Government body examines why key ICT technology remains inaccessible to the disabled

India's telecom regulator TRAI has started a dialogues on making information and communication technology, ICT, accessible for the disabled. The aim is to make more policy interventions in this area.

Benefits of ICT not full realised for the disabled in India

TRAI, which stands for Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, has sought views on whether it should be made mandatory for makers of handsets to make at least one model for the disabled with assistive technology features such as hearing, visual aids and emergency buttons.

The TRAI has brought out a paper asking why benefits have not been reaching the disabled and the corrective measures that need to be undertaken. One of the aspects being looked into is whether information on billing and pricing needs to be given in a manner that is accessible to the disabled.

Disabled not able to access ICT services for lack of accessibility features or prices or unavailability

They are left out despite the fact that telecom and broadcasting services have become so widely used over the last 20 years.

TRAI said that the government, industry and civil society had come together to protect the right of persons with disabilities, and technological advancements had highlighted a variety of aids, assistive devices and services.

This means there have to be changes in changes in services or content for the disabled as well. The fact that this has not happened, means that the benefits of ICT have not reached people with disabilities.

The consultation paper of the TRAI aims to identify key areas that require policy intervention and understand the hurdles faced by the persons with disabilities in accessing telecom and broadcasting services.

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