A majority of the ATMs, along with public bus stands and state government’s websites, especially those which deal with public utility services, are not disabled-friendly in Goa, states a recent GIM-CII study.
According to the 2011 census, two percent of the population in Goa comprises persons with disabilities, and accessibility still remains a challenge in the various aspects of an individual’s day-to-day life. Therefore, to address this, the Goa Institute of Management (GIM) conducted the survey and audit over a span of seven months.
Explaining more about the findings, professor V Padmanaban said, "The ATM audit covered 100 randomly chosen cash-dispensing kiosks in rural and urban parts of Goa, and the findings indicate that faulty error messages or audio cues, lack of Braille-powered ATMs, improper ramp designs and complicated transactions were major issues."
The GIM-CII study has recommended that each locality should have at least one fully disabled-friendly ATM.
The bus stands are crucial for mobility for people without access to private transportation, particularly the elderly or persons with disabilities from low income groups.
The audit reveals that the design and functionality of bus stands should meet the needs of its diverse and less privileged user base.
BUS STANDS IN GOA
Ten bus stands, including the busiest KTC bus stand in Panjim and the Porvorim depot were audited.
Most bus stands were found lacking in basic accessibility features due to poor construction, lack of communication channels and awareness of disability-related issues.
The audit also identified gaps, including lack of funds for training workshops, unfilled reserved seats in Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) for disabled persons and a lack of awareness among disabled students about career opportunities, leading to such individuals being relegated to back-end roles in the industry.
GOVERNMENT WEBSITES IN GOA
Lastly, an accessibility audit of 50 public utility websites, owned by the Goa government, found that most were not user-friendly for persons with disabilities.
Official websites of ‘Fire and Emergencies Services’ and ‘River Navigation' departments reported a score of 3.12 and 3.85 respectively making them the two most unfriendly websites for persons with disabilities.
The Goa Tourism Development Corporation (GTDC) website had a score of 6.13 with complaints regarding the photo-sensitive content, which according to the audit, could potentially lead to seizures in individuals prone to epilepsy.
The audit also advocated overhauling and streamlining the Goa Police website because of its unfriendly design and cluttered content, negatively impacting individuals who are visually impaired and those with cognitive disabilities.
The audit rated the websites on the parameters of ease of accessibility and quality of information.
STUDY AND FOCUS
The study focused on the needs of people with physical or mental disabilities, visual and hearing deficiencies.
The audit team identified the importance of incorporating special accessibility-friendly features into the websites.
According to immediate past chair of CII-YI and Director at Dempo Marketing Pvt Ltd, Vaikunth Dempo, the ‘Give Goa' project was a platform for nation-building activities.
"CII-YI, the youth wing of the Confederation of Indian Industry, has been working with GIM for 6-7 years, focusing on nation-building, thought and youth leadership. The projects include road safety, climate change and accessibility of public utilities," said Dempo.
He added, "These are selected through Young Indian’s mandate. GIM student leaders ideate and generate impactful ideas. Their white papers on the selected projects are taken to the authorities for solutions and campaigns, aiding the public and relevant authorities for the betterment of the country."