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Rights activist seeks accessibility of websites to PwDs

By   /  April 17, 2018  /  Comments Off on Rights activist seeks accessibility of websites to PwDs

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Dimapur, April 17 (EMN): To remove digital barriers that are discriminatory against People with Disabilities (PwDs) and ensuring equal accessibility to technology in the state, disability rights activist and member of National Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities & National Disability Network, Diethono Nakhro, has sought the support and action from the Information Technology and Community department towards web accessibility and digital inclusion of People with Disabilities in the state.
In a letter to the commissioner and secretary of IT&C, Nakhro has voiced an urgent need for the state government to ensure accessibility of websites and documents to work towards achieving the vision of Accessible India Campaign at the state level.
In this regard, she has suggested the department to take the following steps at the earliest:
1. Web accessibility in the E-Governance or IT policy of the state: She has suggested the state government to ensure that all websites, mobile apps and e-governance portals developed to be compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 – Level AA by the W3C.
2. Procurement of IT Services: Ensure that all tenders and RFPs by the state are included in the websites, mobile apps and e-governance portals and comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guideline 2.0 – Level AA.
3. Implementation Planning: Creating a state level implementation plan on how the websites, mobile apps and e-governance portals in the state will adopt and implement accessibility
4. Monitoring: The state government must monitor the implementation of accessibility of website, mobile apps, e-governance portals.
5. Training: Ensure that key personnel handling IT & websites in various departments are trained in accessibility standards and guidelines.
She stated that web accessibility must encompass all disabilities that affect access to the web including auditory, cognitive, neurological, physical, speech, and visual.
She has also made reference to news reports of the 51st Annual Report of the Nagaland Public Service Commission (NPSC) which stated that NPSC is the first Public Service Commission (PSC) in India to successfully implement fully online application and payment of fee for civil service (Preliminary) examination under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP).
She, however, stated that a look at its website http://www.npsc.co.in/ showed it was not WCAG compliant, which means that information and services being provided through their website cannot be accessed by people with various disabilities. She stated that denial of accessibility is discriminatory and completely unacceptable.
She mentioned that today Government of India is focusing on digital inclusion of citizens and moving to providing information and government schemes and services online. One example is the application for a passport for which citizens now need to go online. The government has an estimated 6500 websites that people with disabilities need access to.
India has ratified the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) wherein under Article 9 – it is critical to make information and communication technology accessible to people with disabilities. The new Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 (RPWD Act 2016) has also come into force on April 19, 2017 wherein it is laid down in Chapter VIII Section 42 that the appropriate government shall take measures to ensure that (i) all contents available in audio, print and electronic media are in accessible format; (ii) persons with disabilities have access to electronic media by providing audio description, sign language interpretation and close captioning.
In addition, the government has launched the Accessible India (Sugamya Bharat) campaign wherein the government has a target to make 50% of all government websites accessible at the centre and the states by 2019. She further stated that 50% of the documents published online also need to be made accessible.
In the light of the above stated circumstances, Nakhro has sought the support and action of the commissioner and secretary IT&C towards ensuring web accessibility and digital inclusion of people with disabilities in the state.

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  • Published: 7 months ago on April 17, 2018
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  • Last Modified: April 17, 2018 @ 11:18 pm
  • Filed Under: Nagaland

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