Volume 7 Issue 5 - March 01, 2010
“We cannot have inclusive growth unless disability is made an integral part of our growth,” Vinnie Mehta
Vinnie Mehta, Executive Director, M.A.I.T.
Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (M.A.I.T.) plays an influential role in the Indian I.T. sector. Of late, M.A.I.T. has enthusiastically participated in the meetings of the Drafting Committee of the National Policy on Electronic Accessibility. In an interview with D.N.I.S., Vinnie Mehta, Executive Director, M.A.I.T., talks about I.T. sector’s growing sensitization towards disability, the road ahead and much more.
D.N.I.S.: Please tell us about Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (M.A.I.T.).
Vinnie Mehta: Set up in 1982 for purposes of scientific, educational and I.T. industry promotion, M.A.I.T. today has emerged as an effective, influential and dynamic organisation. Representing I.T. hardware, training, R&D, and associated services in India, M.A.I.T.’s. charter is to develop a globally competitive Indian I.T. industry, promote the usage of I.T. in India, strengthen the role of I.T. in the nation’s socio-economic development and promote business through international alliances.
D.N.I.S.: M.A.I.T. has supported the draft National Policy for Electronic Accessibility. Your views on the policy?
Vinnie Mehta: Firstly, I think such a policy is long overdue. We cannot have an inclusive growth unless a significant proportion of our population (around 70 odd million), which is disabled, is not made an integral part of our growth. I.T./Electronics has a great potential to break the barriers of the physical world. We believe by making I.T./Electronics products and services accessible to all, especially to disabled people, we can provide them with equal opportunities so that they can also make meaningful contribution to the society and the economy. The policy should be broad and flexible so that it can address challenges of today as well as those of the future - both human and technological.
D.N.I.S.: How do you envisage this policy to change the lives of disabled people in India?
Vinnie Mehta: Making a policy is only the first step, the bigger challenge is that of implementation. I hope that all the respective stakeholders will do their bit, in all earnest. Further, the system of monitoring the implementation should be robust so that the vision of ‘Access for All’ will be achieved sooner rather than later. This policy will provide an opportunity to people with disabilities to live their lives independently and meaningfully.
D.N.I.S.: The I.T. sector has been a lot more sensitive to disability issues and yet the progress is still very slow. Your views?
Vinnie Mehta: This is somewhat unfortunate. There are some companies, but only a few, who have made some attempt in this direction. We need to strengthen our efforts in spreading awareness on such an important issue. We need to create incentives/subsidies for disabled people to be able to access I.T./electronics products and services at affordable prices. Last but not the least, hopefully a fair implementation of the policy will bring about a transformation in due course.
D.N.I.S.: What other changes would you like to see in the I.T. sector vis-à-vis disability issues?
Vinnie Mehta: Focus on business with a human face!
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