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Spot the difference, visually challenged can?t

india Updated: Feb 10, 2007 12:13 IST

HERE’S THE flip side. Consider this. Visually-challenged activist George Abraham has no means of ensuring that the stainless steel coin the coffee-vendor gave him at the Metro Station is of the right denomination.

The sharper edges of the earlier two-rupee coin helped him judge its contours, but now, says Abraham, he has no way of finding out if the “two-rupee” coin he has in his hand, is actually a one-rupee one.

Abraham isn’t alone. Conservative estimates put the number of blind in the country at 10 million. And, the new two-rupee coin the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) introduced in December is causing confusion in their minds. “Now coins of all denominations are round. Even though the new two-rupee coin is slightly bigger in size, one can’t really make out the difference,” says C.D. Tamboli, director, education, National Association of the Blind.

When contacted, a RBI spokeswoman said the apex bank does not have much say in the actual design process. “A Finance Ministry committee awarded the assignment to the National Institute of Design (NID), Ahmedabad.”

“A coin in another shape would have helped not just the blind, but also allowed children and the unlettered identify it easily,” says Ashwani Kumar Aggarwal, a manager with Punjab National Bank, adding that it would have helped if the committee had at least one person sensitive towards the needs of people with visual impairment.

At the moment though, on the other side of this coin is insensitivity towards the disabled.