What is RPD?
About 2.1% of India’s population has some form of disability – that is an estimated 21 million people as of 2001.
The Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPD) Act is a disability legislation passed by the Government of India in 2016. It aims to prevent discrimination against people with disabilities and protect their rights.
How did RPD Evolve?
India was one of the first countries to ratify the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which came into force in 2008. The UN convention aims to protect the rights and freedom of persons with disabilities and promote respect for their dignity. India’s ratification of the UN convention was followed by the passing of the RPD in 2016.
What Are the Digital Accessibility Requirements According to RPD?
RPD extends to the area of digital accessibility as well. According to the act, both government and private organizations must ensure that:
- All audio, print, and electronic media are accessible to people with disabilities.
- Electronic media has supporting audio, closed captioning, and sign language interpretation.
- All electronic equipment and goods used daily are available in a universal design that can be used by people with disabilities.
- The specified website standards are adhered to.
- Documents placed on websites are in Electronic Publication or Optical Character Reader-based pdf format.
Who Is Covered by RPD?
RPD includes more than 15 disabilities, including intellectual disability and specific learning disabilities. Under this act, individuals with at least 40% of a disability are eligible for some benefits. An advantage of this act is that a minimum of 4 percent of jobs in the Indian government are reserved for people with disabilities.
Who Needs to Comply with RPD?
While the Indian government is required to reserve jobs for persons with disabilities, private entities need not do so. However, discrimination against a person because of their disability is illegal. RPD also requires organizations to create and make public an Equal Opportunity Policy for individuals with disabilities.
Who Is RPD Applicable to?
RPD applies to both the government as well as private establishments.
What is the Cost of Non-Compliance?
June 15, 2019 was the deadline for complying with the online website requirements. According to the act, the penalty for non-adherence is a fine of up to INR 10,000 when it occurs for the first time. Subsequently, the fine would be a minimum of INR 50,000. This could also extend up to INR 5,00,000.
The Way Forward
India has over 560 million Internet users. By 2023, there will be more than 650 million Internet users in India. As multinational corporations expand into this young and growing market, it is important for both the government and private organizations to consider the importance of web accessibility and pay attention to a rapidly growing market.
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