The 8th NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Awards 2017 winners announced

Corporates and Entrepreneurs would do well to think in terms of making their products accessible to India’s 70-100 million persons with disabilities. Because one of the biggest challenges faced by people with disabilities is accessibility.

Accessibility not only means access to physical spaces but also means access to information, technology, transport, services, aids, appliances and so on. Access, therefore, is an issue that cuts across disabilities and sectors and forms the very basis of empowerment of people with disabilities.

Over the years, Accessibility has come to occupy the most identifiable cause that has unified the global approach towards disability – across social, political and economic lives of people with disabilities.

“Accessibility is the bedrock of a disabled person’s empowerment. Without basic accessibility, a disabled boy or a girl can’t even go to school and disabled youth can’t attend college or university. Even if educated or skilled, a job remains a far fetched dream unless the workforce is barrier free and one can reach there in terms of transportation, etc. No access means no freedom as far as we are concerned,” said Javed Abidi, the Honorary Director of NCPEDP who himself is also a wheelchair user.

One key concept which is intrinsic to any kind of access is Universal Design, a design that is usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of age, ability, or situation. Therefore, to bring awareness to the issue of accessibility and to promote the concept of Universal Design, NCPEDP in association with Mphasis constituted ‘The NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Awards’ in the year 2010 to honour individuals and organizations doing exemplary work in the area of accessibility for persons with disabilities.

“Our journey towards making India accessible is positively witnessing early success; be it individuals striving to make beaches in Valsad accessible or museums in Jaipur.  We at Mphasis are really proud and happy to see this award as a beacon for institutions, professionals and individuals with disabilities across the length and breadth of the country.  Over ninety applications this year is a testimony to the success of this award that is in its 8th year now”  said Dr. Meenu Bhambhani, VP & Head-Corporate Social Responsibility, Mphasis.

This year 90+ applications were received from across the country.

Awards were announced in three categories.

  1. Category A: Persons with Disabilities

Awards in this category are given to people with disabilities who have created an impact in accessibility – either in service provision, ICT, policy framework, grass-root level implementation, design and development, access audits, or even the rights movement/ advocacy.

The winners in this category are:

  1. Aqil Chinoy, CEO, INSPIRALIVE (Mumbai, Maharashtra)

Founder of ‘Inspiralive’, a website development firm which employs professionals of various fields. Being deaf himself, he has developed the ISL Dictionary website where the vocabulary is translated into Indian Sign Language. Aqil has actively been involved in advocating for the “Rights of Persons with Disabilities” by organizing various nationwide conferences and exhibition under the banner of “India Deaf Expo”. His mission is to ensure that deaf youth are given proper access to Education, which is the root for their better future.

  1. Dr. Homiyar Mobedji, Country Representative, Benetech India (Ahmedabad, Gujarat)

Country Representative and Disability Expert for Benetech India, he travels all across the globe as capacity builder and trainer. After working with the government to convert national and state curriculum as well as literature and text books from various publishers, Mobedji has successfully turned 10,000 published content accessible for students and adults with print disability. He is closely associated in various capacities with organizations to promote design, accessibility and awareness of the needs and concerns of the visually challenged.

  1. Suvarna Raj, Project Officer, Association for Disabled People (New Delhi, NCR)

Suvarna is involved in various Access Audits of public buildings and places under the Accessible India Campaign. From Delhi Metro, Public Washrooms to Post Offices and Hospitals, she relentlessly advocates for the right to access public spaces. As a National Award Winner, Suvarna is a vital role model to the youth of our nation. A para table tennis athlete, she has started her own advocacy group of women with disabilities.

  1. Vivek Mehta, Founder and CEO of Deaf Easy (Panchkula, Haryana)

Started as a project DeafEasy is the first ever Artificial Intelligence to serve the deaf and hard of hearing globally. It listens to sounds that matter and alerts the user trough vibrations. The app helps in creating an independent living environment for the deaf community. Vivek’s conscientious effort in the domain of accessibility is exemplary, making him a role model to the deaf of India and world.

  1. Category B: Working Professionals

Awards in this category are given to people who work for the cause of accessibility. She/ he may be an employee of an education institute/ NGO/ corporate/ government body that has taken up the cause, or may be a consultant or freelancer who has devoted her/ his time for the cause.

The winners in this category are

  1. Hemang Mistry, Proprietor, PMA Design Studio (Valsad, Gujarat)

Hemang is a passionate advocate of various social causes besides his professional practice. With sheer perseverance, he made this project a reality and created the first accessible and inclusive beach in India. Tithal seafront is an initiative to provide a public space for the local people with disability, to have an opportunity to explore public spaces.  He continues to pursue eco-friendly designs which are more sustainable towards handling accessibility issues for people with disabilities.

  1. P. Narahari, District Magistrate & Collector Indore, Govt. of M.P. (Indore, Madhya Pradesh)

Under his leadership as the Collector and District Magistrate, the District Administration Indore has implemented noteworthy work in creating barrier free environment. With a meticulously organized plan, P. Narahari modified 2000 public domain buildings within a period of one year. In addition to the modification, several workshops to create awareness on the importance of barrier free environment have taken place to sensitize fellow citizens. With a goal to create 100% accessible public space, his project not only conducts access audits to verify the construction but also provides certification with accessible signage.

  1. Dr. Ramesh C. Gaur, University Librarian, Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi, NCR)

As the Head of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Central Library JNU and Archives on Contemporary History and other JNU Archives, Dr. Gaur works to provide an inclusive environment to faculty, staff and students with various disabilities. In the last 5 years, he has created and strengthened a good and essential infrastructure at JNU for persons with disabilities especially visual impairment. Through his constant effort, each and every student/researcher with print disability is provided with a laptop and digital voice recorder.

  1. Siddhant Chetan Shah, Founder and Access Consultant, Access for ALL (Mumbai, Maharashtra

Siddhant is a heritage architect and Accessibility Consultant who specializes in bridging the gap between cultural heritage and disability, through his organization AcessforALL. A Stavros Nairchos Scholar, he is always trying to push the boundaries of physical, intellectual and social access in spaces like museums, art galleries, monuments and other sites of cultural significance. Shah is associated with the City Palace Museum in Jaipur as an Access Consultant. Currently, he is designing an educational interactive Braille Tactile model for UNESCO World Heritage Site of Jantar Mantar in Jaipur.

  1. Category C: Companies/ Organisations

Awards in this category will be given to those companies or organisations who have taken up the cause of accessibility, which has led to them recruiting or serving people with disabilities and providing them equal opportunities to participate to the best of their abilities.

  1. GingerMind Technologies (Bengaluru, Karnataka)

Run by 4 passionate people, this app is used by 7000+ users with visual impairment across 140+ countries. Available in 11+ foreign languages, GingerMind has been nominated for Google Play Awards 2017 in the best accessibility experience category. Their apps contribute in independent living, for people with visual impairment by helping them locate and navigate through places of interest. Their applications, ‘Eye-D and Eye-d Pro’ are enablers and have helped several users to overcome small and large barrier encountered by them in their daily lives.

  1. Hear2Read (Varanasi, UP)

Hear2Read is an open Text To Speech (TTS) software for Indian languages to help bridge the digital divide for blind and low vision Indian language speakers. Hear2Read Team primarily consists of volunteers and receives support from various prestigious institutions such as IIT-D, Sriranga Digital Software and Carnegie Mellon. At present, the software is available in 8 regional languages: Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil and Telugu. The application assists in increasing mobility and reducing dependability for the visually impaired.

  1. Intuit India (Bengaluru, Karnataka)

Intuit produces accounting and tax preparation software, which are gaining popularity due to their excellent accessibility. Committed to promote inclusive employment for their firm, Intuit India not only provides sensitization sessions for the employees but also designs several initiatives for employees with kids with disabilities. Their outstanding efforts to create a barrier free community have made them a vital example in their field.

  1. UMOJA (Mumbai, Maharashtra)

UMOJA is India’s first and largest online travel portal built specifically to enable accessible travel for people with disabilities. They provide dependable and detailed travel information, which in turn helps people with disabilities to make travel arrangements with ease and confidence. With over 370 hotels across 5 major chains partnering with UMOJA, they have become key players in the field of accessible tourism. Headquartered in India, UMOJA is a global solution, and has already begun operations in the UK.

Access symbolizes the true spirit of freedom as far as persons with disabilities are concerned. These Awards are therefore given away on 14th August, the eve of India’s Independence Day.


National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) is a non-profit voluntary organisation, registered in 1996, working as an interface between Government, Industry, International Agencies and Voluntary Sector towards empowerment of persons with disabilities. In the past 21 years, NCPEDP has established itself as a leading cross-disability organisation. NCPEDP pioneered the concept of cross-disability in India, and formed the National Disability Network (NDN) in 1999 which has members from every State and Union Territory across the country. Since inception NCPEDP has successfully advocated several policy changes that have positively impacted lives of people with disabilities working across to encourage employment of disabled people, increase public awareness on the issue of disability, empower disabled people with knowledge, information and opportunities and ensure easy and convenient access to all public places, products, services and technologies. NCPEDP works on six core principles, also called the six pillars of the organization, namely: 1) Education; 2) Employment; 3) Accessibility; 4) Legislation/Policy; 5) Awareness/Communication, and 6) Youth. For more information, please visit

About Mphasis:

Mphasis enables customers to reimagine their digital future by applying a unique formula of integrated cloud and cognitive technology. Mphasis X2C2 TM formula for success, (shift anything to cloud and power everything with cognitive), drives five dimensions of business value with an integrated consumer-centric Front to Back Digital Transformation, enabling Business Operations and Technology Transformation. Mphasis applies advancements in cognitive and cloud to traditional application and infrastructure services to bring much needed efficiency and cost effectiveness. Mphasis’ core reference architectures and tools, combined with domain expertise and hyper specialization are the foundation for building strong relationships with marquee customers. For more information, please visit