Microsoft hosts its first-ever Accessibility Summit in India

Microsoft hosts its first-ever Accessibility Summit in India

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Microsoft India hosted its first-ever Accessibility Summit (#ThinkAccessAbility) in the country to enhance technology access for people with disabilities. The summit aimed at demonstrating the business value of accessible technology for organizations, the need for a collaborative effort as well as assessing policy’s role in creating an accessible India. The summit brought together leaders from the government, non-profit organizations, filmmakers, entrepreneurs and budding technologists to present their views and best practices around accessibility and technology’s potential in aiding inclusion. Shri Navreet Kang, Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Government of India said, “We believe that inclusion of persons with disabilities is imperative for India’s growth. It is therefore, critical that we empower them with equal access and opportunity. We look forward to public-private partnerships that can enable better social inclusion and help people with disabilities achieve more.” Speaking at the summit, Shri Jayesh Ranjan, IT Secretary, Department of IT, Electronics & Communication, Government of Telangana said, “Our vision is to ensure that persons with diverse abilities have equal access to the physical environment, transportation, information and communication technologies, and to other facilities and services. The Microsoft Accessibility Summit provides an ideal platform to bring together policymakers and influencers to understand the policy environment and chart a direction for making life, experiences and opportunities accessible to all.” Through a series of constructive sessions, the conference focused on the role of technology in creating accessible businesses, scalable and sustainable models for skilling youth with disability. It also examined how assistive technologies can help in treating Autism Spectrum Disorders and Special Learning Disabilities (SLD). There was a special focus on the need for regulatory policies for innovation on accessible technologies and inclusive hiring practices. These interactions also provided insights into regulations, specifications and standards in terms of accessibility along with an understanding of optimization of existing hardware and software configuration to drive accessibility. Shri M. Jagadeeshwar, IAS, Department of Women and Child Development, Government of Telangana also contributed to the discussions as part of the summit.

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