Karnataka being third highest in terms of ATM density with 29 ATMs per lakh population only 2% of it are talking-ATMs and only 1% with Braille keypads.
Chetan B S, who is visually impaired, has to turn to friends, family or colleagues for help. As ATMs do not have Braille keypad and only 2% are talking ATMs. Sometimes he even avoids going to ATMs and goes to banks for the same.
He says, “it’s really difficult for people like us to manage with the ATMs which are not talking ATM, next issue is with the keypad, the way they are designed are not for us (visually impaired) it’s very difficult for us, there should be Braille keypads so that we can touch and do the transaction”
Some of the ATMs are even on 1st floor or has stairs to enter, is barricade to the physically-challenged ones. There must be ramps to make it easy for them.RBI directions say all banks should convert all existing ATMs as talking ATMs with Braille keypads also ATMs with ramps so that wheelchair users and disabled can access them. Till date only 1% is being executed.
Swati Varadkar, Senior Manager, Branch operational Head, Axis bank said, “Yes we do not have these ATMs, actually these functional operational are outsourced now also given to agencies, so everything is regulated by the reconciliation team in Mumbai hence the branch has no watch on it. There might be a deadline for the same but we are notified yet.”
Talking ATMs come with their own problems – the sound is very low, making it impossible to hear without headphones. The instructions in the ATMs also seem to be complicated.
Mr. Sandesh H R, Chief trainer, EnABle India NGO stated, “The RBI is the regulating body it must regulate all such norms related to disables in all the banks. It is really very hard for the disabled to transact at the ATMs. We depend on non-disabled we may get cheated at places. There are several banks that are not even aware of these notifications or behave very careless about these norms. Though everything is so digitalized, we are using computers easily but still the ATMs are not made easy to use that is day to day usage. ”
The issues faced by hundreds of people like Chetan accessing the banking system have remained unresolved, though the system is being made simpler for the customers over the years.