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India: Kerala Government to Purchase Smartphones To Improve Accessibility for Persons with Visual Impairment

November 07, 2019

As many as 1,000 smartphones will be distributed to the visually impaired as part of a Kerala State Handicapped Persons Welfare Corporation project.

Minister for Social Justice K.K. Shylaja said the Social Justice Department had sanctioned ₹1.19 crore for buying the smartphones as part of the Kazhcha project. The phones come with specifications especially drawn up by the Corporation for the visually impaired. The purchase of the phones, which use novel technology, has been approved by the purchase and technical committees. Their service and warranty have been ensured.

Through Kazhcha, visually impaired youth are provided with laptops and smartphones with special software. The Kerala Federation of the Blind provides technical support for the project.

eSpeak software

The smartphones will enable the visually challenged to face the maximum challenges. The 3G and 4G phones work on the Android operating system. They are equipped with eSpeak open source software speech synthesiser for Malayalam, English, Hindi, and Tamil. Reading, news, recreation, online shopping, bill remittance, banking, studies all are possible through special software on the phone. Talking route maps will help them reach various destinations.

The phones will also be of huge help to those preparing for competitive examinations. Money reader will help them identify currency.

Training is being given to the beneficiaries in using the phone and understanding its possibilities. Master trainers will train the beneficiaries as soon as the distribution of the phones in the districts is completed.

Source: The Hindu

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