Broadband India Forum (BIF) in its response to TRAI Consultation Paper on ICT for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) has extended all its support and cooperation for making a difference to lives of differently abled people through ICT has recommended the following –
- Suggested to formulate an advisory to regulate the equipment and service providers
- Reaffirming the support to set up an ICT disability advisory committee involving all relevant Ministries and Standards Development Organizations
- Supported the recommendation to notify standards and set out guidelines and policies for provision of telecom services, ICTs and continue to monitor implementation of the policies
- BIF, also recommended universally accessible and inclusive ICT ecosystem by bringing accessibility requirements into all government procurement contracts
TV Ramachandran, President, Broadband India Forum said, “ICT has not been able to achieve the desired impact on the lives of persons with disabilities in India till today. Several policy initiatives have been undertaken but none of them clearly identified the standards to be complied for different domains of accessibility. Given that the major reason for the failure to implement accessibility and increase adoption of ICTs for the disabled are lack of notification of standards and guidelines, lack of implementation road map, lack of technology and capacity training, adequate resources and monitoring, these would be the areas in which corrective measures need to be undertaken. From a Human Rights perspective, it is unjustifiable to spend public money to buy inaccessible goods and services discriminating against a specific category of citizens.”
As far as the accessibility to emergency services is concerned BIF recommends raising awareness amongst emergency response volunteers and staff and persons with disabilities on how to access services. Sectors which need immediate attention include telecommunications, procurement, smart cities, broadcasting, general ICT hardware and software, emergency services, public access points and technologies to access financial services such as ATMs.