One of the primary activities of Project Eyeway is advocacy. Over the years, we have taken up matters of advocacy where rights of blind and visually impaired people are violated and are discriminated against or where legal provisions are not complied with. As a result of our Advocacy, many people have won their battle for equality and justice. Our counsellors on the Helpdesk continue to urge the callers to stand up for their rights as equal citizens of the country.
Moving further in that direction, Project Eyeway has collaborated with 'Mission Accessibility',an initiative
spearheaded by 3 blind lawyers, Rahul Bajaj, Amar Jain and Turab Chimthanawala, which is aimed at progressivley dismantling the barriers faced by Persons with Disability in accessing apps and
websites in India. We share the conviction that digital accessibility is a right that every person with disability in India must be able to enjoy.
We seek to constructively engage with the developers of platforms that are inaccessible to disabled users and empower such users to voice their concerns in a productive and practically useful fashion. We urge service providers to view demands of accessibility in the light of three considerations. First, several studies indicate that India has a sizable portion of the world’s disabled population. For far too long, this community has been left behind. Doing right by the disabled is a moral imperative. Second, making their platforms usable by the disabled enable service providers to access an untapped user base, thus, expanding their footprint. It will not only give them a competitive edge but also position them as real practitioners of equity for customer diversity and as disability inclusive business leaders. Finally, given that accessibility of platforms for the disabled is a regulatory requirement as discussed below, taking these measures will help service providers discharge that regulatory obligation.
We believe that fight towards digital accessibility cannot be the prerogative of a few individuals but requires concerted efforts by the entire disabled community.
Thus, we have launched a systemic campaign to enable anyone facing accessibility barriers on an application or website to themselves engage with Service Providers for removing such barriers through a 5-step time-bound process. We are certain that following this process will yield satisfactory results.
The person facing accessibility issues can engage with the concerned Service Provider using the templates hosted at: Click here
Kindly fill in the place holders in the template. Kindly refer to ‘Timeline and Process flow’ to understand the process.
Let’s strive towards ‘Accessibility for all’.
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 ‘the Act’ is the principal law governing the rights of the disabled in India. Section 46 of the Act casts an obligation on all service providers (government as well as private) to provide their services in accordance with the Rules on Accessibility formulated by the Central Government under Section 40. Such compliance was mandated within 2 years of notification of the Rules.
Rule 15 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules 2017 ‘the Rules’ mandate all establishments comply with the following standards as regards information and communication technology-
(i) Website standard as specified in the guidelines for Indian Government websites, as adopted by Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances, Government of India;
(ii) Documents to be placed on websites shall be in Electronic Publication (ePUB) or Optical Character Reader (OCR) based pdf format:
Further, both Google in relation to Android and Apple in relation to IOS have specified design guidelines which the developers of any mobile application are expected to follow to ensure accessibility for persons with disabilities.
Information and Communication Technology:
As per Section 2(n) of the Act, information and communication technology includes all services and innovations relating to information and communication, including telecom services, web based services, electronic and print services, digital and virtual services;
Time limit for compliance:
The Act was brought into force on April 19, 2017 and the Rules were notified on June 15, 2017. Per a combined reading of Section 46 of the Act along with Rule 15 of the Rules, the last date of compliance with the relevant accessibility standards was June 14, 2019.
Any Person with disability may lodge a complaint against a service provider for inaccessibility of their platform in the office of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities or State Commissioner of Persons with disabilities depending on where the Registered Office of the service provider is located. However, the person shall exercise this remedy only after their grievance is not addressed by the concerned service provider despite repeated requests.
Consequences for non-compliance:
As per Section 89 of the Act, Any person who contravenes any of the provisions of the Act, or of any rule made thereunder shall be punishable with fine which may extend to Rs. 5 lakhs.
List of Inaccessible Apps and Websites
SBI Card app [iOS], for accepting terms and conditions, voiceover needs to be turned off.
Amway: Cannot accept terms and conditions iOS and Android Apps.
Dainik Bhaskar(Android): Unlabeled buttons
Delhi University website: (students not able to download syllabus)needs to be taken up with EOC at DU.
Market trading: Motilal Oswal and Samco apps not accessible with screen reader.
RCM (Android). One can only check purchases and business volumes. Cannot add name or check group purchases.
ICICI Banking App: cannot check what Fixed Deposit amount is. Renewal needs sighted assistance. UPI pin cannot be accessed easily. App is called iMobile Banking.
Amazon: rewards cannot be accessed. Proceed button does not work. Changing address does not work.
Dunzo/ Swiggy: you cannot add new address easily.
Times of India app: Cannot sign in. sign in is a mouseover.
Google Authenticator (android). Passcode only valid for 30 seconds. It is difficult for a blind person to do this in 30 seconds.
Flipkart android app has image captcha. This must be accessed while doing cash on delivery.
swalambhan.gov.in: UDID card download requires clearing image captcha. The portal also has other issues.
IRCTC: changing password, captcha is inaccessible. It does not speak back what we have written.
E-district portal, Delhi government: has inaccessible captcha. IBPS: audio captcha does not exist. Only visual captcha exists.
Go Air, android App: Seat selection for web check-in does not work. Last check box to accept Terms and conditions you have to turn talkback off and do it.
IRCTC rail connect app: 2 issues. First, password/user, inaccessible captcha. next, product details given in graphics and not in text
Rekhta: for every word, you have to swipe next. Does not read one para at a time.
You can find the updates here.