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Photo: Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot launching the 100 accessible websites at the ‘National Conference on Improving Accessibility’/ Credit: Press Information Bureau of India (http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1517187)

Photo: Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot launching the 100 accessible websites at the ‘National Conference on Improving Accessibility’/ Credit: Press Information Bureau of India (http://pib.nic.in/PressReleseDetail.aspx?PRID=1517187)

Indian Government working towards making 917 State Government websites accessible for the disabled

To empower Persons with Disabilities, 100 accessible websites of various State Governments/Union Territories (UTs) were launched last week under the Accessible India Campaign.

This is part of a “Website Accessibility Project” for State Government/Union Territories (union territories are administered directly by the central government) initiated by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan or DEPwD) under Accessible India Campaign [1]. The Project is being executed by ERNET India, an autonomous scientific society under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY). It aims to make a total 917 websites accessible and now 100 accessible websites have been made accessible under the project. The Project is funded by DEPwD.

People with disabilities can perceive, understand, navigate, and interact with the Web, and also contribute to the Web through accessible websites. The websites are made accessible by making them compliant with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) published by the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the main international standard organisation for the World Wide Web.

The founding principles of the guidelines state that information and user interface components must be presentable to user in ways they can perceive, user interface components and navigation must be operable and information and the operation of user interface must be understandable. Moreover, content must be robust enough that it can be interpreted reliably by a wide variety of user agents, including assistive technologies.

The guidelines establish three levels of accessibility on basis of which websites are designed, namely: 1) Level A: This Indicates the basic level of accessibility that any web page must have; 2) Level AA: This indicates an intermediate level of accessibility that any web page should have; and 3) Level AAA: This indicates the highest level of accessibility that any web page can achieve.

Examples of steps taken would be providing appropriate alternative text; captioning videos; providing transcripts for audio; making all documents (e.g., PDFs) accessible; ensuring that colour is not the only visual means of conveying information, indicating an action, prompting a response, or distinguishing a visual element; and making sure content is structured, clearly written and easy to read.

[1] The Accessible India Campaign is a nation-wide Campaign for achieving universal accessibility for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). This includes physical accessibility to built environments and transportation systems, as well as accessibility to the Information and Communication Eco-System.

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