Disability rights activists suggest rupee notes have specific shapes to enable blind people to identify easily

What will make it easy for blind and visually impaired people to identify currency notes? There are many suggestions being made by disability rights activists.

One of the suggestions is that the currency notes should be of different lengths and widths. Another is that the notes have simple symbols embossed on them for easy identification. This would be simpler than a separate device to recognise them, say associations representing the visually impaired.

The suggestions come after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said it would look into the feasibility of developing a device to help visually impaired people identify currency notes easily. The RBI said this in its bimonthly Monetary Policy Review.

The Reserve Bank is of the view that technological progress has opened up new vistas for making Indian banknotes more recognisable for the visually challenged, facilitating their day-to-day transactions - RBI Monetary Policy Review

The RBI has said it would issue the guidelines in six months.

Bhaskar Y Mehta, President, National Association for the Blind has suggested that notes be designed in such a way that the lengths, breadths and thickness reflect their value. This way a ₹10 note would be the smallest in size, while a ₹2,000 note would be the biggest.

Many say that Braille or embossing symbols on the currency notes is not seen as a good idea by many as the sense of touch weakens over time.

However, some activists believe that embossing or engraving symbols on the notes makes it faster to identify them. This is because there is no difference in the sizes in the ₹20 and ₹2,000 notes. The only difference is in colour, which a visually impaired person cannot see. On the other hand, everyone can understand a symbol.

Visually impaired people have always had problems in correctly identifying notes. However, the challenge has increased post demonetisation and with the new series of currency notes.

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