Tilak Joshi, 21, a student of St Xavier’s College in Dhobi Talao was unable to use an automatic teller machine (ATM) without assistance until now.
But from Saturday, vision-impaired people such as Joshi will be able to withdraw cash from an ATM on their own.
The Union Bank of India (UBI) will launch a fully accessible, speech-enabled, bilingual ATM in Thane’s Passport office on Saturday for differently-abled people. It will be the first such ATM in the city.
“UBI is the first bank in the country to deploy fully-accessible ATMs to help the differently-abled make transactions independently,” said Lalit Sinha, general manager, UBI.
By September, 50 machines will be installed in passport offices across the country.
The facility will also have a ramp for wheelchair-bound persons, a guide path on the floor to direct the vision-impaired towards the machine, Braille guide labels on the machine, and complete step-wise voice guidance through headphones. Users can opt for voice guidance in English or Hindi.
In 2008-09, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had issued guidelines to all banks to make at least one-third of all new ATMs accessible to the vision-impaired through voice guidance and Braille keypads.
“The inclusion of guidance in Hindi will also facilitate financial inclusion for the country’ semi-literate and illiterate population,” said Dr Sam Taraporevala, director, Xavier's Resource Centre for the Visually Challenged, which tested the machines.