Help the blind differentiate between currencies: Letter to RBI

Oct 12, 2017, 20:40 IST | Pallavi Smart

Imagine handing over a Rs 500 note to an auto driver instead of Rs 20 and realising the error only after the vehicle has left

Imagine handing over a Rs 500 note to an auto driver instead of Rs 20 and realising the error only after the vehicle has left. This nightmare is a reality for over 50 lakh visually impaired people in the country. Since there is little to no way to perceive the difference between various currency denominations, especially notes, the Blind Graduate Forum of India (BGFI) has raised the issue with the Central authorities. The forum has submitted a list of such issues that the blind face on a regular basis to the RBI, the finance ministry and PM Modi.

One of the meetings held by BGFI recently

An online petition has also been started seeking the support of countrymen in making Indian currency more easily perceivable.  Following the note ban move almost a year ago, the RBI had said that new currency denominations would have lines along the side (also known as bleed lines) to help the visually impaired differentiate between the notes. But, if these lines were designed into the new notes, they seem to have faded.

The petition started on, states, "Totally blind people need different sizes of notes and tactile marks that can be easily felt by touch. Low vision individuals need contrast colours and large font. Most of our bank notes and coins are difficult for the blind to identify. The new notes have multiplied the challenge. Digital currency still remains inaccessible though they can use computers and apps using assistive technology. The blind community inIndiaappeals to the Finance Ministry, the RBI and the PM to make all modes of monetary transactions accessible for every person."

BGFI chief Vishal Jain said, "A promise was made to a committee comprising blind citizens earlier that sufficient size difference for notes and coins will be maintained irrespective of cost implication. Regrettably the promise has not been honoured." 


Visually impaired people from the city lament that they mostly have to depend on honest citizens to avoid being robbed. City-based professional Ummehaani Bagasrawala said, "I was almost giving away a R500 note instead of R20, recently. It was when the auto driver asked me if I was sure about handing over that note that I realised the mistake. The driver’s integrity saved me a lot of money that day. But, how do I depend on others?"

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