BHUBANESWAR, INDIA, May 2: The trend of plastic money has caught on with blind youths of the City. They staged a demonstration here on Monday against non-issuance of Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cards to them by commercial banks.
They protested policies of commercial banks that deprive them of their basic banking rights. Banks across the country not only issue ATM cards but also make the machines accessible, enabling customers with vision disabilities to operate them independently, they argued.
Lekharam Bhoi, secretary of the All Odisha Students’ Union of the Visually Impaired, said the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights (UNDHR), the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), calls for protecting the inherent dignity of persons with disabilities. He said denying youths the right to have an ATM card on basis of their disabilities is sheer discrimination.
“As per the Reserve Bank of India’s directive, all commercial banks should provide talking-facility with Braille keypads at one-third of the newly installed ATMs and place them strategically in consultation with other banks,” he said, adding that not many banks follow this directive.
Referring to Talking ATM machines installed in various other cities, the protestors said a person with disability plugs in a headphone and starts receiving instructions regarding the use of ATM.
Rejecting the viewpoint of the bank officials that people who are blind cannot protect ATM cards due to their disability, they said many normal ATM cardholders damage and lose their cards in broad daylight.
Later in the day, they met the State Bank of India officials over the issue.