The Reserve Bank of India is planning to implement a mobile phone-based solution that will help visually impaired persons identify banknotes easily. Banknotes of denominations Rs 100 and above currently have intaglio printing-based identification marks. The RBI had already started analysing the feasibility of developing such a technology. They had officially announced about these developments in June 2018. The RBI has now released a tender to find vendors for developing such a mechanism.
As per the requirements of RBI, the technology should be able to identify the denomination ideally within 2 seconds by using a hand-held device. The user will have to hold the note in front of it/near it/inserted in it/ scrolled across it, after which the device should read out the denomination in English/Hindi. It could be a Software which runs on a mobile phone, could be a separate device or it could be a combination of both. The Software should be able to run in an offline mode as well. The hardware device should be rechargeable and handy. No additional light source including daylight should be required to operate the device. It should be made clear that the device/mechanism does not guarantee the authenticity of banknotes. If it does authenticate banknotes, the service provider must specify the same separately.
As per the old criteria for blindness that was introduced in 1976, a person who is unable to count fingers from a distance of 6 meters was considered blind. This definition was recently changed as per WHO standards and now, a person who is unable to count fingers from a distance of 3 meters is considered blind. Due to this change in definition, the number of blind people in India has reduced from 1.20 crore to 80 lakhs according to National Blindness survey 2007 data.
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