After Swachh Bharat, Modi government, will soon launch “Accessible India” the next sweeping initiative over the next five years as India has 2.2 crore people with disabilities, or 2.13% of the population which make the country disabled-friendly.
- For starters, the government is working to introduce set-top boxes that will make TV programmes more useful for the visually impaired.
- Officials from the Department of Disability Affairs have met manufacturers of set-top boxes to discuss introduction of a button on the set-top box and remote control that will convert text on the TV screen to voice.
- At present, there is no such set-top box in India. A prototype was found in the UK market.
- The feature includes video descriptions, which are narrations of a television show’s key visual elements, a feature found in some programmes in the US, UK and European countries.
- Another part of making television more disabled-friendly is the introduction of sign language in at least 25% of the programmes
- The Department of Disability Affairs is also introducing other initiatives in the Accessible India programme, including conversion of content on government websites through screen reader programmes for the visually impaired and the introduction of a mobile app to provide information on disabled-friendly public utilities in a city.
- The app is likely to be unveiled as early as next month. It would map facilities such as ATMs, banks, malls, toilets and provide user-generated ratings of how disabled-friendly they are.
- The government is also laying emphasis on making all public buildings disabled-friendly. To start with, the department has identified auditors and selected parameters for an audit of 100 government buildings
- All ministry and department websites are being examined to see how their content can be converted through a screen reader programme from text to speech mode and it will be done within this financial year.