The Delhi High Court ordered the IRDAI to re-look at the Exclusionary clauses in insurance contracts and ensure that insurance companies do not reject claims on the basis of exclusions relating to genetic disorders. It also upheld the judgement of the Trial Court, which stated that a person, suffering from a genetic disorder, needs medical insurance as much as others. 

C. In the case of Saurabh Shukla, an investment professional who has tetraplegia and uses a wheelchair, applied for health insurance and was denied the same by companies Max Bupa Health Insurance Co. Ltd. and Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd. on the grounds of his disability and other medical conditions being high risk. Mr. Shukla approached the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, who then communicated this matter with the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) directing them to advise the insurance companies to initiate the policies for persons with disabilities. In response, the IRDAI stated that the mechanism to provide health insurance covering existing disability already exists, but they didn’t give a specific reply to Mr. Shukla. Aggrieved by the response of the Insurance Regulator, Mr. Shukla approached the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi, to seek quashing of the rejection of his health insurance application by the insurance companies and he also sought the direction of the Court to the insurance companies to issue a health insurance policy to him. In its defence, IRDAI referred to Regulation 8 (c) of the IRDAI Regulations 2016, which clearly states that the denial of health insurance coverage shall be the last resort of the insurer.   

D. The Delhi High Court, in its judgement dated 13 December 2022, has categorically observed that the right to life includes the right to health. It has directed the insurance regulator to organise a meeting of all insurance companies to design health insurance schemes for people with disabilities and introduce them preferably within two months. The court also asked the IRDAI to immediately modify the terminology "substandard lives" in their regulations to ensure that such "unacceptable terminology" is not used while referring to persons with disabilities, and it also permitted Mr. Shukla to approach both the insurance companies once again, and the two companies shall consider his case for issuing a health insurance policy and the question of extending insurance to Mr. Shukla shall be reviewed. It also directed that the proposal shall be placed on record before the next hearing. The Court has also directed both IRDAI and the insurance companies to file a status report two weeks before the next date of hearing i.e. 17th March 2023.

What Needs To Be Done?

Mr. Thakur Dutt Dhariyal, who was the longest-serving Deputy Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities for Govt. of India till 2014 and has also served as the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Govt. of NCT of Delhi for three years, praised the Delhi High Court judgement in Saurabh Shukla's case while also pointing out the need for an in-depth study and examination of the economic viability of providing health insurance to persons with disabilities. According to him, “It [Mr. Saurabh Shukla vs Max Bupa Insurance Co. Ltd. and Ors.] is a good judgement. It upheld the UNCRPD and RPWD Act regarding health insurance for people with disabilities. As far as health insurance premium is concerned, a greater and deeper study is needed to examine the economic viability of providing health insurance to people with disabilities. In cases where persons with disabilities require frequent hospitalisation, the insurance companies should have the evidence before denying their claim to the insurance.”  

It is hoped that on March 17, 2023, the date of next hearing of the High Court in this matter, IRDAI and the insurance companies would be able to submit a proposal of a health insurance policy for people with disabilities that doesn't discriminate on the basis of etiology of their disabilities i.e. whether acquired or congenital.

- The author is a student of Master of Social Work (Disability Studies & Action) at Tata Institute of Social Sciences Mumbai and currently interning at CABE Foundation. The article has been edited by the leadership at CABE Foundation.

Friday, December 09, 2022

Manak Manthan on 14 Dec 2022 - Invitation to comment on IS 15330 - Minimum Requirements for Safe and Independent Access & Use of Lifts by Persons with Disabilities

Creative of the Manak Manthan Event on 14 Dec 2022
Manak Manthan on WC draft IS 15330
Delhi Branch Office-II, Bureau of Indian Standard is organizing Manak Manthan on Wide circulation draft of IS 15330 : Requirements of Lifts for Persons with Disabilities (Second Revision). This standard specifies the minimum requirements for the safe and independent access and use of lifts by persons, including persons with disabilities. Requirements specified in this standard are in addition to those specified in IS 17900 (Part 1) (under print) as applicable. This revision has been undertaken to align the requirements of the existing IS 15330 with the ‘Harmonized Guidelines & Standards for Universal Accessibility in India 2021’ published by the National Institute of Urban Affairs (Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India).

The main focus of this interactive programme will be the discussions of various requirements and changes that are being brought into the standard and exchange of ideas on this draft in  wide circulation. The outcome of the discussions will be shared with the technical committee for further action.

Date and Venue of the Program (Hybrid Mode)

Date: 14 Dec 2022    Time: 10.30 AM

Venue:  Lal C Verman Hall, Manak Bhawan, BIS Headquarters, New Delhi-110002 

Virtual Meeting link : Webex  

Relevant Documents

1. Wide Circulation Draft of IS 15330 : Requirements for Lifts for Persons with Disabilities

2. Harmonized Guidelines & Standards for Universal Accessibility in India 2021 

We encourage you to join in this nation building activity.

About BIS

Bureau of Indian Standars (BIS), as the national standards body, has been formulating Indian Standards catering to the needs of various stakeholders in terms of quality and technological advancements. The standards are finalized through a consensus approach and the collective wisdom of the members of the Technical Committees. 

In order to ensure faster and easier implementation of these standards, BIS has taken the initiative of conducting a Manak Manthan meeting through which the stakeholders can directly discuss and comment on the standards which have been recently formulated or are at advanced stages of finalization. The Manak Manthan serves as a platform for identifying challenges and suggesting comments for improvement of standards and the feedback is made available to the concerned technical committee for addressing them suitably.

Friday, June 17, 2022

Tactile Pavers must be reliable and standardized across built environment - CABE Foundation intervenes in a pedestrian sidewalk project in Delhi


“We live in a society that extols mobility, autonomy and freedom.”

~ Steven Mintz

Have you wondered how a person with a visual disability commutes from point A to point B?  A lot of planning and inquiry goes into commuting, things that a person with a visual disability may take into consideration in terms of accessibility are: 

  1. Does the traffic light have a beeper for me to understand whether I can cross the road or not? 

  2. Are the sidewalks clear, safe and have proper Kerbs? 

  3. Do the sidewalks have tactile pavers or TGSIs?

In this article, we provide an overview of Tactile Ground Surface Indicators (TGSIs) and how the CABE Foundation recently identified and highlighted incorrect laying of TGSIs in one of the stretches being developed by a contractor in the Delhi Cantonment Board area and facilitated modifications in the same. 

TGSIs have a specific function and impart specific information about the immediate surroundings. TGSIs act as, and are interpreted as landmarks. The two types of Tactile pavers that we use in India are warning indicators and directional indicators.

  • Tactile Warning Indicators (Dottype)/ Tactile Warning Blocks. Warning indicators, as the name suggests, warn of either a hazard or a destination. 

  • Tactile Guiding Indicators (Linetype)/ Tactile Guiding Blocks Tactile guiding or directional indicators are used to direct the user from one point to another along a safe path of travel. 

Tactile paving should be used on access routes to provide warning and guidance to people with visual difficulties. The need for TGSI’s is critical and requires to be laid out with a holistic integration with built environments. Partial and incorrect laying of TGSI’s may cause inconvenience and may be hazardous for persons with visual impairments. 

TGSI’s should be well integrated and appropriately placed into external and internal spaces right from the inception stage of a built environment. It is recommended to make TGSI’s part of the access route plan. In essence, a clear continuous accessible path of travel is one that provides a dedicated pedestrian space which is free from barriers, hazards or obstructions read more here 

On the 9th of June, CABE Foundation identified that the tactile pavements of the Delhi cantonment area are not placed as per the Harmonised Guidelines under the RPWD Act 2016. It was noticed by the team that the pavements were aligned very close to the edge whereas they need to be placed in the middle of the sidewalk for ease of access and to avoid any hazardous accidents.

“Obstacles such as lighting columns, bollards, signposts, seats and trees, should be located at or beyond the boundaries of walkways. Where unavoidable, protruding objects should not reduce the clear width of an accessible route or maneuvering space.”
~ Article 5.1.4., Harmonised Guidelines and space standards for barrier free built environments for persons with disability and elderly persons. 

Quick Intervention

As the above was brought to notice of the Court of the State Commissioner of Persons with Disability, NCT of Delhi. On SCPD’s intervention basis CABE Foundation’s intimation – a quick intervention  was undertaken by the CEO Delhi Cantonment Board within a week’s time to rectify the ongoing project of sidewalks development within a week’s time,


The whole process also highlighted that there are still many areas for improvement as all the other pavements in the cantonment have been constructed in a similar manner. 


Standards need to be kept in mind from the design stage itself to avoid future costs of time and efforts. In addition, it is essential that training of all the stakeholders i.e. the Management, Engineers, Contractors and their staff  need to be ensured before undertaking the implementation of accessibility initiatives.

CABE Foundation strongly believes in standardising the accessibility of built environments in all sectors. We provide accessibility training as well to strive for an end-to-end impact. If you come across such instances, feel free to reach out to us. You can get in touch with us if you need handholding in implementing accessibilty iniatiatives in your institution.