‘Access To Financial Service To Visually Impaired Is Like Fighting A Battle’

Visually impaired people have physical, technological and informational constraints in accessing the banking, financial and stock market services.
“Only a few of them have availed the banking and financial services after a long efforts and struggle with the respective company while many of us are deprived of the basic financial activities,” Senior Vice-president of Nepal Association of the Blinds (NAB) Khom Raj Sharma said while speaking at an interaction on the issue organised by Nepali Association of Financial Journalists (NAFIJ) in collaboration with his organisation.
He said that it’s like fighting a battle with the bank and financial institutions (BFIs) to get the digital banking and financial services.
According to him, many banks even don’t consider the people with disability as their customers. It was the result of the lack of proper policy, discriminatory policy and lack of awareness in the part of financial businesses.
“There is a problem in the use of Connect IPS due to the provision of captcha. There are constraints in demat, Mero Share and online banking while the citizen charters at the companies are not suitable for the visually impaired,” said Sharma.
He urged the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) to immediately send directives to the BFIs to facilitate the visually impaired people in accessing the financial services.
“There should be monitoring from the regulators to check if the people with disability are easily getting access to the financial services,” he said.
Responding to the recommendations and demands of the NAB, Deputy Governor of the Nepal Rastra Bank Bam Bahadur Mishra said that the present policy provisions have ensured equal rights and access of all Nepali people to the banking and financial services.
“If any company discriminates any individual just because he/she is a persona with disability, it is subject to punishment,” he stated and urged the BFIs not to deprive any one of the service.
Chairman of the Securities Board of Nepal (SEBON) Bhisma Raj Dhungana said that the share market could be an important sector to include the people with disability in shares transactions and help them in financial growth.
“The CDS and Clearing, and NEPSE should revise their online web-based system to allow the visually impaired people to conduct transactions efficiently,” he said while suggesting a strong inter-agency and inter-regulator collaboration to address the demands of the people with disability.
Training and awareness to the employees of the BFIs and stock market agencies like NEPSE, CDSE, brokers, merchant bankers, NCHL are needed for the sensitisation of the issue, he stated.
Chief Executive Officer of NEPSE Chandra Singh Saud said that the regulators should create policy and legal provisions and the executing agencies should follow it in a good spirit for the greater financial inclusion.
Likewise, President of the Nepal Bankers Association Bhuwan Dahal said that NBA was concerned to the issues and there were many things to do in order to create environment where visually impaired people easily access the banking services.
“We may need to mobilise the CSR fund in this regard as well,” he said and suggested to form a task force to find a solution.
President of Merchant Bankers Association Mekh Bahadur Thapa said that the organisation has taken the issue seriously and will take necessary steps in the days to come. “We will try to work to increase the physical, technological and informational accessibility of people with disability,” he said.
Similarly, President of Nepal Stock Brokers Association Santosh Mainali stated that the brokers were ready to address the complexities in the software system that constraints the access of visually impaired people to the share transactions and transfer of funds.
Chairman of the Development Bankers Association Pradhyumna Pokharel pledged his commitment to make reforms in the internal policy provisions to increase the financial inclusion and increase the access of visually impaired people to the services.