India's general election most historic and 'inclusive'poll: UN

India's recently-concluded general election was the most historic and "inclusive" poll as it ensured that every person exercise their right to vote, including those with disabilities, an annual UN conference was told.Addressing the conference here on Tuesday, Secretary in the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment Shakuntala Doley Gamlin said India underlined its commitment to providing an enabling environment for differently-abled citizens.

"India remains firmly committed to providing a universal enabling environment for persons with disabilities to fulfil their rights equally with others and realise their full potential and in creating a fully inclusive country where all enjoy equal rights," she said."India just recently concluded the most historic, inclusive general election wherein a wide a range of facilities were provided to make the polling stations more inclusive and accessible to ensure that all can exercise their right to vote," Gamlin said.

The 2019 Indian general election was held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19. The poll results were declared on May 23.Gamlin said the facilities included obstacle-free access to voting compartment, accessible toilets, separate entry and exit, braille ballot guide, braille embossed electronic voting machines and voter slips, wheelchairs as well as free local public transport facility and priority entry to polling stations.Improving mobility of persons with disabilities has been a continuous endeavour of the Indian government, she said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the 'Accessible India Campaign' for achieving universal accessibility through creation of barrier-free environment, she said.A comprehensive rehabilitation service through an early intervention programme for children with disabilities in the age group of 0-6 years is underway, Gamlin said.

National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation and a Centre for Disability Sports are also being established to address the issues pertaining to psychosocial disabilities and for promotion of sports amongst disabled sportspersons, she said.In another significant measure to benefit persons with disabilities, the Indian government has undertaken implementation of Unique Disability ID project that entails creation of a national database and ensures issuance of the unique ID card to every person with disability, she said.The Indian government is also implementing schemes for providing contemporary modern aids and assisting devices to persons with disabilities.

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