The largest conference dedicated to access to technology by people with disabilities ever to take place on the sub-continent was held in New Delhi last month, with assistance from the UK’s leading blindness charity RNIB.
‘Techshare India’ (http://www.barrierbreak.com/techshareindia.php ), building on the RNIB’s own ‘Techshare’ branded events in the UK, welcomed around 400 delegates and featured 21 exhibitors including Dolphin Computer Access, IBM and Caretec.
In addition to workshops and presentations delegates could get to grips with assistive technologies in the ‘experience lab’ which saw the first demonstrations in India of several new technologies including the unveiling of a Hindi language version of Dolphin’s Supernova screenreader software (http://fastlink.headstar.com/ti1 ).
The conference was organised by Mumbai-based accessibility consultancy BarrierBreak Technologies, and is planned as an annual event, with linked quarterly roadshows in other cities planned to spread knowledge and awareness and build towards the next event.
According to the BarrierBreak, most disabled people in India are still excluded from mainstream society, despite the passing in 1995 of the Indian Persons With Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act. The Indian government estimates that there are more than two million blind and more than 60 million disabled people living in India.