India Harnesses Technology to Address Challenges Persons with Disabilities Face

Recently, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi developed Digital India, an initiative that seeks to address national challenges through technology. One of these issues is including the 70 million persons with disabilities in society.

Recently, the government has expressed commitments to accessibility, as well as employment and education for persons with disabilities, with plans to focus on e-learning, legal protection of rights, funding for training programs, and other initiatives.

According to Pranav Desai from Voice of Specially Abled People, this is not only a moral imperative, but also a business opportunity. Companies like Google are funding massive programs on assistive and accessible technologies, as is the Chinese government. India must join this global commitment to ICT accessibility. Desai suggests developing accessibility testing tools for websites, e-learning programs, and mobile apps could all play a role, as would collaborations between Indians and those in Silicon Valley.

Voice of Specially Abled People is currently working with the government and ministries of Commerce, Social Justice and Empowerment, and Education, as well as state governments to action this vision to bring assistive and accessible technology companies to India and employ more persons with disabilities. The organization sees potential in terms of design collaboration, companies expanding operations to India, and governmental partnerships.

The fact that the US India Business Council recognizes accessible technology as one area for increase in bilateral trade between the two countries shows promise for these proposals. Furthermore, Desai sees the Prime Minister’s recent visit to Silicon Valley as a step in the right direction towards collaboration on assistive technology and the empowerment of persons with disabilities in India.

Source: Pranav Desai, Niti Central