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Feedback sought on issues faced by visually impaired people while using PayTM

The growing number of complaints from visually impaired people regarding the inaccessibility of digital payments platform PayTM has highlighted the many accessibility issues in government and public service websites.

The issues faced range from inaccessible CAPTCHAs, pop ups, use of text as image, just to name a few. Issues that act as barriers for digital users with disabilities.

To put these together in a concrete manner, Chennai-based Disability Rights Alliance along with other groups, has come together to collate the issues faced by visually impaired people when it comes to using PayTM. This will be used for other sites as well, going forward.

This can only happen successfully if a large number of affected people participate and the groups have requested that this form in the link - www.bit.ly/want2report-form - be filled out within seven days.

"The fact is that accessibility makes life better for many people", points out disability rights activist Vaishnavi Jayakumar."Making sites usable is one of the most effective ways to make them more effective for disabled people. If there is something in your site that is confusing most people, you can bet that it will confuse people with accessibility issues."

Jayakumar hopes to eventually have a similar form up on every government website, with a ticketed accessibility issue record that can be viewed by all. This is to enable a transparent tracking of issues and a speedier resolution.

This is an opportunity for digital users who are blind and visually impaired to get their views heard, urges Mumbai corporate lawyer Amar Jain, who happens to be visually impaired himself. As Jain says, the law requires all service providers, public or private, to make their products and services accessible as per the standards notified for Indian government websites. These need to be complied with by June 2019.

There are penal consequences, by which I mean financial implications, if a company fails to do so. From a company perspective, it's important that organizations adhere to the law and comply with it. In terms of enforcement, it's the regulators job to ensure that rules are enforced. And which is why we, as users, should do every bit possible to ensure that we collect data about accessibility about various service providers at one place and we give them the input. - Amar Jain, Corporate lawyer

Jain says that many companies are unaware that there are users with disabilities and therefore do not understand the problems caused when their services are not designed in an accessible way.

"From a compliance and sensitization perspective, it is important that we ensure that things are made accessible. Rather than cribbing and crying it is time for us to collectively give feedback to the companies where things are going wrong. "

This is your chance to get your voice heard. Don't let go of it.

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