The Union Cabinet today approved the National Policy on Universal Electronic Accessibility that recognizes the need to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disabilities as well as to facilitate equal access to electronics and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs). This policy has been prepared after incorporating comments and suggestions from various stakeholders.
The policy will facilitate equal and unhindered access to electronics and ICTs products and services by differently abled persons (both physically and mentally challenged) and to facilitate local language support for the same. This shall be achieved through universal access to electronics and ICT products and services to synchronize with barrier free environment and preferably usable without adaptation. Differently abled persons all over the country will benefit from this policy.
The following strategies are envisaged for the implementation of the policy:
¢ Creating awareness on universal electronics accessibility and universal design.
¢ Capacity building and infrastructure development.
¢ Setting up of model electronics and ICTs centres for providing training and demonstration to special educators and physically as well as mentally challenged persons.
¢ Conducting research and development, use of innovation, ideas, technology etc. whether indigenous or outsourced from abroad.
¢ Developing programme and schemes with greater emphasis for differently abled women/children.
¢ Developing procurement guidelines for electronics and ICTs for accessibility and assistive needs.
India ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) in 2007 which, among other things, says that “State Parties shall take appropriate measures to ensure to persons with disabilities, access on an equal basis with others, to the physical environment, to transportation, to information and communications, including ICTs and systems and to other facilities and services open or provided to the public”.
Many countries who are signatories to UNCRPD have legislation policy or a framework to ensure equality for those with disability. Electronics and ICTs are key enablers in mitigating barriers faced by differently abled persons and in helping them to provide better opportunities for livelihood.