March 2008

ICT tools for Disabled and Underprivileged

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Introduction
The word 'disabled' is now used universally to indicate human limitations in any form, be it physical, mental, sensory or cognitive. Both clinical and social models of disability emphasises upon integration and assimilation of socially, neurologically and psychologically challenged people in the mainstream society. The word  'underprivileged' also refers to people who are compounded with problems and  socio-economic handicaps. To vindicate the disabled and underprivileged, the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as an enabler has expanded beyond imagination and, as a result, the search for paradigms to exploit its limitless capabilities.

Stephen Hawking and the device developed for him to communicate his ideas to the world was just an example of how ICT has been a boon. The advent of the WWW has opened up possibilities for people to keep in touch with the world. The e-Mail has made inter-personal communication commonplace. VoIP and video-transmission have made knowledge accessible in homes. Cyber-cafes and reasonably-priced PC and laptops have mushroomed even in small towns. Broadband connectivity is on the rise. These are some of the exciting developments in ICTs over the past decade with many more coming up every second.

But, where are we in as far as exploitation of ICT is concerned

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