Note Identifying App For Visually Impaired People To Be Offline: RBI

Mumbai: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Friday told the Bombay High Court that an internet connection would not be required for its proposed mobile application which would help visually impaired people identify currency notes.

RBI counsel Venkatesh Dhond told a division bench of Chief Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Bharati Dangre that a Beta version of the app would be released on November 1.

“After receiving feedback from the concerned parties, a final version of the app would be released. The app would not require an internet connection,” Dhond said.

Referring to the communication restrictions in Kashmir, the court had on Thursday sought to know how the RBI’s proposed app would help the visually impaired people to identify the currency notes in such situations.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the National Association of the Blind (NAB), claiming new currency notes and coins issued by the central bank posed difficulty for the visually impaired people in terms of identifying and distinguishing them.

The bench was on Friday informed by the Union Government Mint that new coins in denominations of Rs 20, 10, 2 and Re 1 have special marks which would help the visually impaired persons in identifying them.

The new coins would be released in the market by November, the court was told.

These coins were submitted to the bench for inspection and also to a few visually impaired petitioners present in the court.

When the petitioners were able to successfully identify the coins, Chief Justice Nandrajog said, “We are moving in the right direction.”

The court, however, noted that the size of the coins was getting smaller.

“The coins are getting smaller by the day. The new Rs 20 coin looks like a Re 1 coin. The new Re 1 coin looks like the one paisa coin we had in the past,” Chief Justice Nandrajog observed.

The bench further said the size and other features of the coins and notes should not change.

“The idea is to maintain the security features, but at the same time not cause problems to the visually impaired persons. A visually impaired person trains himself to identify notes and coins by touch,” it said.

The bench posted the petition for further hearing on November 4.

In the next hearing, the RBI said it would demonstrate to the court the functioning of its proposed app.