Three years after the Prime Minister's Office passed an order recommending all government websites to be made accessible to the disabled, most websites still remain out of reach for them.
The National Information Centre (NIC) had also issued guidelines, that 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.
BarrierBreak Technologies — which works towards making technology accessible to all — conducted an audit of 10 government websites which claim to be disabled friendly, and found that none of them was accessible.
“The websites were chosen on the basis of the accessibility claims stated on their web pages to verify if these sites were actually accessible for persons with disabilities,” said Shilpi Kapoor, managing director at BarrierBreak Technologies.
"Of the 7000 government websites, even the few that claim accessibility, don't meet the international standards. Government websites should be accessible, otherwise people with disabilities will be left out of the digital world,” she said.
The survey found that important websites like the National Portal of India (www.india.gov.in), Ministry of Tourism (www.tourism.gov.in) and Ministry of Human Resource Development (www.mhrd.gov.in) were inaccessible to the disabled.
“What is most ironic is that some of them have made tall claims about being 'accessible' and when tested, failed miserably,” said Javed Abidi, honorary director at National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP).