Getting ready for a rainy day

Information dissemination is a key area our country has to focus on. Many of the policies and decisions designed by the government are unknown to the public as well as the several institutions serving them. Information asymmetry can be considered a major reason in India for the improper management of domain issues. This asymmetry affects people in many ways, from not knowing how to avail their basic needs and institutions failing to provide them.

Lalit Kumar Mishra is 18 years old and from a financially well-to-do farmer family. He is blind in one eye from Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP) since birth. He has studied in a mainstream school with support from his parents, teachers and friends. He has substantial vision in his other eye so he never needed any scribe, reader or special educator’s assistance in his education. After schooling he enrolled for graduation in Bachelor of Science (BSc) but losing interest and failing in couple of subjects he decided to leave the course and join Arts stream, which he did in the same college the very next year.

Lalit connected to Eyeway for the first time in 2016 getting to know about it from public domain. His call was another revelation to Eyeway that visually impaired people irrespective of marginalized or well-off are far removed from the process of information dissemination in the country. His better financial status was no assurance for him to have better awareness to fulfil his social and economic needs. This could also be out of ignorance but also a case of institutions taking no responsibility. Getting a debit card or furnishing a certificate is not easy for a visually impaired individual as it is for someone who is sighted. They still have to find government guidelines and notifications and produce it physically at many offices to fulfil their needs. There must be information centres in place which will keep the people abreast of the functions of institutions in place so that a contact number, notifications, email ids or building addresses are no more a mystery to the common man.

Lalit contacted Eyeway to get information on getting a debit card and a disability certificate which is integral to a disabled person. Our counselor promptly guided him with the RBI circular, RPWD guidelines and the contact information on the designated medical authority in his place of residence. Also, all the required documents needed to be produced at the time of applying for the disability certificate was conveyed to him. Counselor also enquired about his education during the conversation, guiding him with education and career options, technological aids which he could use to make studying easier etc. The counselor also forewarned him about the challenges ahead so that gets accustomed to them and braces for possible impediments.

It is just the beginning for Lalit and he hasn’t started thinking about a job, extent of education or a future broadly. He is still in the warmth of a financially secured family but challenges will abound with RP deteriorating his vision gradually. Eyeway hopes Lalit and his family gather information, training and the required skill set to foray into a more independent future.