TRAI consultation on easy telecom access to persons with disabilities

TRAI Chairman RS SharmaTelecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a consultation paper on making telecom and broadcasting services accessible for persons with disabilities (PwD) across the country.

The objective of TRAI is to assist persons with disabilities in accessing telecom and broadcasting services. 15 percent of the world’s population lives with some form of disability, of whom 2-4 percent experience significant difficulties in functioning.

The percentage of PwDs in India to the total population grew from 2.13 percent in 2001 to 2.21 percent in 2011 with 2.68 crore PwDs in the country.

TRAI questions

What are the challenges do PwDs face while accessing telecommunication and broadcasting services?

What are the reasons for the desired benefits of telecom and broadcasting not reaching the PwDs despite several policy measures and scheme being implemented?

What corrective measures can be taken by Government to enable better access to telecom and broadcasting services and devices to PwDs?

Apart from the measures suggested by ITU, what additional measures can be taken by the TSPs and equipment vendors/suppliers and other stakeholders to address the challenges faced by PwDs while accessing telecom and broadcasting services?

Should the Government/TRAI direct the telecom and broadcasting service providers to provide information pertaining to billing, usage, pricing and contracts in the form accessible to PwDs?

Should the Government/TRAI mandate that the devices used for watching television provided through cable, satellite/DTH, fibre, etc. should be made accessible to PwDs?

What steps India should take to ensure the adoption of international accessibility standards for telecom and broadcasting services and devices in India?

What additional measures can be taken or technologies can be deployed by service providers or equipment manufactures to assist PwDs?

Should device manufacturers be mandated to allow in their device’s operating system those applications which are meant to assist PwDs?

What measures can be taken in India so that emergency services are made more accessible for PwDs?

Should the implementation of these measures by TSPs be made mandatory by the Government?

Should the device/handset manufacturer be mandated to manufacture at least one model of handsets for PwDs which is having accessibility features and which are compatible with assistive technology features such as hearing and visual aids including emergency buttons?

How should companies be encouraged to utilise their CSR funds for development of applications, devices and services for the PwDs? What kind of devices and applications can be envisaged/designed to make achieve ICT accessibility for PwDs?

Should the Government offer incentives for the manufacturing and development of ICT tools and devices viz. tools for mobile accessibility, TV accessibility or for web accessibility for PwDs?