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Govt & public sector websites to be accessible to visually challenged persons

Govt & public sector websites to be accessible to visually challenged persons

Kolkata: The state Information Technology and Electronics (IT&E) department, in association with the state Social Welfare department will soon undertake a drive to make government and public sector websites accessible to visually challenged persons.

A discussion for making government websites visually impaired friendly was held on Friday, in presence of senior officials of both the departments.

The IT department has plans to make websites read itself out, so that it can be of help to somebody who is too tired to have a look at the screen of the computer. He/she can simply close the eyes and listen.

"Read Aloud extensions on internet browsers like Google Chrome can be an option as well. These 'Text-to-Speech' extensions are often free and offer themselves to customisation (slow or fast reading speeds)," a senior official of IT&E department said, adding that talks have already been held with Webel on how to proceed with the plans.

The things that have come up during the discussion include websites with images which may have an alternative text-based information so that the "Read Aloud" feature can explain the matter to the user. The contrast ratio between background and foreground colour should be large and the contents should be navigable by arrow keys.

"We are also ready assist any private company on making their websites friendly for the visually impaired," the official added.

It may be mentioned that all state governments across the country have been pushing for making websites user friendly for disabled people. The Bombay High Court has recently directed the Maharashtra government to ensure that all its websites are user-friendly for disabled people. The direction was passed on the basis of a Public Interest Litigation filed by city-based NGO Disability Rights Initiative pleading for such an order.

SOUMITRA NANDI

SOUMITRA NANDI

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