Centre for Internet & Society

Article in Disability News and Information Service, 15 July 2009

D.N.I.S. News Network: National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (N.C.P.E.D.P.) in association with BarrierBreak Technologies has come up with a draft for a National Policy on Electronic Accessibility. The objective of the policy is to provide persons with disabilities equal access to electronic and information and communication technology and services. This policy expands on the United Nations Convention for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities which India has ratified.

Shilpi Kapoor, Managing Director, BarrierBreak Technologies says, “Technology today is there in all aspects of life. Using electronic and information and communication technology, we can bridge the barriers that exist for persons with disabilities. Such a policy needs to be applicable across different ministries and departments.”

The National Policy on Electronic Accessibility emphasizes the importance of creating awareness on accessibility and universal design and creating and implementing standards and guidelines. It also aims at promoting research and development in the area of universal design and assistive technology and independent living aids and schemes in the area of accessible electronic and information and communication technology.

The policy also emphasizes the importance of building capacity to ensure that accessible products and services can be developed in India.

Nirmita Narasimhan, Programme Manager, Centre for Internet and Society, feels positive about the draft. "Having a National Electronic Accessibility Policy would be an extremely positive move for India towards bridging the digital divide; it will serve as a leading example to other developing countries to take similar initiatives and create a truly inclusive and accessible world," she said.

The draft will be placed before N.C.P.E.D.P.’s Core Group on Communication and Information Technology in its meeting on July 23 and the National Committee on the Rights of People with Disabilities on July 24. Once the policy is approved at these two forums, it will be placed before the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology for their consideration.

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