D.N.I.S. News Network, India: After more than a year of persistent lobbying, N.A.S.S.C.O.M. finally formed its Disability Advisory Group. The first meeting was held on February 1 in New Delhi, where the objectives of the Group were laid down. It was decided that the three core areas that the Group would work in would be Accessibility including physical and I.C.T. accessibility, Employbility and Assistive Technology.
However, members expressed concerns about the lack of representation in the Group from the corporates. Concerns were also raised about the overlapping roles of the Disability Advisory Group and the Sub - Committee on Disability of N.A.S.S.C.O.M.s Diversity Forum.
The representation of the corporates is necessary for any objectives to be fulfilled, said Javed Abidi, Honorary Director, National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.) and member of the Group.
Another member, Shanti Raghavan, Founder and Managing Trustee, EnAble India expressed apprehensions on objectives becoming part of Corporate Social Responsibility (C.S.R.) initiatives of member companies.
If disability issues are not part of mainstream N.A.S.S.C.O.M. events, companies do not take them very seriously, Raghavan said.
Som Mittal, President, N.A.S.S.C.O.M., clarified that the role of the Advisory Group would be to provide thought leadership while the Sub - Committee of the Diversity Forum would be the implementing body.
Pradeep Gupta, Chairman, Cyber Media India Ltd. and the Chairer of the Advisory Group laid down the goals for the next 90 days. It was decided to circulate three advisories on disability issues, one on the Access Guidelines prepared by N.C.P.E.D.P. and AccessAbility, second on the issue of Web Access, and third on case studies of previous N.C.P.E.D.P. Shell Helen Keller Award winners among N.A.S.S.C.O.M. member companies.
The next meeting of the Disability Advisory Group will be held in March.