India is home to not only half a billion internet subscribers, but also to a billion plus population of which approximately 2% is disabled. As India continues to adopt digital for greater reach, almost all facets of the economy are realizing the benefits from leveraging technology for enhanced efficiency, convenience and effectiveness. The sudden outbreak of COVID-19 has given Digital an important role to impact the daily life of each person in the entire nation.
While the Government of India is taking all necessary steps to ensure that we are prepared well to face the challenge and threat posed by the pandemic of CoronaVirus, the outbreak has led to unprecedented hardships for the masses, and magnified the challenges manifold for the disabled. In such a scenario, it becomes important for all digital solutions to be geared to solving the problems of the masses by being accessible for all citizens. To ensure accessibility of digital solutions, an effective accessibility assessment solution that is cloud-based, & hence itself easily available is the need of the hour.
Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) has launched the Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) as a nation-wide Campaign to achieve universal accessibility for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). Access to information creates opportunities for everyone in society. Access to information refers to all information. People use information in many forms to make decisions about their daily lives. This can range from actions such as being able to read price tags, to physically enter a hall, to participate in an event, to read a pamphlet with healthcare or any relevant information, to understand a train timetable, or to view webpages. The Accessible India Campaign envisages an era where no longer should societal barriers of infrastructure, and inaccessible formats stand in the way of obtaining and utilizing information in daily life.
The National Policy on Software Products-2019 has a vision to drive the rise of India as a Software Product Nation, so as to make India a global player in development, production and supply of innovative and efficient Software Products, thus facilitating growth across the entire spectrum of ICT sector. The present proposal would be one of the key products/solutions, having tremendous capability for scalability, market and domestic value addition.
In the light of these developments, the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology announces an Innovation Challenge for Development of a Cloud Based Web Accessibility Reporting Solution under Digital India Initiative.
The solution is proposed to be a self assessment tool to be used by the departments to evaluate/ continuously monitor the accessibility of their websites.The solution is not meant to be a certification tool however the certifying bodies( like STQC) can perform the automated reporting phase of the certification process using this solution. The solution must have features but not limited to the few indicated in the following section.
Scope of Work
The scope of work includes development of a cloud-based accessibility reporting solution that will be offered as a service to government entities. Solution must include the front-end user interface that is accessible through a web/mobile app. The solution will have the following features:
- Ability to report non compliance with respect to any specific level of WCAG 2.1/ 2.0 (level A, AA or AAA) (https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21) (to be clearly mentioned in the relevant places in the solution that reporting for WCAG 2.0 level AA will fulfill the accessibility requirements as per Guidelines for Indian Government websites ver 2.0)
- Support for ARIA attributes Roles, States, and Properties.
- Test complete website (by providing the top-level URL) or particular page (URL)
- Report Non-Compliances (NCs) as Errors and Warnings (with screenshots if required) along with a link to the relevant WCAG technique to meet that checkpoint
- Report Format
- Identification of Non Compliance through markup reference.
- On page visualizations of accessibility features like headings, landmarks, alt attributes, links and form controls
- Report checkpoints and features that need manual checking along with the link to the relevant description of the checkpoint
- Feature to create inventory of media (images, audios, videos) and documents (pdf, etc.) present on the website
- Facility to securely store iterative versions of assessment reports
- SMS/e-mail alerts if Non Compliance not rectified in a particular time
- Two User roles (Administrator and tester) for each website registered on the application –
- Administrator can schedule reporting at predefined frequency or date and automatically send report in Email in Excel/PDF format
- Administrator can turn on/off specific checkpoint to be tested on a single page or on full website and mark any checkpoint(s) as high priority
- Administrators can customize the compliance level to be tested (WCAG 2.1 level A, AA or AAA).
- Overview dashboard for a particular website will be available to site administrators displaying the accessibility score, current count of errors and warnings, historical review etc
- Tester can view reports and set the rectification status for each report
- Tester can mark a NC as resolved for a particular report
- A Super admin role to have access to a dashboard for all the websites/ applications/ apps registered on the solution along with drill down to each of the websites/ applications/ apps
- Browser Extension: The solution should also have browser extensions for popular browsers (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari) that can be installed on browsers and helps users to perform accessibility audit of the websites with requisite authentication
- App-based interface
- Public Dashboard displaying usage statistics of the solution
- Microservice based architecture
- Developed on open-source frameworks and technologies that are scalable, reliable and free from any third-party license
- Provision to expose APIs for integration with other systems
- Solution to use encrypted network communication
- No external hardware dependency to run tests
- Ability to add more standards in the future
- Use of Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence to simulate manual tests
- Fix all security related issues reported in the audit by Cert IN empanelled agency (https://www.cert-in.org.in/PDF/Empanel_org_2020.pdf )
- Solution frontend to be accessible on any device
- Solution frontend to be compliant to WCAG level AA
- Deployment script to be made available for automatic deployment
- Complete Documentation
The Innovation Challenge is open for participation in teams having experts from all domains of a software development life cycle. It would be in three (3) stages:
The intent of this stage is to invite bright minds to participate to propose innovative and cutting-edge ideas. Teams that fulfil the eligibility criteria will be given a chance to propose their ideas pertaining to the challenge. The proposal will cover aspects like understanding of the problem, proposed technology stack, development methodology, team composition and references to similar products.
Top 5 teams would be selected by the Selection Panel at this stage. Each team will receive a funding to build the functional tool displaying the functionalities and features. Each team will be provided a mentor who will guide them with respect to the achievable targets. The teams will have to update the weekly progress.
Stage-2 (Minimum Viable Product)
This is the critical phase of the Innovation Challenge to build upon the idea and develop the functional tool. The shortlisted 5 entries from Stage-1 will get a chance to present the minimum viable product to the Selection Panel and will be rated based on the functionalities achieved.
Top 2 teams will be shortlisted at this Stage. Each team will receive a funding to build the fully functional product incorporating the additional features. There will be mentors assigned to the teams. Queries, if any would be answered by their respective mentors but would be available to all, for fairness.
Final Stage (Functioning Product):
The team/ teams that develops the fully functioning product within the stipulated time frame meeting all the functional requirements will get
- Certificate of appreciation from the Hon'ble Minister of Electronics & IT
- Chance to deploy the fully functioning product at the NIC National Cloud and complete the security audit of the tool. The charges, if any for the security audit will be borne by NIC/MeitY.
The security audited fully functioning product will be demonstrated to the Grand Jury. The solutions would be evaluated based on parameters that will include Innovation, Replicability, Scalability, Usability, Ease of deployment/roll-out, Potential risks involved in implementation of the solution.
The Grand Jury will select one winner who will get an additional funding to complete the activities, which includes completion of MeitY specific customizations, documentation, optimizations etc. Further support for 2 years from the second year onwards will be provided towards Operations, Maintenance, Bug Fixes, Enhancements, etc. All updates & version upgrades are to be provided without any additional cost. Post the completion of O&M phase, the renewal shall be done at a rate agreeable to both the Winning team and NIC, MeitY.
Teams shall be free to market the product to any entity within or outside by hosting it in an environment other than that for the Government.
Timelines and Deliverables
Launch of Innovation Challenge
|23rd Sep, 2021|
Last Date for Registration
|18th Oct, 2021|
Last Date for Submission of Ideas
|9th Nov, 2021|
Declaration of 5 Teams Shortlisted for Building Functional Tool
|18th Nov, 2021|
Last Date for Submission of Minimum Viable Product
|19th Jan, 2022|
Presentation by Top 5 Teams
|19th Jan, 2022|
Declaration of results of Minimum Viable Product Stage
|29th Jan, 2022|
Submission of Functional Product
|29th Mar, 2022|
Presentation of Top 2 Teams
|29th Mar, 2022|
Declaration of Results and Signing of Contract
|5th Apr, 2022|
Fully functional product as per MeitY specific customizations, documentation and tool optimization
|20th Apr, 2022|
Rules and Guidelines
- If individuals are associated with any company, they must appraise their employer(s) about their participation, & the registration of the new entity. Furthermore, they will have to provide an NOC from their company stating that the respective company will have no right on the Prize Money and/or IPR
- During the Innovation Challenge, the Team Leader shall be considered as the Single Point of Contact (SPOC) for all engagements & communication by the Organizing Team. Furthermore, the Team Leader cannot be changed during the Innovation Challenge.
- The Team Leader and Participants will be required to use their Email ID and Mobile number for the purpose of Team Registration and Account Creation for participating in the Challenge.
- All communication between the Innovation Challenge Organizing Team and Team Leader shall happen via the registered Email ID only. This will be the only form of communication and any other forms of communication will not be entertained
- The teams shall not display any existing solution or collaborate with companies that have existing solutions. Such entries, if identified shall be liable for disqualification
- Teams shall maintain detailed documentation of their Idea, Prototype and Solution at all stages of the Innovation Challenge for reference and record purpose. The Innovation Challenge Organizing Team reserves the right to review these documents any time during the program/li>
- Any changes in Approach to the shortlisted Ideas during functional tool & functioning product stages of the Innovation Challenge will need to be formally communicated to & will undergo deliberation by the Innovation Challenge Organizing Team
- Teams are allowed removal/voluntary withdrawal of team members, only once, during the program before prototype stage. Any such step will have to be disclosed to the Innovation Challenge Organising Team for approval. No other form of team modification will be entertained
- The funding under Innovation Challenge shall be consumed for development of the solution only. The Teams will be required to provide Fund Utilization Certificate before the Next Stage on the date decided & communicated by the Innovation Challenge Organizing Team
- Winner(s) will retain the rights of the solution/product developed as part of the Innovation Challenge. The winner(s) will however have to conform to the terms and conditions defined for the Innovation Challenge during the competition and post winning the award
- The solution should not violate/breach/copy any idea/concept/ product already copyrighted, patented or existing in this segment of the market
- Anyone found to be non-compliant, may get their participation cancelled. Innovation Challenge Grand Jury will take the final call in case of any unforeseen situation
- For any dispute redressal, Secretary, MeitY's decision will be final on the matter
- NIC, MeitY, GoI will have no financial liability other than the prize money as indicated in Stages towards any license for the solution and will hold the perpetual license of the solution for production and DR
- However, the winning entity and runner up would be free to market the solution to any entity outside Union/State/UT Government Organizations of India
- In case the start-up closes the complete source code and knowledge transfer will be provided to NIC
Intellectual Property Rights
The Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) will belong to the winner (Institute/Organization) and shall have special terms of usage in public interest for the Government of India perpetually, as per the terms and conditions mentioned in this document. It is the responsibility of the winners to protect the new Intellectual Property Rights with their own expenditure through available institutional mechanisms.