The Madhya Pradesh government has initiated a step to make government’s websites user-friendly for the disabled. By the end of February, the website of the Department of Information Technology ( IT) will comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) that will help disabled people to use it.
“The IT department will be the first in the state to comply with the WCAG norms while the state government portal will be modified by March end to comply with the WCAG norms,” said Hari Ranjan Rao, principal secretary of the IT department.
Until now, all government websites, including the state government portal, department of public grievances and others are inaccessible to persons with disabilities. The National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People was the first organisation to point out this shortcoming in the government’s websites.
The NIC (National Information Centre) issued the guidelines, called the Guidelines for Indian Government Websites (GIGW) mandate. According to the GIGW, all government websites should conform to the international accessibility standards, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0. The state government issued an order on January 7 directing all departments to comply with the WCAG.
“Today, most of the work can be done on the internet, be it shopping, filing tax returns, filing a complaint or booking railway tickets but it’s unfortunate that the government’s websites are not WCAG compliant. It is, therefore, difficult to know about government’s circulars and others through websites. The new initiative will help people with disabilities and make their lives easy,” said Rohit Trivedi, a professor at the Sarojini Naidu Girls Degree College who is visually disabled.