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Court issues notice to RBI & Centre over inaccessible currency plea

Currency that cannot be identified, banks and banking facilities that are inaccessible, ditto for ATMs, and there is no redressal in the near future. The struggles of India's nearly 80 lakh blind and low vision community continue.

Despite many petitions, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Centre have failed to make the financial machinery user-friendly for people who are visually impaired. The community has been highlighting this through various platforms.

Now, the Blind Graduates Forum of India (BGFI) has stepped up and has filed a case in a court. The court was told about the many challenges blind and low vision people face in their daily lives, from the difficulty in accessing bank accounts, handling cash and using Internet and mobile banking services.

The RBI has suggested that technology should be used by blind people for identification of currency but that is a short term solution and also not available to most people in India. We are looking for a long term resolution in this regard. People with visual impairments have been raising concerns for years but the authorities keep on overlooking and ignoring our suggestions. This needs to change and the banking system needs to be regulated to become inclusive. - Amar Jain, Lawyer

For now the Bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V Kameswar Rao have issued notices to the Centre and RBI to respond to the plea.

"We are happy that the court has accepted our plea and issued notices. Our petition calls for a holistic and sustainable solution to the problem that blind people are facing in the country, says Vishal Jain, President, BGFI . "The Government and RBI should ensure that mistakes that have been committed time and again till now are not repeated in the future. The banking system should be designed to be accessible for people who are visually impaired, elderly, and also those who are not educated."

For too long the needs of the visually impaired community have been overlooked when it comes to access to basic facilities. Time that steps are taken to address this injustice.

ALSO READ: HDFC Bank takes important first steps to make facilities accessible for disabled customers

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