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Lack of IT awareness fails to tackle disabled problems

Written by: Staff

Bangalore, Dec 5 (UNI) Prof Anupam Basu of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, today said lack of awareness about developments in Information Technology and non-affordability have led to failure in tackling the problems of disabled people in India.

''India has about 20 million disabled people. Mere developing technology will not help, there is a need to make it affordable,'' he said.

Prof Basu was delivering the keynote address at a two-day conference on 'Information Technology - Uses and Needs for Children and Adults with Disabilities', an Indo-US partnership conference, organised here by the National Institute for the Mentally Handicapped, Secunderabad.

Stressing the need for collective effort to tackle the problems of disabled people, Prof Basu said that though the prices of personal computers were coming down, it was still not affordable to people in India. ''Corporate sector should develop PCs which can be bought at low cost.'' Another important aspect was lack of infrastructure to convey the message of technology development. ''There are lack of trained teachers in schools and in many schools, though computers were donated by some IT companies, it could not be properly used due to lack of knowledge and most of the schools cannot afford to buy PCs.

Due to high cost, there is lack of social unacceptability also.

Industrial support is also lacking due to low domestic market,'' he added.

Paula Goldberg Director, Parents Advocacy for Children Educational Rights (PACER), US, in her address, stressed the need for establishing IT National Centre in India on the lines of Fashion Technology.

Navneet Kapoor Director, Target Services, India, said the problem of disability was universal. IT and IT people have an important role to play in integrating people with disability. ''We need to create an awareness about technology development and for this, we need to partner with Government and NGOs. IT should become accessible to children and people with disability.'' Inaugurating the conference, Union Secretary for Social Justice and Empowerment Dr Veena Chhotray said there was a need to converge not only the IT sector, but also NGOs, Union and State Governments.


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