Staff Reporter

Wins National Award and Helen Keller Award for inclusive workplace environment

BANGALORE: On the eve of day preceding International Day of persons with Disabilities, IBM announced that it has received two prestigious awards — the National Award by the Government of India, and the Helen Keller Award for the year 2009, given by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP). IBM got these awards for creating an inclusive environment at the workplace, especially for people with disabilities.

The National Award, given by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, was for Spoken Web, a technology innovation by IBM “recognising the potential it had for improving the life of people with disability”.

The Shell-NCPEDP Helen Keller award was given to IBM for “demonstrating policies and practices that promote equal employment opportunity for people with disabilities”. The Spoken Web technology helps people, who have little or no literacy or are visually impaired, enjoy the benefits of the World Wide Web by creating a parallel system similar to the Internet. This voice-enabled technology enables physically challenged people to have access and share information, do business transactions, or create social networks by creating “VoiceSites” through their mobile or landline phones.

On this International Day of Persons with Disabilities, three visually impaired IBM employees — Hari Raghavan, Murali C. Sharma and Madhu Bala Sharma — also received the prestigious National Award in individual categories. While Bangalore-based Murali C. Sharma and Mumbai-based Hari Raghavan earned the award in the Best Employee category, Gurgaon-based Madhu Bala Sharma earned her award in the “Role Model” category. IBM received the National Award in the categories of Best Employer and Accessibility Innovation in 2008 and 2007 respectively.