This year’s International Day of Persons with Disabilities, 3 December 2014 is being commemorated with the theme: “Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology”.
The theme is a well thought move by UN. As we all know that there are very few people are ready to dedicate themselves towards the cause of “Empowering The Specially Abled”. I mean if you ask one common Indian about just the types of disability, for them suddenly a picture of wheel chair or crutches will pop-up in the mind and will tell you oh VIKALANG people? “Government gives them a lots of support!!”, this was the answer when today I asked one of the fellow Banglorean…
Government of Karnataka or Government of India or for that matter any Government of so and so heavily depends on NGOs… People think that the Government is doing a lot and the Government thinks that NGOs are doing a lot, and then there is one disability commissioner in each state. I was quiet shocked when I spoke to one person with disability of movement about the disability commissioner, and he asked me “Who is that?”
As if disability commissioner are meant for nothing!! Have you ever found a disability commissioner reaching out to Disabled people? Not on personal basis! Never! There are millions of disables in India, who don’t have an ID card as a disabled or as a voter or for that matter any other government ID cards!!
You may think that I am going out of context in this article, no, I am not. When there is apathy everywhere, the technology can help the SAPs! Even after the use of the technologies, we have to depend on the human beings, but the rate of dependency can go down, very much down. Lets see top 10 issues which could be resolved using various technologies:
1. Online registration of disabled people. -It should be a one stop registration for all the concerned identities like Voter ID etc.
2. Online registration and resolution of complaints/concerns of disabled people.
3. 3D Printer(s) developing organs for disabled people.
4. Equip all the disabled people with a net connected mobile with screen readers and various other accessibilities!
5. Wheelchairs need not be made of steel only, steel should be used but with a lots of assistive technologies like, a lcd screen, a google map, a battery operated engine and lots of other features, which are used in other vehicles, can be and should be fixed on wheel chairs!
6. Request social media organizations to develop platforms exclusively meant for SAPs. So the SAPs also can socialize on social media! Have you found any SAP friendly feature on Facebook or Twitter or many other social media websites? No. They can and they should.
7. Develop sports technologies through which we can have many legendary SAP Sportsmen/women!
8. In India, we have “Gyan Darshan” a channel which provides educational/informative programmes to support IGNOU courses! Why can’t we use the same platform for the special education to be provided to the SAPs?
9. All the banks should provide free Mobile Banking to SAPs with zero balance accounts. Actually under the “Pradhanmantri Jan Dhan Yojana’, all the SAPs of India should be covered and each Bank should be forced to reach out to the SAPs, their NGOs and make sure that each and every Indian SAP is covered under the scheme.
10. All the Online/Vocational courses of all the Universities should be accessible on mobile and should be SAPs friendly. So as mentioned in point number 4 when every SAP is equipped with such mobile and can access various courses on his/her mobile, then educating SAPs would be much more easier.
All these 10 points are just for a start, a lot can be done using various technologies. We need a wilful political & public force!
All of you might think that I am suggesting solutions and then why is this article under the section of “Issues”? Because this a major issue that in India, we haven’t explored technological options for the “Empowerment of The Specially Abled People”. Because its a dream of our beloved prime minister Shri Narendrabhai Modi to make “Digital India” but this is the initial phase of the dream and we have to do a lot for making it true. We have to have a “Digital India” where the first beneficiaries would be SAPs and then any other citizens of India.
Disability Commissioners should think out of the box, be proactive and start reaching out to the SAPs in their respective areas using various technologies.
The general public should be made aware about various types of disabilities, disabled people and their rights through television, internet, social media etc.
Yes the theme of this year is very much in context, we can have Sustainable Development: The Promise of Technology!!