Differently-Abled

Information and Communication Technologies have a tremendous potential to broaden the lives and increase the independence of persons with disabilities. Blind people, who used to wait for months or even years for information to be available in Braille, can now access information at the very same time it becomes available to the sighted population. People who have difficulty using a pen or key board can now use the latest speech recognition software to perform their work-related tasks. Though these technologies hold great promise, the computer revolution has left a vast majority of the persons with disabilities behind. In India, there are almost 70 million people with disabilities and just about 2% have access to computers and not even 0.5% can make use of Internet as yet. Realizing this pressing requirement to bridge the gap, the Department of Information Technology (DIT) has funded ERNET India to work on initiatives to enhance the computer skills of children with disabilities. ERNET India had earlier setup 21 ICT vocational training centres in the National Capital Region of Delhi and in the state of Tamil Nadu. ERNET initiated efforts to extend this to 100 more centres across the country. Children with multiple disabilities, spastics and physically impaired are being covered in this phase. Setting up of ICT infrastructure at 50 schools in 17 states has been completed. Each of these centres is being equipped with computers, assistive tools, internet & intranet access, applications and appropriate contents. Instructors are being trained for conducting courses on computers, usage of assistive devices, skill development on job oriented applications and also on development of soft skills, such as English language usage and personality development. Setting up of another 50 centres in the remaining states has been initiated.

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