The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) launched a unique and first of its kind, India Business Disability Network (IBDN) at the National Conference on ‘Mainstreaming Inclusivity & Accessibility – Enabling Industry’ in Delhi on 21st January 2019.
The IBDN, being set-up in partnership with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the Employers’ Federation of India (EFI), is a National Business Disability Network that promotes and facilitates an inclusive, accessible and a barrier-free workplace within the corporate sector. IBDN is a one stop solution to share learnings & best practices, create context-based solutions, facilitate partnerships, facilitate inclusion, and create & dissemination knowledge. Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Accenture have signed up as Founding Members of the network.
IBDN will bring together industry think tanks, policymakers, PwD Community representatives and organizations for knowledge creation & dissemination, advocacy & dialogue, and facilitation of partnerships & services. The launch of IBDN was supported by GIZ.
Speaking at the launch and inaugural session of the National Conference, Kamlesh Kumar Pandey, Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD), Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India said inclusion of PwDs at workplace has moved from charity to rights-based approach. Government has been taking numerous initiatives and campaigns like Accessible India and strengthened the Rights to Persons with Disability Act 2016 to enhance accessibility.
Pankajam Sridevi, Co-chair, CII National Committee on Special Abilities 2018- 19 and MD, ANZ Banking Group on behalf of industry champions committed to influence more companies to become inclusive and join their league.
Dagmar Walter, Director, Decent Work Team for South Asia and Country Office for India, ILO highlighted that hiring PwDs is not just the right thing to do, but makes a good business sense. She stressed upon the benefits of hiring PwDs including access to untapped talent, increase in innovative practices & models, improved retention and better brand reputation among all including PwDs consumer base.
The National Conference was held with the objective of creating a learning platform for organisations to engage and include PwDs within their ecosystems; understanding the skilling requirements, gaps & technology solutions to bring in inclusion; and proposing policy recommendations on mainstreaming inclusion. The discussions were focused on effectively addressing barriers, sharing experiences, good practices and accessibility & employability solutions for inclusion of PwDs at workplace.
Some of the key ingredients for successful inclusion and mainstreaming of PwDs, highlighted in the conference include ensuring equal treatment for all, training & sensitisation of all employees including PwDs, developing and encouraging a peer group for employees with special abilities, mapping job role & career path for PwDs and building partnerships to facilitate inclusion.
Some of the good practices towards driving the inclusion agenda were shared by senior industry leaders from ANZ Banking Group, Allegis, RBS, Vindhya E Infotech, Barrier Break, TCS, PwC, IBM, Lemon Tree Hotels, Accenture, GIZ, Minda Group and Future Retail. The event also saw participation of civil society leaders from Enable India, Barrier Break, Sasakawa India Leprosy Foundation (S-ILF), V-shesh, Skill Council for Persons with Disability (SCPwD).
The conference was attended by Government and corporate sector representatives, NGOs, and inclusion, diversity and technology experts.