TIRUVANANTHAPURAM : The RBI has asked banks to provide wheelchair ramps in all ATMs. But, will the banks pay heed to this diktat remains to be seen, for, they ignored a similar RBI directive issued in 2009. The apex bank’s recent directive was issued, thanks to the determination of a physically-challenged woman government employee. K Fareeda Beevi, hailing from Karamana in the capital city, had opted for salary payment through the SBI.
Every single time, she needs the help of another person to withdraw money from ATM. So last year, Beevi raised her plight with the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC), which took cognizance of the matter seriously. Last December, Commission’s judicial member P Mohana Das directed the RBI to intervene and help the physically-challenged.Now, the RBI has informed the SHRC that it has directed all the banks, including the SBI, to install ramps in existing and new ATMs.
Earlier, the SBI had told the Commission that it is impractical to set up ramps in ATMs which mostly function in rented buildings. Rejecting this argument, the Commission pointed out that all stakeholders were obliged to obey the UN convention on the rights of persons with disabilities.
The Commission also cited a Supreme Court order that called for providing facilities for the physically challenged to enter all public buildings. In fact, the RBI had long ago started pitching for wheelchair ramps in ATMs. Way back in 2009, the RBI asked banks to provide wheelchair ramps in all ATMs and braille keypads in selected ATMs. But the banks are yet to act on the direction.