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Home Media News ‘Make COVID-19 info accessible to persons with disabilities’

‘Make COVID-19 info accessible to persons with disabilities’

Date: 24/03/2020

Centre asks States to make all details available in Braille and audio format

The Union Social Justice and Empowerment Ministry on Monday asked all States and Union Territories to make information about measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 accessible to Persons with Disabilities (PwD).

In a letter to all Chief Secretaries, the secretary of the Department for PwD, Shakuntala Gamlin, wrote that while the States and UTs had been taking steps to contain the spread of coronavirus, very often the information disseminated was not accessible by PwD. She cited the Rights of PwD Act, 2016 that mandates dissemination of information in accessible formats in print and electronic as well as making government websites accessible.

Priority treatment
She asked the Chief Secretaries to instruct the health and publicity departments of their States and UTs to make all COVID-19-related information available in Braille and audio format for persons with visual impairment, videos with sub-titles and sign language for those with hearing impairment and information on all websites and social media with optical character recognition and e-PUB format. She also asked the States to provide priority treatment to PwD, as envisaged under the Act.

Exemption to staff
The Department has also asked the Department of Personnel and Training to exempt employees with visual impairment from going to their offices as they rely on “touch functions for mobility and work,” increasing their risk of getting infected, a March 20 office memorandum said. A source said the memo was received by the DoPT on Monday.