Centre for Internet & Society

The adoption of accessible features and technologies by banks in India is low despite there being legislative and executive push for it. It is important for the banks to understand not just their obligations but also the benefits that will accrue to them if they follow the suggested guidelines.

Executive Summary

India is a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Peoples with Disability, and has an obligation to provide equal opportunities and facilities to everyone, irrespective of any disabilities they might suffer from. This is guaranteed in the right to equality and the right to life, which are enshrined in the Fundamental Rights in the Constitution of India. There are also specific Reserve Bank of India notifications that mandate banks offer banking facilities in a non-discriminatory manner to all customers. However, there are still many problems faced by people with disabilities when accessing banking and financial services in India. Many banks and ATMs aren’t physically accessible, the staff has no training or expertise in dealing with customers who have special needs, and despite the existence of the technology, ATMs are not equipped to be used by people with disabilities.

There are several guidelines which are in place internationally which can be referred to when formulating policy on banking and accessibility in India. These include guidelines on ATM construction and modification (USA) and guidelines on making websites accessible for people with disabilities (the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines), as well as voluntary standards that have been taken up by Banking Associations in countries like Australia and New Zealand in order to making banking more accessible to people with disabilities and the older population.

Currently the adoption of accessible features and technologies in banks in India is very low, despite there being a legislative as well as executive push for the same. Banks which do not follow these guidelines are not meeting their legal requirements, and it is important for them to understand not just their obligations, but also the benefits that will accrue to them if they follow the suggested guidelines. To that end, this report looks at the current notifications and guidelines that govern this area, the problems faced by people with disabilities, and looks at guidelines from other countries to suggest solutions that can be incorporated by different banks in India.

The full report can be accessed by clicking on the link below:

Banking and Accessibility Report [PDF, 555Kb]

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