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Spot the difference, the visually challenged cannot

The new two-rupee coin sans sharper edges is causing confusion in the minds of the visually-challenged, writes Aasheesh Sharma.

india Updated: Feb 12, 2007 18:14 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 is not 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 differ ence,” says C.D. Tamboli, director, educa tion, National Association of the Blind.

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

Ashwani Kumar Aggarwal, a manager with Punjab National Bank, says, “A coin in another shape would have helped not just the blind, but also allowed children and the unlettered identi fy it easily.” Aggarwal adds 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.

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First Published: Feb 12, 2007 17:48 IST