The Reserve Bank of India has launched a mobile app for aiding visually impaired persons to identify the denomination of Indian banknotes.
“Indian banknotes contain several features which enable the visually impaired (colour blind, partially sighted and blind people) to identify them, viz., intaglio printing and tactile mark, variable banknote size, large numerals, variable colour, monochromatic hues and patterns,” the RBI said in a statement.
The app, named Mobile Aided Note Identifier(MANI) was launched by the RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das on Wednesday (January 1). “Technological progress has opened up new opportunities for making Indian banknotes more accessible for the visually impaired, thereby facilitating their day to day transactions,” the top bank added.
The app offers the following features, according to the RBI:
- The app is capable of identifying the denominations of Mahatma Gandhi Series and Mahatma Gandhi (New) series banknote by checking front or reverse side/part of the note including half folded notes at various holding angles and the broad range of light conditions (normal light/daylight/low light/ etc.).
- The app has the ability to identify the denomination through audio notification in Hindi/English and non-sonic mode such as vibration (suitable for those with vision and hearing impairment).
- After installation, the mobile app does not require internet and works in offline mode.
- Ability to navigate the mobile application via voice controls for accessing the application features wherever the underlying device and operating system combination supports voice-enabled controls.
- The app is free and can be downloaded from the Android Play Store and iOS App Store without any charges/payment.
- The mobile app does not authenticate a note as being either genuine or counterfeit.
After demonetisation in November 2016, the RBI introduced many currency notes, under the Mahatma Gandhi New Series. However, visually-challenged people reportedly faced issues in identifying these new currency notes.
The RBI has been leveraging technology for various initiatives. Recently, the top bank also introduced a new Prepaid Payment Instrument (PPI) for retail payments. This was aimed at enhancing the user experience and driving small-ticket retail digital payments in the country.
The new PPI can be used only for making retail payments like the purchases of daily household goods and services, and not fund transfer.
RBI had said that PPI can be issued by banks and existing non-banking PPI players, where the companies can verify customers credentials to open their PPI accounts using a one time password (OTP) sent to user’s registered mobile number along with official valid document listed in the ‘Master Direction – Know Your Customer (KYC) Direction.’