Union Cabinet approves National Policy on Universal Electronic Accessibility
The Union Cabinet 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).
How would the National Policy on Universal Electronic Accessibility help?
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. The policy would benefit differently-abled persons all over the country.
What are strategies envisaged for the implementation of 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.
The National Policy on Universal Electronic Accessibility is in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) which India ratified in 2007. UNCRPD, 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 nations who are signatories to UNCRPD have legislation policy or a framework to ensure equality for those with disability. Electronics and ICTs are key facilitators in extenuating hindrances faced by differently-abled persons and in helping them to provide better opportunities for livelihood.