`Swarajability': India's first AI-powered job portal for PwDs launched in Hyderabad

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

By Newsmeter Network  Published on  5 Feb 2022 5:35 AM GMT
`Swarajability: Indias first AI-powered job portal for PwDs launched in Hyderabad

Hyderabad: Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India, Prof. K. Vijay Raghavan, soft-launched (beta version) India's first AI-powered accessible job portal for persons with disabilities (PwDs).

For this high-impact and important project, different organizations with different competencies have come together. While IIT Hyderabad (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% of them are unemployed/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. The importance of creating this platform is 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. It is a one-stop center 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. Speaking at the occasion were Meera Shenoy, Founder-CEO, Youth4Jobs; Jayesh Ranjan IAS, 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.

Prof Vijay Raghavan delivered the keynote address, congratulated IIT Hyderabad, Youth4Jobs, and Kotak Mahindra Bank for coming together for a very critical cause. He 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. He added that critical feedback be taken on the beta version with the goal of making it a widely used platform.

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