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RBI selects vendor for developing app to help visually impaired identify currency notes

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Moving ahead with its plan to enable visually impaired people identify currency notes, the Reserve Bank of India has selected a vendor to develop a mobile phone based application for them.

The RBI on September 6 had told the Bombay High Court that an internet connection would not be required for its proposed mobile application which would help visually impaired people identify currency notes.

As many as 16 vendors had shown interest in developing the mobile phone based application and five made to “final ranking”, said a RBI document.

Daffodil Software Pvt Ltd has been selected to develop the application, it added. At present, banknotes in the denominations of Rs 10, 20, 50, 100, 200, 500 and 2,000 are in circulation, besides Re 1 notes issued by the Centre.

Identification of banknote denomination is key to successful completion of cash-based transactions by visually impaired persons. Intaglio printing based identification marks for helping the visually challenged in identification of banknotes denomination are present in the notes of Rs 100 and above.

After demonetisation of old Rs 500/1,000 notes in November 2016, new banknotes in design and sizes have been put in circulation.

“The Reserve Bank of India has been sensitive to the challenges faced by the visually challenged in conducting their day to day business with Indian banknotes,” the central bank had said while scouting for a vendor to develop the mobile application.

The proposed mobile app would be able to identify the denomination of notes of Mahatma Gandhi Series and Mahatma Gandhi (New) series by capturing the image of the notes placed in front of mobile camera, the RBI said while inviting bids from tech firms to develop the app.

The app will also generate “audio notification” intimating the currency note denomination to the user if image is captured correctly, else intimating the user to try again in case of image is not readable. There are about 80 lakh blind or visually impaired people in the country, who are likely to benefit from the initiative of the central bank.

In June 2018, the central bank had stated that it would explore the feasibility of developing a suitable device or mechanism for aiding visually impaired in the identification of Indian banknotes.

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