Differently abled can’t access some Bengaluru ATMs

Bengaluru City

Say lack of ramps and railings is inconvenient

Some Bengaluru ATMs are not disabled-friendly.

Kipisha Thakur, 32, informed The Observer: “I cannot climb the stairs since I am wheelchair- bound. I have to ask my mother to withdraw cash from the ATM.”

Devarsh Makhijani, a  Bengaluru resident who is blind, informed The Observer he can’t access ATMs as they don’t have Braille support. “It is difficult for me. I rely on net banking most of the time,” he shared.

Abha J, another wheelchair-bound person, said she can neither use an ATM nor can she reach it. “I can only manage UPI or net banking. If my network is not stable, it puts me in a difficult situation,” she added. 

What does she do when she urgently requires cash? “I have to ask my family or friends,” she replied.

Rukmati Dhiraj, a Mumbai resident, agrees with Abha. “I am entirely dependent on my immediate family if I have to access ATMs.” Asked about the RBI recommendation that one share ATM PINs with anybody, she laughed and replied: “Then how can people like me access ATMs? We have to ask for help.”

A press release by the RBI said: “To promote safe digital transactions among the general public it is reiterated that users should take care by (i) not sharing with anyone their ATM / Card  (Debit / Credit / Prepaid) details; (ii) not sharing their Password, PIN, OTP, CVV, UPI-PIN, etc.; (iii) avoid undertaking banking or other financial transactions.

The Observer noticed many ATMs around Bengaluru  that   either had a seven- or eight-step staircase or one big step.

According to the Rights of People with Disabilities Act, 1996, the government shall ensure that the persons with disabilities enjoy the right to equality, which includes the right to access ATMs.
Clause 1 of Article  45 says all public buildings shall be accessible in accordance with the rules formulated by the central government.

Anjali Agarwal from Samarthyam, an NGO, sighed with disappointment when asked about the Accessible India campaign. “Yes, the government has done some things to make many day-to- day things accessible for differently abled people, but it is still a long journey,” she said.

The Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) is a nationwide campaign for achieving universal accessibility for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). It is being implemented by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.

“It has been six years since we started the Sugamya Bharat Abhiyaan. Step by step we are implementing it,” said Niranjan Bhatt, Assistant Director of the Department of Empowerment of Differently Abled and Senior Citizens. 

Agarwal also talked about how accessibility is only on paper. “The campaign is to empower and make buildings, washrooms, transportation and many things accessible to the differently abled, but that is just on paper or some government website. A lot of differently abled people are still dependent on others not because of their own fault, but because of the government. They should speed up on the implementation,” she further said.

Manasa Devi, a consultant at the Department of Empowerment of Differently Abled and Senior Citizens shared she has empathy towards differently abled people. Her department is working towards their empowerment. “That is what we are for. The pace might be slow but we are doing it,” she said.

The Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan was launched on December 3, 2015, on the occasion of International Day of Disabled persons.



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