Online library opened to address shortage of Braille books

On the occasion of Louie Braille’s 203rd birthday, also known as World Braille Day, a special function was organised by the National Institute of the Visually Handicapped (NIVH) and Xavier’s Research Centre for the Visually Challenged (XRCVC) at the Ali Yaver Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped in Bandra Reclamation.

A major initiative designed to boost the education of the visually challenged, in the form of the Online Braille Library was launched. Union minister for social justice and empowerment, Mukul Wasnik was the chief guest.

K Ramkrishna, general secretary of the National Association for the Blind, said, “There are 2,82,800 visually challenged people seeking education in the country. Out of that, only about 29,000 get a regular supply of Braille books,” he said. He added that even though India has a Braille printing capacity of 13 crore pages annually, only about 2 crore Braille pages get printed every year.

The reason for this disparity, said Ramkrishna, was the extra cost of printing in Braille. “Because of the extra pages, special paper and cost of editing a page in Braille is six and a half times more expensive to print than a normal page.”

After this sobering perspective, the website was formally launched. Dipendra Manocha, director of the NGO Sakham, spent some time going through the various features of the website which would alleviate some of the problems outlined by Ramkrishna. The website would grow to have 12,000 books in 13 different languages.

Wasnik said that his own ministry had made its website accessible to the visually challenged and that the finance ministry had followed suit. “I’ve asked all other ministries to do the same, but it will take some time,” he said.

 DNA Published Date:  Jan 05, 2012

Post Script:

The link for Online Braille Library National Institute for the Visually Handicapped  (Under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Govt. of India is http://www.oblindia.org/en/login

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