To enable easy access of public information to the physically-challenged population, the ministry of social justice and environment along with Microsoft India will launch 40 new templates on the occasion of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3.
Microsoft, which introduced Windows 2000 a decade ago, will launch a site of guidelines, training programmes and directives for government and business houses.
The aim is to make e-environment congenial for people who are visually-impaired, hearing-impaired and face difficulty in learning.
According to the 2001 Census, 2.1% of the total population was suffering from disabilities, while the UN estimates tag it as high as 10%.
According to rough estimates, there are at least 70 million people living with some form of disability in India.
"The Indian government is broadly using 35-40 templates for their communication. We will be customising them over the next few quarters to ensure they are disabled-friendly. We aim to provide accessible technology to as many people as we can," said Alok Lall, director-marketing, Microsoft Corporation.
"Accessible technology means customised settings, which are pre-built into software programmes to allow individual adjustment of product settings to meet vision, hearing, mobility, language, and learning needs and also specifically designed hardware like mouse and keypads to accommodate an individual's disability," said Lall.
Lall said accessibility was of primary importance during product design, development, and testing.
"Microsoft builds accessibility options into products that enable everyone to personalise their PCs to make them easy to see, hear, and use," he added.
"We have been using Microsoft Windows across classes - starting from junior school to our polytechnic courses - offering world skills, office procedures, visual arts, hospitality and catering," said Saloni, a special educator at SPJ Sadhana School.
Permission denied to hold celebrations
The police have denied permission to the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) to hold World Disability Day celebrations at India Gate on December 3.
"The event is being held at India Gate from the past 14 years," said Javed Abidi, Honorary Director of NCPEDP.
"How can the Delhi Police or home ministry deny us permission when all other events take place in the area," he said.