Examine foreign currencies to make rupee notes blind-friendly, HC tells RBI
The Bombay high court (HC) on Monday directed the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to examine currencies of “advanced countries” like the US Dollar, British Pound and Euro to develop features that would make notes user-friendly for those who are visually-impaired and blind. The RBI has been asked to submit its report to the court in two weeks.
The court was hearing a petition filed by the National Association of the Blind (NAB), which pointed out the new currency notes and coins were difficult to distinguish by touch, and sought directions to include distinctive features in the new coins and currency notes.
“Find out as to how currency in advanced countries – like the dollar, pound, Euro – are made blind-friendly,” the bench of chief justice Naresh Patil and justice Nitin Jamdar told RBI’s counsel, advocate VR Dhond. “See if there are any marks embedded on these currencies that make them blind-friendly.”
According to data supplied by the government in 2018, India has approximately 80 lakh people who suffer from either visual impairment or blindness. The State Development and Finance Corporation for the Disabled has estimated there are 5.74 lakh people with visual disabilities in Maharashtra.
The older versions of currency notes had tactile features like embossing and bleed lines — elevated markings that can be felt — and could be distinguished by their sizes. Some of these notes were withdrawn in 2016 and new currency notes were introduced after demonetisation in November that year.
Advocate Uday Warunjikar, appearing for the NAB, said the new currency notes and several new coins introduced by the RBI are not user-friendly for the visually-impaired and blind.
He said apart from marks on notes and coins, the size of currency notes and coins earlier increased with the denomination. This no longer applies to the new notes.
Dhond said all new currency notes carry water marks on the left side and have distinctive marks that should help the visually-impaired identify the denomination.
He also submitted that there is no rule that requires currency notes increase in size with an increase in denomination. Warunjikar responded with the claim that the marks Dhond had mentioned were susceptible to diminution with time and after a certain period, get “washed away”.
The judges then sought to know the international practice to make currency disabled-friendly, and directed the RBI to examine this aspect and submit a report to the court in two weeks.
A six-year-old boy died after falling into a 100-foot-deep borewell at Khyala Bulanda village here on Sunday. Son of a migrant labourer, Rithik Roshan, fell into the borewell around 9 am and was taken out at 6.30pm. Rithik's death is a is a stark reminder of a similar shocking incident two years ago in Sangrur district where two-year-old Fatehvir Singh had died after he fell into a 150-foot-deep abandoned borewell.
No immediate measures have been initiated by the authorities to check the stinking brackish blushing water flowing from the Harike barrage near here into Rajasthan and Ferozepur feeder canals even after over a decade of the polluted water making its way to agricultural fields and homes, resulting in crop losses and health problems among residents of Punjab and adjoining Rajasthan that receive the water supplied by it.
A truck driver was allegedly beaten to death by three youths on Sunday after the victim, Inder Harpal Singh of Patiala's vehicle grazed their car in Faridkot city. SHO Sandeep Singh said that the investigation has found that the victim, Inder Harpal Singh of Patiala, was beaten to death by the accused after a small accident at 9:30 pm on Sunday when he was on his way to Faridkot city from Sangrur to deliver packages.
The Shiromani Akali Dal on Sunday asked Punjab chief minister Bhagwant Mann not to befool the farmers with announcements that their moong crop would be procured when the Centre has only agreed to buy 4,585 tonnes of the pulse, amounting to only 10-15% of the anticipated production. In a statement here, SAD kisan wing president Sikander Singh Maluka said Punjab was set to produce 4.75 lakh tonnes of moong.
Ferozepur Division manager Seema Sharma on Sunday conducted an inspection at the Ludhiana Railway Station. She also met a few railway union leaders and held a meeting with senior officials of the Ludhiana station. Senior divisional mechanical engineer and commercial manager Sudeep Singh also checked the operations at the station. Though senior officials termed it as a surprise visit, the Ludhiana railway staff, including the station director, were already aware of the checking.