Access India Meet-Up, 16 May 2009

Posted by Sanchia de Souza at May 18, 2009 10:30 AM |
We reproduce a brief report on the meeting of the Access India mailing list hosted at the office of the Centre for Internet and Society on 16 May 2009, between 2.00 pm and 5.00 pm.

The second annual meeting of the members of the Access India mailing list (Bangalore chapter) was held at the office of the Centre for Internet and Society office on 16 May 2009. The meeting was attended by 28 participants.

The agenda included a presentation by representatives from AreaPal, a Bangalore-based social networking group founded by students. AreaPal allows users to locate and connect with people on the basis of their area and neighborhood. It is a genuine neighbourhood networking service. Apart from that, they also provide user-generated news, events and marketplace based information about a user’s area. For further information, please visit

This was followed by a presentation by representatives from 3I Infotech, a company which recently launched e-Mudhra, an initiative to roll out digital signatures. The main focus of the discussion was the accessibility of their product. For additional information, please visit

The next presentation scheduled was by representatives from iVolunteer, an organization that matches volunteers seeking volunteering opportunities with organizations and individuals looking for volunteers in Bangalore. To learn more about the organization, please visit

The final presentation was an introduction to Inclusive Planet. Inclusive Planet is in the process of building the largest online portal for disabled persons in India. It is intended to be a comprehensive portal containing various resources including employment resources, educational resources, a match-making channel, accessible books section, discussion boards, resources for medical facilities, sports and entertainment center, etc. Please visit

One of the participants wrote a report on the meeting for the mailing list, and we reproduce this below:

The Bangalore offline Access India meeting, which took place today at the CIS (Centre for Internet and Society) campus, was a resounding success. About 30 AI members from different parts of the country were present to listen to four presentations made by IVolunteer, 3i Infotec, Area Pal and Inclusive Planet. All the presenters spoke about their services/products/organisations, and this proved to be useful for those present. For instance, the IVolunteer presentation opened the way for many to request volunteer help (as disability services is one of 12 areas for which the organisation helped with volunteers). Obviously, those present were interested in volunteers willing to read/scan books for them and other similar services.

Interestingly, the idea of digital signatures, which the 3i Infotec representative dealt with, prompted discussion on using digital signatures as a means of certifying disabled persons who wanted to buy railway tickets online. Sanjeev, the representative, was positive that this can be done.

Kavi Raj, who is from Area Pal, explained how their online platform linked people in the same neighbourhood/campus helped them exchange news and information relevant to them. Rounding up the interesting evening was Sachin from Inclusive Planet, who spoke about, an accessible online space where (visually impaired) people can upload/download books and share the books they have. He said the site already contains about 15,000 ebooks and asked for contributions. Inclusive Planet, which looks at services from the disability perspective, is poised to introduce spaces for restaurant/public place ratings (on the basis of their accessibility) and matrimonial services for the disabled where the emphasis will be on their abilities. 

The evening was made more fun and interesting by our hostess Nirmita Narasimhan (attending on behalf of CIS), who introduced her organisation to the audience and gave us a chance to hear each other's voices for the first time (by letting us introduce ourselves). Thanks to Nirmita and Geetha's efforts and hard work, the event was a success. And, of course, we shouldn't forget the space and snacks provided by CIS and the wonderful support their staff provided in escorting us back and forth in the office building.