By: Nikhila Henry
Telangana will soon be the first State in the country to make its IT and ITES buildings differently abled-friendly.
In a first-of-its-kind initiative undertaken by the NASSCOM Foundation, 175 companies based out of two IT parks in Hyderabad will go for retrofitting their buildings to suit the needs of differently abled employees.
This would mean that companies will have common areas including cafeterias, restrooms, cubicles and elevators with facilities to aid their current and prospective employees who are differently-abled. From entry and exit gates that have ramps to placing biometric devices at accessible heights and washrooms that have handles for wheelchair-bound people, retrofitting is expected to ensure inclusive work environments. Also, efforts are on to make websites of these companies accessible to such persons by including voice features among others.
In this direction, the NASSCOM Foundation is already conducting accessibility audits in the parks at Madhapur and Nanakramguda where companies including Wipro, Accenture, Oracle, Microsoft, L&T Infotech, HCL, TCS, Deloitte, CA Technologies and Cyient are based. While the Foundation has entered into talks with other States, Telangana is the first to implement the audit and accessibility surveys, officials confirmed.
While around 25 companies have already been audited, 100 more are to undertake internal audits in the coming year. Officials at the NASSCOM Foundation said the first of the multistage process was expected to be completed in one year.
The process is expected to increase the percentage of differently abled employees in these companies within a span of five years. “In place of eight to nine companies that had pledged to hire such personnel three years ago, now there are 40 to 45 of them who are actively planning to hire persons with disability. Among these are prominent banks and IT companies,” said Rumi Mallick Mitra, vice-president of the NASSCOM Foundation.
Currently, on an average, differently-abled persons constitute just one per cent of the workforce in most companies in the sector.
Source: The Hindu