National policy on electronic accessibility on cards

National policy on electronic accessibility on cards

It is aimed at aiding the physically challenged embrace ICTE easily

In a trail-blazing effort to ensure that the physically challenged do not feel marginalised but freely coalesce as part of mainstream inclusive society, the Centre is coming up with a National Policy for Electronic Accessibility.

The policy, making most of ubiquitous information, communications technology and electronics (ICTE) age, seeking to facilitate persons with disabilities equal and easy access to ICTE products and services, has been formulated by a core committee headed by Group Coordinator & Chairman N Ravi Shanker, Joint Secretary, Department of Information Technology, Ministry of Communication & IT.

In the first phase of this national mission, the policy, key members told Deccan Herald, seeks to upgrade the software and convert over 3,000 to 5,000 government web sites, public utility kiosks, customer service centres, as per the internationally accepted Web Content Accessibility Guidelines Standards laid down by the Worldwide Web Consortium.  
The policy, further aims to ensure that all new web are created keeping compliant with WCAG 2.0 in mind and that for existing web sites, adopt a phased approach ensuring complete compliance at least by 2010-2012.

Browser standards

“Once this is through, IT hardware and software service providers such as Sun Microsystems, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM et al, can work their products, hardware systems, software programmes with appropriate browser standards, document standards to assist and suit the needs of different category of physically impaired persons,” they said.
According to Department of Information Senior Director Govind, with ICTE being used in practically all facets of life, the policy recognises the need to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disabilities.

Stating that the policy, whose draft is currently circulated for comments and inputs from respective stakeholders, Govind said, will work towards ensuring accessibility standards, guidelines and universal design concepts are adopted and adhered, and cover central and state governments, the ministeries, departments and agencies, public service utilities and essential services providers, academia et al.

To ensure mission’s success, assistive technology laboratories/rehabilitation centres to facilitate persons with disabilities identify right types of technologies to cover all living aids is being set up.

The idea, sources said, is to “create barrier free internet, pluralistic and democratic virtual environment, where all groups irrespective of disability or levels of literacy access culture and knowledge goods and services available on the internet today.”