As India catapults towards a digital economy, it is a must that ICT is made accessible to the disabled. Around 8-10% of India’s population lives with disabilities, with an equal number constituting the aged. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have the potential to significantly impact the lives of these groups, facilitating access of services available to them and allowing them to handle a wide range of activities independently, enhancing their social, cultural, political and economic participation.
- Making ICT accessible no longer remains an option but has become a necessity.
- Poor accessibility, due to lack of focused information and political will has led to the social exclusion of people with disabilities, exacerbating the negative impact of the existing digital divide.
- The new call for action of disability rights activists now is “Cause No Harm”, thus ensuring future generations are not excluded from mainstream activities due to a hostile infrastructure.
- This assumes a greater thrust given the unprecedented developmental activity in the country under the various missions launched by the present government, such as the Smart Cities Mission and Digital India. Accessibility for disabled people is a cross-cutting theme across all of these and care must be taken to ensure disability-inclusive development.
Source: The Hindu