The Reserve Bank of India informed the Bombay High Court on Friday that a mobile application is being developed to help visually impaired and blind persons identify the denomination of currency notes.
A division bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice NM Jamdar was hearing a petition filed by the National Association of the Blind (NAB) seeking directions to the RBI to include distinctive features in the new currency notes and coins for the visually impaired and blind.
Senior Counsel Shyam Mehta appeared on behalf of the central bank and advocate Uday Warunjikar appeared on behalf of the petitioner.
Warunjikar had earlier submitted that the new currency notes and several new coins introduced by the RBI were not user-friendly for the visually-impaired and blind. In the earlier notes and coins, there were marks, even the size of currency notes and coins used to differ with the denomination. This is not applicable to the new notes and coins, Warunjikar had argued.
Mehta on Friday told the bench that the RBI had constituted a four-member expert committee in February to develop the said mobile application. Out of the new currency notes which are in circulation, denominations of Rs. 100 and above already have “tactile markers and embossments” to help the visually challenged identify the denominations of these notes, Mehta said.
But these markers and embossments often fade with usage, therefore, the new software would be of significant help for the visually impaired. The said software will also be available on all mobile devices free of charge, Mehta submitted.
In an earlier hearing on January 14, the court had asked the RBI to examine currencies of developed countries like the US Dollar, British Pound and Euro in order to develop distinctive features that would make notes more ‘user friendly’ for the visually-impaired and blind. The court reiterated this suggestion again and asked the RBI to examine currencies of other countries.