The Indian Institute of Technology Hyderabad (IITH) has developed India’s first Artificial Intelligence-based job platform for persons with Disabilities (PwDs).

It will provide independence to persons with disabilities, through tech training and jobs. The platform is uniquely crafted using AI, for the benefit of the persons seeking employment having disabilities like visual impairment, hearing impairment, and locomotive disorders.

The platform will analyze the available information and suggest the required training needed for the concerned jobseeker.

It has been developed for both web and mobile versions for the maximum reach of the initiative.

Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India Prof. Vijay Raghavan, soft-launched (Beta-Version) of ‘Swarajability’ developed by IITH jointly with Youth4Jobs and Visual Quest with support from Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd.

Different organizations with different competencies have come together for the key project. While IITH gives its expertise for the AI component; Visual Quest India is the developer and Youth4Jobs brings its rich experience in skilling, disability, and job linkages. The project is funded by Kotak Mahindra Bank.

There are 21 million persons with disabilities in India. About 70 percent of them are unemployed or underemployed. The Right to PwD Act 2016 for the first time highlights the right of a person with a disability (PwD) to education and employment. This provides an opportunity for PwDs to get skilled and linked to jobs. However, one major challenge they face is that most of the existing platforms are inaccessible and not customized to the special needs of persons with disabilities.

According to the developers, the importance of creating this platform is that if the country is to meet its demographic dividend, the most vulnerable, like youth with disabilities, should be skilled and linked to sustainable opportunities.

Technology can facilitate this and ensure that no one is left behind. This customized job platform is named “Swarajability” as it gives independence to PwDs using technology, skills, and job linkages. It is an effort to include cutting-edge technology that allows persons with disabilities from all walks of life to join and explore job opportunities. Youth are given training that is tailored to their skills and knowledge, they said.

“It is a one-stop-shop for organizations that want to hire persons with disabilities. Also, it supports NGOs, educational institutions, and governments in their efforts to promote diversity and inclusion.”

Prof Vijay Raghavan emphasized the significance of rigorously testing technological innovations in both the software and hardware sector among groups of people who need them before these innovations are scaled up by the industry for a transformative impact. Furthermore, he added that it is important to remember the age-related subgroups of people with disabilities; children are a vulnerable group too and their disabilities should be considered.

Meera Shenoy, Founder-CEO, Youth4Jobs; Jayesh Ranjan Secretary, IT, Telangana government, Prakash Apte, Chairman, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Prof. B. S. Murty, Director, IITH, and Dr. Maunendra Desarkar, Associate Professor, Department of CSE & AI, IITH were present.

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