Digital India Initiatives

Divyang friendly digital infrastructure in India


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: NA

Mains level: Divyanga friendly digital infrastructure, Government efforts so far


Central Idea

  • The estimation in Census 2011, that 2.21% of India’s population is disabled is a gross underestimation. According to the World Health Organization, about 16% of the global population is disabled. While technology has enormous potential to level the playing field for the disabled, it can, at the same time, reinforce the barriers that the disabled otherwise face if it is not designed with their needs in mind.

Crack Prelims 2023! Talk to our Rankers

Smartphone users with disabilities in India

  • It is difficult to determine the exact number of smartphone users with disabilities in India, as there is no specific data available on this.
  • However, according to the 2011 Census of India, there are approximately 2.68 crore (26.8 million) people with disabilities in the country.
  • India, it is reported, had 750 million Internet/smartphone users in 2020.
  • Applying the 16% figure here, this works out to be roughly 120 million (12 crore) Internet/smartphone users with disabilities.

A Report on Accessibility of Apps

  • Evaluation of the most widely used apps: A report that evaluates the accessibility of 10 of the most widely used apps in India, across five sectors. The apps were Zomato, Swiggy, PayTM, PhonePe, Amazon, Flipkart, Uber, Ola, WhatsApp and Telegram.
  • Goal for launching this report is to start discussion on digital accessibility: 1. Objective assessment of the digital accessibility of the apps. 2. To work with these service providers and help them design practices and processes that will not only improve app accessibility but also educate their stakeholders about accessibility and people with disabilities.
  • Findings of the report: Based on the number of violations, categories developed on the level of accessibility of the apps as high, medium and low. Report found that four out of the 10 apps ranked low, while five were in the medium category.


key efforts for Divyanga friendly digital infrastructure

  • Guidelines for Indian Government Websites: The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) has developed guidelines for making government websites accessible to people with disabilities. The guidelines cover various aspects of website design and development, such as colour contrast, keyboard accessibility, and assistive technology compatibility.
  • Accessible India Campaign/ Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan: The Campaign was launched by the government in 2015 to make public spaces, including government buildings, transportation, and information and communication technologies (ICT), more accessible to people with disabilities.
  • Bharat Interconnectivity Limited (BIL): BIL is a subsidiary of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) that provides accessible internet and telecom services to people with disabilities. It offers services such as audiobooks, sign language interpretation, and accessible websites and mobile applications.
  • National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH): NISH is an autonomous institute under the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. It provides training and research in the field of speech and hearing disabilities and also offers services like audiobooks and accessible software.
  • Making assistive technology more affordable and accessible: The government has also taken steps to make assistive technology more affordable and accessible to people with disabilities.
  • For example: The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities provides financial assistance to purchase assistive devices and the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) has been established to promote research and development of assistive technology.


Measures to improve the accessibility of digital services

  • Promoting education and awareness: Steps must be taken to raise awareness about the needs and capabilities of people with disabilities. This could include providing training to developers and designers on how to create accessible digital products and services.
  • Enforcing web accessibility standards: The government should ensure that all websites and mobile applications comply with web accessibility standards such as the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). This will make it easier for people with disabilities to access digital services.
  • Encouraging inclusive design: Designing products and services that are accessible to all users, including those with disabilities, should be an essential part of the design process. Companies and developers should be encouraged to incorporate inclusive design principles into their products from the beginning.
  • Conducting regular accessibility audits: Regular accessibility audits should be conducted to ensure that digital products and services are accessible to people with disabilities. This can help identify barriers and areas of improvement.


  • Core to the project of securing a more disabled friendly digital ecosystem must be the conviction that, everything digital must be accessible to everyone. This starts with incorporating the principles of accessibility and inclusive design into every digital offering, right from inception. India needs to be truly accessible for all people with disabilities. Organisations, companies, civil society, the government and the courts must make this happen.

Mains question

Q. Discuss the efforts of the Indian government towards creating a Divyanga-friendly digital infrastructure and suggest measures to improve the accessibility of digital services.

(Click) FREE 1-to-1 on-call Mentorship by IAS-IPS officers | Discuss doubts, strategy, sources, and mor

Get an IAS/IPS ranker as your 1: 1 personal mentor for UPSC 2024

Attend Now

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments


Join us across Social Media platforms.

💥Mentorship New Batch Launch
💥Mentorship New Batch Launch