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Updated: January 28, 2010 18:10 IST

Government departments should make websites disabled-friendly

Special Correspondent
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D. Napoleon, Union Minster of state for Social Justice and Empowerment addressing the media at Tiruchi on Thursday. Photo:M. Moorthy
The Hindu
D. Napoleon, Union Minster of state for Social Justice and Empowerment addressing the media at Tiruchi on Thursday. Photo:M. Moorthy

The Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has requested the Central government departments and agencies to make their websites disabled-friendly through the use of assistive technologies, said D.Napoleon, Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment, here on Thursday.

The Ministry of Social Justice website already complies with World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 level AA. Assistive technologies such as screen readers and speech recognition support have already been incorporated in its website. This would enable people with visual and mobility impairment and senior citizens to access the site. There were about 6,000 websites of Central government agencies and organisations. All the agencies should follow suit as it was essential for people with disabilities to know about the various schemes implemented for their welfare by the government, he said speaking to reporters.

Conceding that there was a need to make public infrastructure more disabled friendly, Mr.Napoleon said as per 2001 figures, there were about 2.19 crore disabled people in the country of which 1.06 crores were visually impaired. The government, he said, was giving away awards to encourage districts, civic bodies and States to encourage them make their infrastructure disabled friendly. All new public buildings were required, by law, to be disabled friendly, he said.

Mr.Napoleon also disclosed that his Ministry has sought a substantial increase in the annual allocation in the next Budget. “During the current year, we were allotted Rs.2,585 crores. We have sought about Rs.7,000 crores for 2010-11 for stepping up our welfare measures and introducing new schemes,” he said.

Among the new schemes proposed were opening of senior citizens homes and sanction of Rs.10 lakhs for panchayats, with 50 per cent and more scheduled caste people in their population, for improving civic infrastructure.

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