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BW Businessworld

Inclusivity And Sustainability In Modern Organizations

Why the industry needs to take steps to ensure the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workplace

Photo Credit : https://karendworaczyk.files.wordpress.com/

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Having adopted practices to ensure inclusivity and accessibility for persons with disabilities since an early stage, Candor TechSpace has cemented its position in the market as a provider of futuristic infrastructure with its IT/ITES office spaces that meet the needs of diverse groups of people. Candor TechSpace hosted a special conference to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities in New Delhi, on 28th November 2018. The event featured a panel discussion on the topic ‘Transformation towards Sustainable and Resilient Society for All’, which saw specially-abled achievers from various walks of life engage in a stimulating conversation on the role of infrastructure in facilitating the inclusion of people with disabilities and sensitizing the masses on the need for the same. The event hosted a few specially-abled achievers from across various domains, along with a number of CEOs and top corporate executives.

The event began with a panel discussion on the topic ‘Transformation towards Sustainable and Resilient Society for All’, wherein the keynote address was given by Mr. Anurag Batra, “I would like to praise Candor TechSpace for organizing such gathering to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of development and society. This initiative will help increase awareness about persons with disabilities, their situation and their means to survive in cultural, economic, social and political life. On this day, awareness should be spread across the organizations and individuals on how a person and organization can get involved in breaking down attitudinal and structural barriers for people with disability”. Further, the speakers shared some extraordinary stories from their lives and their experiences of continually challenging the stereotypes associated with disability and their remarkable achievements in life. Among the panelists at the event was Ira Singhal, the first differently-abled woman to top the Civil Services exam in the general category. She is also the first physically challenged person to join the Indian Revenue Services. Internationally renowned table tennis player Suvarna Raj, who participated in the Asian Para Games 2014 in Korea and won two medals in the Thailand Para Table Tennis Open 2013, Dorodi Sharma Former Disability Rights Specialist, United Nations, Monitoring, Evaluation, Accountability and Learning Officer (MEAL Officer), International Disability Alliance, Nipun Malhotra - Co-founder and CEO, Nipman Foundation (A Foundation for health and advocacy for persons with disabilities)  and Mr Vittalkumar A Dage - VP, Sustainability, Accenture Workplace solution was also a part of the panel.

Speaking on the event, Mr. Shantanu Chakraborty – Head of Business Development, Brookfield India Office Parks said, “At Candor TechSpace, we have consistently worked towards promoting a culture of inclusivity. We firmly believe that differently-abled people have the ability to excel in any field irrespective of their physical constraints. The event is just one among many of our efforts to support differently-abled individuals and celebrate their remarkable achievements across various domains. As an organization, we also believe in practicing what we preach. To this end, the infrastructure at Candor TechSpace has been designed with a strong emphasis on inclusivity and accessibility, as the office spaces are equipped with wheelchair parking areas, access ramps at entrances and specially built washrooms. To further our commitment to this cause, we have embarked on a program to make our campuses including existing buildings compliant with Harmonious guidelines in the future.”

Ms. Ira Singhal said during the panel discussion, “I believe that disability is more a mental state rather than a physical one. When we speak of equal opportunities for people with disabilities, we also need to consider the environment and the infrastructure around us, which for the most part, is not disabled-friendly and constricts them greatly. We have a habit of judging people’s capabilities solely based on their physical attributes, and it’s a habit we need to get rid of soon. Unless you don’t create an infrastructure that is easily accessible to everyone, you are not allowing them to realize their full potential. When the infrastructure is made in a way that allows everyone equal access, they will be ‘able’ enough to pursue their goals, irrespective of their physical disabilities.”

Speaking on her experiences, Ms. Suvarna Raj said, “Accessibility in the physical infrastructure is extremely crucial to ensure a dignified life and opportunities for people with disabilities. It goes without saying that there is a need for basic infrastructure in the country such as schools, hospitals, commercial spaces, transportation, etc. to be more disabled-friendly. I believe that the government, as well as those who are responsible for delivering infrastructure,  need to incorporate the perspectives of differently-abled individuals by listening to their experiences, and keeping their interests in mind when taking major decisions related to infrastructure. The private sector is leading the charge for the cause of inclusivity in the industry and the government should look to collaborate with leading players in the infrastructure space to bring about change on a large scale.”

To further celebrate the extraordinary abilities of differently-abled people, the panel discussion was followed by a beautiful performance act by “We Are One”, a differently abled group consisting of wheelchair users and hearing & speech-impaired artists. The group has the unique distinction of having a “Guinness Book of World Record” under its belt.

Since the year 1992, the United Nations has sought to create greater awareness on issues pertaining to the differently-abled on a global scale by observing December 3 as International Day of Persons with Disabilities. For the past two and a half decades, the day has come to be regarded across the world as a chance to promote causes like inclusivity for persons with disabilities in the mainstream, protection of their rights and well-being, and ensuring a life of dignity for them. Each year, the International Day of Persons with Disabilities has a different theme to it. This year, it was ‘Empowering persons with disabilities and ensuring inclusiveness and equality’, chosen by the UN as an extension to some of the key goals from the list of 17 Sustainable Development Goals that are aimed at ensuring sustainable, equitable, inclusive growth. Some of these goals – which the United Nations targets achieving by the year 2030 – also focus on reducing the discrimination faced by persons with disabilities, providing them equal access across all spheres of society, and helping their voices to be heard.