Braille Production Centers in India
Central Braille Press, Dehradun
Braille Production in India
Braille Literacy - For Many it is the Difference Between Employment and Poverty
When you hear about civil rights, equality, nondiscrimination, civil liberties and the like you are probably thinking about race and gender; but does disability come to mind? Especially, when it comes to employment and poverty. Here are some facts to consider when looking at equality and civil rights and liberties regarding people who are blind.
Blindness and Poverty Related Statistics
It is estimated that 1:3 people who have a disability between the ages of 18 and 64 live in poverty.
The percentage of adults ages 18-64 living with a disability and in poverty is 28.2% versus 13% of people living in poverty (18-64) without a disability. The number is staggering at a 15.2% difference.
65% of people were not living in poverty prior to their disability.
In 2011 the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development stated, America is the only free market where the current generation is less educated than the last generation.
Braille Literacy Statistics
The American Printing House for the Blind polls each state for data on children between the ages of 4 and 21. Their results are alarming, it is estimated that 60,400 students are attending public schools or public ran programs. Here is a breakdown of the literacy percentages for these children:
34.8% of students are identified as non-readers
9.2% of students are defined as auditory readers
18.3% of students are pre-readers (learning the reading basics)
29.2% of students are defined as print readers
8.5% are identified as Braille readers
Literacy goes beyond being able to read and write.
Literacy is the ability to use available symbol systems that are fundamental to learning and teaching – for the purposes of comprehending and composing—for the purposes of making and communicating meaning and knowledge
75% of people who are illiterate are on government assistance
In 1960 over 50% of students who were blind were literate in Braille.
Literacy is Crucial for Employment
Literacy is key for successful employment. The US Department of Labor has sited literacy problems as a $225 billion cost in loss of productivity, injuries and mistakes in businesses.
70% of adults who are blind are unemployed.
50% of High School students who are blind dropout before graduating.
Students who are blind and have low vision should be afforded the same rights as their peers. Poverty in the blind community is preventable by education. Literacy is the key to preventing poverty in the blind community. Literacy is the key to equality and providing people who are blind their civil rights.
It was found that those who learned to read using braille had higher employment rates and educational levels, were more financially self-sufficient, and spent more time reading than did those who learned to read using print. (The Impact of Braille Reading Skills on Employment, Income, Education, and Reading Habits, 1996)
While the above are mostly based on studies and statistics in the developed countries - unfortunately, no similar study or statistics could be located fr India - it can be strongly concluded that employability is strongly related to Braille literacy. According to a leading startup, the literacy rate among the visually impaired around the world is abysmal - 1% in India, 4% in the UK, and 10% in USA.
Braille Books in India - the Severe Lack thereof
In India, one of the biggest hurdles in the Braille literacy is the easy and cost-effective availability of the Braille Books. Again, no specific statistics is available except gross pointers (The Need for Braille Education in India for the Visually Impaired, 2020). However, several news reports over decades point to a deep shortage:
‘Study material’ worry for visually impaired students: With schools and colleges shut due to lockdown, visually-challenged students in the State are a worried lot, The New Indian Express, 2020
209th birthday of Louis Braille: Accessing Braille books a challenge for the blind: GST imposed on press machinery by the Centre has ensured the 20 Braille printing presses in India do not operate to full capacity, 2019
Expensive Braille books creates a problem for visually challenged students in Tamil Nadu: The books for these students cost at least 30 per cent higher than other normal editions, India Today, 2018
Visually challenged students face shortage of braille books, reading assistants, The visually impaired students have urged the Odisha government to provide them textbooks in Braille as in the case with high school students, The Indian Express, 2016
No braille textbooks for sightless college students in Odisha: Absence of braille textbooks have forced sightless college in Odisha to depend on either audio tapes or reading assistants, ToI, 2015
Ensuring availability of 'Braille' books: The Chairperson of the Commission, Dr. Justice A.S. Anand, had written to the Chief Ministers/Administrators of all States/UTs recently expressing the Commission's concern on the reported non-availability of books in Braille for the visually impaired students studying under the State Education Board. Justice Anand stated that the Commission is of the view that there is a need to ensure that the printing of books in Braille go simultaneously with the printing of regular books. In order to ensure timely availability of Braille Text Books, the services of high speed computerized Braille presses could be utilized, National Human Rights Commission (India), 2005
Hence, India needs to up its Braille production. In view of this the Braille Press Scheme was setup by GoI in 2014.
Braille Press Scheme
In pursuance of the provisions under Article 41 of the Constitution, the Central Sector Scheme of Support for Establishment/ Modernization/Capacity Augmentation of Braille Presses was started by DEPwD, MoSJE in the year 2014-15 to provide the Braille material and literature to the Persons with Visual Disabilities in India. From the year 2020-21, it has become part of “Scheme for Implementation of Persons’ with Disabilities Act (SIPDA)”.
Under the Braille Press scheme financial assistance has been provided to 27 Braille Presses in various States:
Establishment of New Braille Presses-12
Modernized Braille presses-12 and
Capacity Augmented of old Braille Presses – 03.
Apart from non recurring grant for setting up of new Braille Presses and Modernization/Capacity augmentation of existing Braille Presses, recurring grant has also been provided to the Braille Presses as per norms @Rs. 1.50/- (later revised to Rs. 2/- per page). Recurring financial assistance has been provided to 16 Braille Presses during operation of the existing scheme over the last seven years. These Braille Presses are supported for recurring grants for printing and providing text books and other course materials to the visually impaired school going children across the country.
The Objectives of the Scheme is to establish new Braille Presses in the state where strong organization are already present; to establish small scaled Braille printing presses in UTs and to modernize old Braille presses using traditional and low speed printing.
Under the Braille Press Scheme, the Department does not receive the proposal directly from the organizations/agencies for release of grant-in-aid. The same are routed through National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Visual Disabilities (Divyangjan) (NIEPVD), Dehradun.
Details of Grant-in-aid released to implementing agencies through Nodal Agency that is, NIEPVD, Dehradun during the last five years.
The total outlay for the scheme from FY 2016-17 to FY 2020-21 is Rs. 29.31 cr.
A Guide for Braille Presses of India
Accessible Books Consortium (ABC) has published a guide to facilitate Braille publications in India. Besides various technical issues like OCR, formatting, typesetting etc., the guide attempts to promote the production of braille from digital resources within the specific context of India’s copyright legislation.
In the remaining of the page, we present various Braille Presses in India.
Central Braille Press (CBP), Dehradun, India
Situated in one of the pristine parts of Dehradun known as the Rajpur Road, the Central Braille Press is the first press of its kind in India and one of the oldest braille presses in Asia. It was set up in Dehradun, Uttarakhand in 1951 after independence by the Government of India, Ministry of Welfare to make braille literature available to the blind.
This was followed by the setting up of NIEPVD (National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Visual Disabilities) in 1967 in an area of about 43 acres on Missouri-Dehradun Highway.
It is a training center for the blind.
Later, NIEPVD has established
Regional Braille Press (RBP) at Chennai 
Three Small Scale Braille Printing Units (SSBPU) at Shillong, Aizawl and Agartala [2009-10]
Fourth Small Scale Braille Printing Unit at Guwahati 
With the combined efforts of these Braille Presses, Braille literature in 14 languages - Assamese, Bangla, English, Garo, Hindi, Kannada, Khasi, Lusai, Nagamese, Punjabi, Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu - is being published
Central Braille Press is the largest producer of Braille text books in India.
Presses produce five magazines - Antarpath (Hindi) focusing on women, Braille Dhara (Hindi) on youth, Braille Chronicle (Hindi) on youth, Nayan Rashmi (Hindi) for the general masses, and Braille Paarvai (Tamil)
Text books from Class I to VI free of cost and at highly subsidized rates from Class VII and onwards
The Braille literature produced by the Central Braille Press (CBP), Regional Braille Press (RBP) and Small Scale Braille Printing Units, is supplied to the blind individuals and organizations at a highly subsidized rate.
These Units together produced 1,07,287 Braille Volumes and served over 50,709 individuals and institutions.
Central Braille Press has produced over 150 Braille slates and sold to institutions for the blind and blind individuals at about one-fifth the price of imported slates.
Apart from old printing machines, the Central Braille Press has Heavy Duty High Speed Computerized Braille Embosser like Braillo Braille Embosser and other modern printing machineries.
Large Print Unit
Institute established country's first large Print Press on 31st Mar 2012.
This unique Press provides school text books in large print fonts to low vision children in the States of Uttarakhand, Haryana, Union Territory of Chandigarh and Delhi.
This unit had produced 29,549 Large Print Volumes and served 22,527 individuals and organizations during 2017-18.
Braille Presses in States of India
Over the years several Braille presses have been setup by the Government and NGOs. An indicative list of those in given below according to different states.
NFB, North East Development centre, Pragati Byeland, Chandan Nagar Guwahati, Assam-28
Andhra Pradesh Vikalangula Co-ope. Corporation Deaf & Dumb School Campus Malkapet Hyderabad 500 036
Regional Braille Press Malkapet Hyderabad 500 036
Caring Aids for the Visually Impaired Gokul, 5-9-32/3 Basheerbag Hyderabad 500 029
Devnar Foundation for the Blind, Plot No. 185, Road No. 1,West Marredpally, Secunderabad- 500026
The Manager Govt. Braille Press Tifra Police Line Road Bilaspur 495 223 (Chattisgarh)
All India Confederation of the Blind (AICB) is a body of blind persons working for and with the blind community. It has a powerful Braille Press.
Set up in 1997 with assistance from the Norwegian Association of the Blind and Partially Sighted (NABP), also assisted by the Swiss Umbrella Association of the Blind (SNAB) the Press today is the largest Braille printing house in the country with many notable accomplishments to its credit. It has received Best National Braille Printing Press Award twice (2009 & 2012) from the Union Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment. Its unique features include:
5 high-speed Braille embossers, producing Braille at a speed of 400 to 1000 cps.
Produced 671 Braille titles running into 218076 volumes and 21403768 pages during last three years.
Made available school textbooks in Braille to 10 states: Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh at highly subsidized rates.
Made accessible to the blind, National Book Trust Publications in Braille in various languages at a price less than their print editions.
Brings out 12 periodicals in English, Hindi, Gujarati, Kannada, Marathi and Tamil languages.
Makim Memorial Braille Press Blind People’s Association of India Dr. Vikram Sarabhai Road, P.P. Polytechnic Ahmedabad 380 015
Mrs. R. S. Kalaria Braille Computerized Press Blind Men’s Welfare Association P. D. Malavia College Campus Gondal Road, Rajkot 360 004
NAB Surat District Branch C/o. Andhjan Shikshan Mandal Ghoddoud Road, Surat 395 007
National Federation of the Blind Braille Press Near Atam Sudhi Ashram Delhi Road, Bahadurgarh 124 507
Government Braille Press, Government Blind School Campus Tilak Nagar Sayaji Rao Road, Mysore
Braille Transcription Centre Canara Bank Relief & Welfare Society 27th Cross, Banashankari 2nd Stage Bangalore 560 070
Divya Jyothi Charitable Trust Braille Transcription Centre
It started in 2010 is engaged in transcription work of English and Kannada books into Braille for the benefit of visually impaired students. The center has the services of about 10 volunteers who function as readers of the books while 5 visually impaired students, specially trained in transcription, perform the task of drafting the text in Braille. The Center focuses on the transcription of books that are primarily on fiction, knowledge, education, and matters of general interest. All the transcribed books are either maintained in the organization’s library for all to read or donated to various institutions/ school run for the visually impaired. The organization runs a Braille training section where young visually impaired are trained in Braille. The center also focuses on training those who have lost their vision at a later point of time in their lives.
Door No 02 12th Cross, 8th Main Somanath Nagar, 3rd Stage Dattagalli, Mysore city, Karnataka India Pin: 570033
It was setup in Central College Campus in Feb. 2012 with the ambition of having the best assistive technologies available in the world today for its visually challenged students with disability such as blindness and low vision studying in its post-graduate departments and affiliated and autonomous colleges. The University intends to reach out to its visually impaired students in order to facilitate their process of pursuing higher education and enter the mainstream of society with self-confidence and dignity.
The modern printing facility that was recently set up with imported machines from Norway is capable of printing five lakh Braille copies per month
Shri Karthika Thirunal Shashtyabdapoorthy Memorial Braille Press Kerala Federation of the Blind Thiruvananthapuram 693 037
The Manager Kerala Federation for the Blind Kunuukuzhi Trivendrum Kerala
Government Braille Press M. P. State Government Panchayat & Social Welfare Directorate Marwari Lane Sadar Bazar Bilaspur
NAB M. P. State Brach Braille Press Building Scheme No. 54 A. B. Road, Behind Satya Sai Vihar School Indore 452 010
Computerized Braille Production Centre Arushi E-7/793 Arera Colony Bhopal 711 340
NAB Sir J. Duggan Braille Press 11, Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan Road Worli Seaface Mumbai 400 025
Indian Association for the Visually Handicapped IAVH Electronic Reading Centre for the Blind University Club House ‘B’ Road, Churchgate Mumbai 400 020
Poona Blind Men’s Association Braille Production Centre TTI Complex, 109, Dr. Helen Keller Road, Hadapsar Pune 411 013
IAVH Reading Centre University of Pune Ganeshkhind Pune 411 007
IAVH Reading Centre for the Blind Nagur University Library Nort Ambazari Road, Nagpur 440 010.
Madhav Braille Books Creation Center
In view of providing ‘Sanskar Sahitya’ (Literature giving the values in life) SAKSHAM’s Nagpur, Kalyan, Akola (Maharashtra) units are also creating books in Braille Script through computers. The volunteers force mainly comprising of either housewives or retired people who after a brief training of computer orientation now contributing to this service and created around 80 books in short span of three years. The books include
Samarth Ramdas Swami written ‘DASBODH’
Rashtra Sant Tukadoji Maharaj written ‘GRAAMGEETA’
The famous bird watcher Shri. Maruti Chitampalli written ‘RAANVAATA’, and
Books related to curriculum
Samadrishti, Kshamata Vikas Evam Anusandhan Mandal (SAKSHAM), Madhav Netrapedhi, 16, Devadutta Bhavan, Ranapratap Square, Pratap Nagar,NAGPUR (Mah.) 440022 Contact No – 0712-2244918 FAX – 0712-2244918 Email – email@example.com