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Conference on accessible and assistive technology

Eight Men wearing coat and tie displaying a book holding in their hand
© ASSOCHAM
Dr Vinod Aggarwal, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, releasing 'Inclusion of people with disabilities through universal accessibility' developed by CBM India.

To bring a spotlight on promoting accessible technology for creating inclusion, CBM India joined hands with the Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (ASSOCHAM) as a knowledge partner for the 2nd Conference cum Exhibition on Empowering Disabled Persons with Accessible & Assistive Technology held on February 11th, 2016.

Accessible and assistive technology is receiving a strong focus from the corporate sector and policymakers alike, as a means to enable participation of people with disabilities in India. There is, however, a need to forge a shared understanding of best practices based on experiences from implementation to harness the opportunities that technology offers.     

India has made significant progress towards recognising and ensuring accessibility to allow each and every individual to enjoy right to access, participation and inclusion. The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995, and a number of other schemes provide policy and legal instruments for ensuring access and equal participation.

Accessibility needs to be seen as a framework that includes both physical and social access to: built environment, transportation, services and information communication and systems.

Accessible technology and inclusion

The role of accessible and assistive technology is fundamental in improving the quality of life and inclusion of people with disabilities – not to mention also for a large section of population with temporary disability and restricted mobility.

Despite an ever-increasing technological world, there are many gaps for people with disabilities, when it comes to the use of information and communication technology in day-to-day environment.
 
The conference highlighted a need to include persons with disabilities in all phases of accessible technology adoption, from policy-making on ICT accessibility to the implementation and monitoring.
 
The pace of innovation and creation of new services makes it all the more critical that there are mechanisms to evaluate the accessibility of ICT systems.
 
One of the panel discussions in the daylong conference specifically discussed the current practice and availability of different products and services. The participants highlighted the need for training technology professionals on accessible technology, strengthening research and development and evolving contextually relevant yet low cost assistive technologies.

Industry and government participation

The conference was supported by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment and saw participation by a number of senior government functionaries from the department. A special publication developed by CBM India was released on ‘Inclusion of People with Disabilities through Universal Accessibility’. Dr. Vinod Aggarwal Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.
 
IBM and Wipro highlighted the need for understanding accessibility as a framework and not as an add-on by companies. Both the leading software companies shared best practices on accessibility and disability inclusion across their built-infrastructure, policies and processes.
 
A number of speakers pointed out that there are a range of accessibility tools and platforms available, but these resources need to be housed at one place or a digital platform and made available free of cost.

Thumbnail for video "Highlights of 2nd T20 World Cup for blind 2017 finals" Thumbnail for video "Highlights of 2nd T20 World Cup for blind 2017 finals"

Highlights of 2nd T20 World Cup for blind 2017 finals

The highlights of T20 World Cup for the blind finals held at Chinnaswamy Stadium Bengaluru, India


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