Hearing impaired want cheaper 3G mobile services
At first sight, a mobile phone may appear a cruel joke with the hearing impaired but it is not. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is expecting the government to provide 3G services in mobile phones at cheaper prices to help deaf people communicate in a better way.Updated: Feb 17, 2014 21:13 IST
At first sight, a mobile phone may appear a cruel joke with the hearing impaired but it is not. The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) is expecting the government to provide 3G services in mobile phones at cheaper prices to help deaf people communicate in a better way.
This demand came to light during the two-day conference of the NAD that kicked off here on Monday. A DJ party going on in the adjacent hall was no disturbance to for the participants of the conference. An activist made the participants aware about the international treaty on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) through the sign language.
There is no professional mediator to ensure their interaction with those who can hear and talk. The only help is 16-year-old Suneena, who had come with her deaf father to get a better understanding of the sign language.
"It costs less than `1 to make a call on a mobile phone for a person who can hear and talk. But it costs a deaf around `4 per minute," explained Anuj Jain, project director of NAD, to HT through Suneena.
Holding a smart phone, Anuj said, "Skype and other such features on a mobile phone are of great help for the deaf and dumb as they can interact through the sign language. But it is very costly too." Most participants at the conference had smart phones with them. They had received through 'WhatsApp' the photographs of Rahul Gandhi's participation in a rally organised by NAD at Delhi.
"We had gone to government with a demand of free 3G services, but to no avail. The 3G facility is of great help for deaf people to interact with others. The sign language can be spread greatly through the mobile phone and 3G services," explains Anuj.
He adds that, "There is a scarcity of the mediators in the country. Many times we get appointments at the government offices but fail to put across our point of view due to lack of a mediator."
"Government can also help deaf people by starting a TV channel, where the sign language should be used in programmes. All deaf people cannot comprehend the sign language as nobody teaches them same. If there is a dedicated TV channel, it will teach them the sign language," he explains.
"Technology should be made available at cheaper rates to the deaf in India where majority of such people are living under poverty and are unaware about their rights," he added.
According to the NAD, there are around 18 million deaf people in India.
First Published: Feb 17, 2014 21:08 IST