Take 5: 'I work on trust… Once, I almost gave Rs 2,000 for an auto ride instead of Rs 10'
On January 1, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das launched a mobile application, MANI (Mobile Aided Note Identifier), to help visually impaired people identify currency denomination. The app is available for free download.
Ankur Gupta, a visually impaired 28-year-old working as an assistant manager in a bank in Rohini
Do you know about the app?
I am associated with Saksham (an NGO working primarily with visually impaired people), where a workshop was held by RBI (to test the app)… I have been using it since October last year. I find it very useful.
Does it work well?
When I hold a note facing the back camera of my phone, the app scans it for a couple of seconds and announces the denomination. If it is unable to scan, it makes a beep. The app scans all the paper notes. However, it does not scan coins. It also has a feature for the deaf and dumb — with vibrations indicating the denomination.
Has the app been useful?
It is a wonderful initiative by RBI… Recently, paper notes have changed. It is very difficult for people like me to get used to the new notes. For example, the older version of the
Rs 10 note is almost the same size as the new Rs 2,000 note. Once, I almost gave Rs 2,000 to an autorickshaw driver instead of Rs 10. The new notes also lack clear indications to help the visually impaired identify them, while earlier, one could make out a note by touch.
Prior to the app, how did you identify notes?
Mostly, I worked on trust. I took help from friends and strangers. But that is risky. They (RBI) say the notes have lines in them. But these lines are so faint one cannot touch and figure them out.
Can the app be made more user-friendly?
The app is more or less flawless. But if it can help identify coins, it would be helpful. Also, the interface of the app is a bit slow.