Sugamya Pustakalaya, an online library for persons with visual disabilities, was launched by Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister for Law & Justice and Electronics & Information Technology, at a function organised by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi. Thaawarchand Gehlot, Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment, presided over the function. cropped-ebooks-624x245

Addressing the occasion, Mr  Prasad said that both  information and technology are game-changers for the future.  “Through Digital India, we are seeking to bridge the divide between the haves and the have-nots. We have linked Divyangjans with the common service centres in our country”, he added.

Thaawarchand Gehlot said that his Ministry is dedicated to the Sugamaya Bharat campaign and buildings in several Indian cities will be made accessible. Permission has been given to establish 18 new Braille printing presses. Prakash Javadekar in his address said, “HRD Ministry will provide just assistance to facilitate the Divyangjans in our country.” He said his first convocation address will be at the Divyang University at Chitrakoot.

Kishan Pal Gurjar said that Divyangjans don’t need the sympathy of the people but deserve their love, affection and support. “Through this launch of Sugamya Pustakalaya they will be able to get all valuable information”, he added. He also sought cooperation from publishers in this endeavour.

Over 6 lakh Divyangjans have been provided equipment and 4000 camps have been organized nationwide to facilitate and upgrade the lives of Digvaygjans and downtrodden sections of society. Permission has been given to establish 18 new Braille Printing Presses. The Divyang College in Trivandrum will also be converted into Divyang University. A new world record was created when 1500 Divyangans were provided equipment in Varanasi.

Ramdas  Athawale said that it is the prime responsibility of his Ministry to look after the interest and wellbeing of the Divyagjans and backwards sections of our society. “I hope that this initiative will achieve its objectives”, added Ramdas.

This can be part of creating history by creating the largest accessible online library in a developing country. Increase their reader base to include persons with print disabilities by sharing accessible formats of their publications to be put up on Sugamya Pustakalaya. The library already hosts publications such as Reader’s Digest and India Today and seeks to have new partnerships with a large number of private and government publishing house and publications. Textbooks production houses, state text book boards (SCERTs/NCERT) can meet their obligations under the Right to Education Act (2009) by providing their content to students with print disabilities through this platform. Sugamya Pustakalya will provide protection to books and limit distribution to only those who cannot read normal print.

Dipendra Manocha, Managing Trustee of Saksham Trust gave a brief introduction of E-library Sugamya Pustakalaya on the occasion. pns