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Gain financial independence and lead a respectable life

Uday Bhatia is an 11th grade Economics and Business Studies student from New Delhi, India, who has founded the Finance 101 program at Ujjala Blind School. Uday is a young entrepreneur and has been nominated for a selective internship by Lightbox VC and ProProfs.com, two leading companies in their respective fields. He is also the winner of the all-India Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) and has founded two successful start-ups with revenues exceeding one lakh. Uday’s goal is to help the visually impaired gain financial independence and lead a respectable life. With his Finance 101 program, he aims to teach basic banking skills, the concept of financial independence, and different ways in which the visually impaired can earn a living.

This guide was authored by Uday Bhatia, a 11th grade Economics and Business Studies student from New Delhi, India. Uday had been nominated for a selective internship by Lightbox VC and also ProProfs.com, one of the leading Ed-tech SaaS companies. Aside from that, Uday is an all-India Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) winner and the founder of two successful start-ups, each of which has revenues exceeding one lakh. Uday hopes to condense his knowledge into this guide, which is intended to instruct the visually impaired about basic banking skills, the concept of financial independence, and, most significantly, the different ways in which the visually impaired can earn a living. Essentially, the purpose of this guide is to inform, educate, and  teach the visually impaired so that they can gain financial independence and leadive a respectable life.


Most banks are legally obliged to ensure that all the banking facilities such as cheque book facility, net banking facility, locker facility, retail loan, credit cards etc are invariablyinvariable offered to the visually challenged without any discrimination. If you are deprived of any of the following banking services, you have the grounds for legal action. 

The three main types of bank accounts are:

  • Current Account: The current account is usually used by business owners, traders, or entrepreneurs, who need to make and receive payments more often. In this account, no interest is earned and there is no limit on the amount one can withdraw.What really is interest?
    Interest is the amount of money the depositor is paid by the bank for holding their money. The bank borrows the money from the depositors to lend money to the borrowers.
  • Savings Account: The savings account is one of the most common accounts. There is a limit on the maximum number of transactions, and a minimum interest is earned. The interest rates for savings accounts range from 2.70% – 5% depending on the bank account balance and the type of savings account of the bank.
  • Fixed Deposit: The fixed account offers a higher interest rate than the savings account. However, the money can only be withdrawn all at once, instead of installments . The interest rate for fixed deposit accounts range from 5 to 7 percent depending on the bank account balance.

How to set up a bank account?

Having a bank account is the first step towards gaining financial independence. Our bank account helps us deposit funds safely and then utilize those funds for our everyday expenses. Not only does the bank account assist us in managing our finances, but it also helps us securely store our money.  At first, setting up a bank account may seem cumbersome and daunting, however, the process is fairly straightforward.

Step 1: Visit your bank’s branch or visit their respective website.
After visiting the website or branch, you will need to fill out the application form. This form is rather intuitive and straightforward ; it requires you to fill out personal details such as your name, address, date of birth , and the names of parents or spouse, along with your signatures, to commit to the terms and conditions of the respective bank.

Step 2: Collect, organize, and submit the following documents for the KYC (know your customer)  verification :

  1. A filled up application form 
  2. Employment proof 
  3. Latest passport size photo 
  4. Proof of identity and address (valid passport, voter ID card, PAN card, permanent driving license, Aadhar card, NREGA job card, or ID card issued by central or state governments, PSUs, scheduled commercial banks). 

Why is the KYC important? 
KYC verification is a mandatory exercise designed to verify the account holder’s identity. KYC verification protects financial institutions against fraud, corruption, money laundering and any other financial crimes.

Step 3: Wait for the bank to process the KYC details
After completing Step 2, wait for the bank to verify the documents. This  usually takes 2-3 business days.

Step 4: Collect your debit card and enter your internet banking details.

How to set up a debit card? 
After setting up your bank account, it’s important to set up a debit card that corresponds to your account. A debit card enables you to make payments online or withdraw cash from ATMs. Any transactions made by the debit card are reflected on your bank statement.

What’s a bank statement? 
A bank statement is an official record of all incoming and outgoing transactions that take place in your bank account. To get your bank statement, you can visit your base branch or use internet/mobile banking to get it on your email

After creating a savings account, setting up a debit card is pretty intuitive.

Step 1: Open the envelope that you receive after creating a savings account. It will include your four-digit PIN and debit card.

Step 2: Insert the debit card in the ATM 

Step 3: Post that, you have to input the debit card number and the four digit ATM PIN provided by the bank. 

Step 4: Follow the directions on the screen to generate a new ATM pin. 


  • Services such as ATMs have been made easily accessible. The RBI, or the Rreserve Bbank of India, has ensured that 1/3rd of their ATMs have braille keywords. 
  • Banks are advised to provide a clearly identifiable dedicated counter or a counter which provides priority to senior citizens and people who are differently abled including visually impaired persons.
  • Not only do banks offer special customer care for the blind, but bank applications and websites are compatible with screen readers
  • The bank has the ability to allot the locker at convenient locations, to ensure effective operations and easy mobility for the blind. 
  • Since 2012, the Union Bank of India has tried implementing a talking ATM, This talking ATM has an AI and simple to use user interface that assists with simple processes such making payments, withdrawing from the ATM  or checking your bank balance.

Are talking ATMs really safe? 
This ATM is private and secure, the voice guidance will only be heard by headphones and the user has a choice to hide the screen. 

Where can I find these ATMS? 
There are a total of 314 ATMs across the country. 

This link will help you find the ATM closest to you. 



How to use a talking ATM, as a first time user? 

  • When you are using an ATM, stand in front of the machine as it covers the ATM screen, keypad and cash dispenser. This is important for your safety and security. 
  • The ATM’s layout is such that the screen, keypad and cash dispenser slot are all in one vertical line. The ATM’s CRT screen is on the top, at your waist height is the keypad, and just above your knee height is the cash dispenser slot.
  • Do not rush during your first Talking ATM transaction.
  • To enable talking mode it is necessary to plug in your headphone into the ATM’s audio jack. 
  • You can perform all your ATM transactions just by using the ATM keypad. In general during Talking ATM operation there is ‘NO’ need to use function display keys which are available on both sides of the ATM screen. 
  • Talking ATM operation and commands are interactive voice response (IVR) type. Options can be chosen with keypad numbers and other keys.
  • For easy access to the keypad first locate keypad number ‘5’ which has a raised dot.
  • ATM Keypad is a standard telephone matrix keypad. Find additional function keys which are at the right side of number keys 3, 6 and 9. You can feel raised symbolssymbol or tactile shapes on these function keys. These keys also have different prominent colors
  • There is a beep sound for each press of both, keypad number and function keys. 
  • Very carefully listen to the complete audio messages and prompts.
  • Voice guidance is provided through quality Text-To-Speech voices. 
  • You can choose your preferred language – English or Hindi.
  • You can adjust the volume of the ATM. 
  • You can hide or display the ATM screens. This is an important secrecy feature available with the Talking ATM. 
  • Listen to the complete orientation message which is available at the start of the ATM operation. 
  • Please understand and learn the right way to insert the ATM card. • Learn how to use a dip type ATM card. 
  • Accuracy of input is very important so be attentive while using ATM, e.g. correct ATM PIN and correct withdrawal amount only in multiple of 100s.
  • Before the use of Talking ATM make up your mind on what transaction(s) you wish to do, e.g. amount you wish to withdraw and remember your ATM PIN.
  • As a first time user of Talking ATM you can perform balance enquiry transaction which will provide familiarity and confidence
  • Be calm and careful. You can surely complete your first Talking ATM transaction just within a couple of minutes. In future with familiarity you can transact in a much faster and smooth way. 

What is a screen reader and why do you need it?
A screen reader is a technology that helps you to access and interact with digital content, like websites or applications via audio or touch. This can be used when operating a website or application on your computer. 
You can install a screen reader such as JAWs, dolphin screen reader, cobra screen reader, system access, and even zoom text, these screen readers are compatible with most websites.   
What to use? Debit card or credit card? 
Although the debit and credit card look quite identical, both of them serve completely different purposes. One should understand the use-case of both the cards before making a decision.

What really is the difference? 

Deducts money directly from your bank account  Utilizes borrowed funds from the bank. 
No interest is charged  Interest is charged. 
No or few incentives offered for transactions.  Payments via credit cards offer incentives such as cashbacks or credit points. 
Can’t withdraw more than amount in bank account  Often one can borrow more than what is in the bank account. 


What to use?
The decision to use a debit card or a credit card, depends on a range of factors such as the amount of transactions, the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) offered , the confidence in the  market conditions and the stability of your financial institution. 
The volume of transactions is one of the most important decision factors. 
If you have to make high value transactions on a daily basis, it is advisable to procure a credit card. This is because a credit card permits you to make transactions that exceed your bank balance. However , if you make only low value transactions, a debit card would be ideal. 
If a high APR is charged on the credit, it would be rather expensive to use the credit for payments or transactions. The cost of borrowing or using the credit card would increase. In such a scenario, it’s important to reconsider your decision of utilizing a credit card. 
If you are confident that in the future, your bank won’t alter the interest rate, it’s preferable to utilize a credit card. However, if there are frequent fluctuations in the interest rate, it’s advisable to reconsider the use of a credit card. A fluctuation in the prime rate would prevent you from planning for the future. 


The Card Act specifies that issuers must give you at least 45 days’ notice before making a major change to the terms of your account. But an expiring promotion is excepted from this rule.   
It’s important to keep track till when the 0 percent period or promotional period is over. 
Make it a priority to pay off your balance before the interest kicks in.

What’s a credit limit? 
Credit limit is the amount of money a credit company allows you to use for making payments or transactions

What’s a grace period? 
The grace period is the date between the date of purchase on your card and the due date listed on your statement. If you are able to pay the complete amount in the grace period, no interest is charged. 

What’s APR?
APR is an abbreviation for “ Annual Percentage Rate”. This includes the interest rate and any other additional cost such as an annual fee of the credit card 

How to use debit and credit cards to make payments physically and virtually? 

How to make payments virtually using credit and debit cards?

Almost all websites, where you use debit or credit cards,  use the same format.  This form asks you to fill out the 16 digit card number, the cardholder’s name, and the CVV that’s commonly found at the  back of the card. 

The card number is typically printed in 3d, so it’s easy to comprehend, and it’s advisable to memorize the CVV that is written at the back of the card considering it’s used in most online transactions. 


E-banking or electronic banking has become increasingly popular. Not only does E-banking allow you to see your financial data online but it also provides services such as account aggregation, loan application and approval, investment/brokerage services , consumer wire transfer, new account opening , bill payments, etc. using simply your mobile phone. 

The netbanking user interface and requirements are generally similar  for most banks.

How to register for net-banking 

Method One:

  1. Visit the net banking registration page on your bank’s website 
  2. Enter your customer ID and confirm your mobile number to generate an OTP (one time password)
  3.  Enter the OTP
  4. Select your debit card and enter details 
  5. Set your IPIN 
  6. Login to net banking using your customer ID and new IPIN .

Method two :

You can also visit the bank branch  and ask your bank manager for the respective forms and set up your net banking in physical space . 

What is a customer ID? 

A customer ID is a unique identification code that you get from the bank. The code is sent to you in the welcome kit that you get after opening a bank account. No two consumers can have the same customer ID 

What’s IPIN? ( BOX) 

The iPIN is an abbreviation that refers to “ internet personal identification number” ; this is a password provided for the card holders to help them view their accounts and perform transactions online.  

How to execute transactions in Net-banking?

  1. After completing the steps mentioned above, click on the “ Funds Transfer” tab. 
  2. Click on IMPS funds transfer using the account number and fill in the financial details, and confirm the transaction. 
  3. You will receive the confirmation sms for IMPS transaction on your linked number.

What are IMPS and their transaction limits?  
IMPS service is used to transfer funds within INDIA with denominations of INR only. As per NPCI circular, the maximum amount that can be transferred is Rs 2 Lakhs per transaction. Any transaction more than Rs 2 Lakhs will not get processed and will be credited back into your account.

How to see your bank balance online? 

There two  methods to get your bank balance

A: You can login to netbanking using your customer ID and password.

B: If you are registered for SMS banking, you can message the bank’s SMS banking number. For Instance,  you can message the key word “ bal” to  “  5676712 “ incase of HDFC.

Are payment gateways such as paytm and google easily accessible? 
Fortunately, paytm version 8.1 is compatible with most screen readers, this makes the task of transferring and making payments much simpler. Not, could this be widely used for making daily transactions, it can also be utilized to make online payments for electricity and water. 

Transactions via Paytm can be executed via two main methods.

Method A: Money transfer using Paytm BHIM UPI 

Step 1: Link your bank account.

Step 2: Enter beneficiary details. 

Step 3: Enter your secure MPIN to authenticate. 

Step 4: Transactions are processed in real time. 

Method B: NEFT

Step 1: login to net banking with username and password 

Step 2: Add beneficiary details ( bank account and ifc) 

Step 3: wait for 30 mins and 24 hours for the beneficiary activation and verification. 

Step 4: login to your netbanking again 

Step 5: choose beneficiary and enter amount. 

Step 6: wait for an OTP via SMS

NOTE: If you are using NEFT and the NEFT window has closed, transactions will be processed later

What are NEFTs?

National Electronic Funds Transfer (NEFT) is a nationwide centralized payment system owned and operated by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). 

How long does NEFT take? 

All NEFT transactions can be settled immediately or within a few hours (usually 2 hours). The actual time required for the settlement of these transactions, however, may vary from bank to bank

How to take loans? What’s the process for taking loans? 

Loans may serve several purposes. Loans can be used for paying for a house, day to day expenditure, capital to start your business…the list goes on. 

However, the purpose of the loan you take determines the type of loan you take and subsequently the process. 

There are a range of loans offered by Indian banks, however, they can be broadly categorized into two main types. 

  1. Secured loans 
  2. Unsecured loans  
  • Secured loans are loans where you pledge your assets to security for the money you are borrowing as a lender. The rate of interest tends to be lower in these type of loans
  • Unsecured loans are debt products offered by banks, credit unions and online lenders that aren’t backed by collateral. They include student loans, personal loans and credit such as credit cards. 

What’s the process for applying for loans? 

Step 1: 

Check the eligibility criteria for the loan 

  • Minimum age to apply is 21 years of age, not exceeding 65 years at the time of loan closure
  • You must be a Indian resident and citizen
  • You must have the necessary documents required for the personal loan along with the duly filled and signed application form

Step 2:

Check the loan processing fee interest rate charged on the loan and compare that with various banks and see which bank offers the lowest interest rate with lowest value of collateral, if it’s a secure loan. 

Step 3: 

  • EMI calculators help to calculate the monthly EMI to be paid on the loan. This calculation depends on the total loan amount, interest rate and the loan tenure.

Step 4:  Check and collect required documents

  • Recent passport-sized photographs
  • Completed personal loan application form
  • Age proof (Passport/PAN card/Certificate from a statutory authority)
  • Identity proof (Driving license/voter ID card/Passport/PAN card)
  • Address proof (Telephone bill/electricity bill/Passport/driving license/ration card/rental agreement/bank statement or passbook)
  • Salary slips/proofs of the last 3 months or bank passbook/statement of the last 6 months
  • Form 16
  • Income tax returns
  • Processing fee cheque

Step 5: fill out the online or offline application form and wait for approval

Steps to financial independence

What is financial independence? 

Financial independence is a situation where one is able to live a comfortable life without relying on income from some type of employment. Of course, to be financially independent in the long-run, it’s important to earn a certain amount. So the first step to financial independence is securing employment. In this section of the guide, I have outlined the various simple steps one can take to be financially independent.

  • Manage your savings 
  • Manage your assets and properties
  • Invest as soon as possible
  • Manage your investment portfolio
  • Skill development and employment
  • Track your spending
  • Managing financial goals
  • Have trusted family member assist you
  • Managing your savings

it’s crucial to place your savings in a reputable, low-risk financial institution . This enables the growth of your savings over time. This makes it possible for your funds to increase over time. Financial security and independence are provided by these savings in times of need. Your savings can serve as an alternative to high interest loans, and they can also prevent debt in the long run.

  • Property management 

Put your property up for rent if you have one that isn’t being used by you. it will give you an additional and passive source of income along with the income from your employment . You may use this rent money to improve the standard of living in your home.

  • Invest as soon as possible

It’s advisable to start investing as soon as possible even if it may be in small amounts. You can not only plan your investments but also give them enough time to grow into a corpus that meets your financial goals. Compounding essentially means reinvesting the profits from your investments to make your investments grow exponentially. Therefore the earlier you invest the more you are likely to earn.

The table below summarizes the different types of investments, their risk , return and even the time one should invest in these bonds for.

This also shows the value of one lakh that you invest in these financial institutions over a period of 5 years.

Type of investment Investment period Return on the capital employed Value of investment What is the risk
Stock Medium 14.56 percent 2,01,135 High  risk
Bonds Long term 7 percent  1,40,255 Very low risk 
Mutual funds  Long term  12.86 1,83,105 Medium 
ETFs Medium  10 percent  1,61,051 Medium risk 
Cryptocurrencies  Long term  18 percent  2,28,775 Very high risk 
Real estate  Long term  8 percent  1,46,933 Low risk 

Long term is defined as an investment that exceed a period of four to five  years in this case 

Medium is defined as an investment that exceed a period of two years

Short term is defined as an investment that exceeds a period of one year. 

The average return was estimated under the assumption that you would make an average  financial instrument. This value is subject to change and goes up or down, depending on the type of asset you choose to invest in. 

Investment portfolio and pension  management 

Assign a trusted consultant to manage your investment portfolio, if you are considering investing in the stock market or private sector 

However, there are several low-risk options for the visually impaired, such as investing in PPFs and FDs: Those with a risk-free appetite prefer government-backed deposits like Public Provident Funds (PPFs) and fixed deposits with banks. 

PM Atal Pension Yojana (APY): Designed for the agrarian class, this is a long-term scheme that ensures a fixed amount as a pension at the end of the maturity period. Any person above the age of 18 and below 40 years can invest in this plan and earn a monthly pension of Rs 5,000 for a monthly investment of Rs 210. This has the added benefit of only requiring a little monthly commitment, making it manageable. When you retire or become unable to work, this serves as a backup savings. This pension has great utility especially when you are unemployed and can only invest small sums of money. 

  • Save More and Set Realistic Financial Goals 

If you want to become financially independent as fast as possible, you should set realistic but quite ambitious goals. The best way to do so is by making sufficient savings. It’s advisable to save at least 20 percent of your disposable income. As your income increases, you should save and invest a larger percentage of your disposable income.

It’s also crucial to define your financial goals at the beginning of each year, this will help you plan ahead according to your specific financial needs. Based on your special financial needs you can decide how much to spend, where to spend , how much to save ,  where to invest etc.  

 Let’s say you need to pay for your higher education over the next two years. In that case, it would be advisable to save and invest a part of your income in a low risk financial institution such as a mutual fund rather than in the stock market, which is volatile.   

  • Track your Spending 

Understanding how and why you spend on a daily and weekly basis is crucial. Make an effort to reduce your monthly spending. We advise using specialized software that can compute your monthly budget and spending categories automatically. The lower you keep your spending, the more likely you are to save. The money you save can be kept as an emergency fund in case of unemployment or any unforeseen circumstance, such as an illness.   

  • Learn skills that are high in demand and enhance your current skill set 

Skill development is pivotal in making oneself employable. Increasing your knowledge and skills would increase your proficiency, help you achieve tasks in a shorter time, make you eligible for more jobs, and increase your performance level in your current job. This could increase your financial independence in two ways: 

  1. It increases your bargaining power at your current job, an increase in skills and proficiency, would make you harder to replace therefore allowing you to press for a higher pay. 
  2. During a recession, being good at your job would make it unlikely for your employer to dismiss you from your job. 
  3. You can secure high-paying jobs that can allow you to invest more towards your savings and expedite your journey of financial independence.

There are numerous organizations that provide skill development training programs for the blind, including:

The non-profit Indian Association for the Blind, which works to increase the financial independence of those who are blind. They offer classes in computer use, BPO operations, printing, book binding, preparation for competitive examinations, and even fundamental engineering.

The Blind Relief Delhi Association works along the same line and provides training in relaxation massages ( 6 months program), multi-training program where they are taught various production processes  , call center training for the computer-literate in which the trainees are taught telemarketing and finally candle making, where one can make candles and sell during Diwali season.

Apart from this, various programs and courses such as the basic level of IT/Computer programming—are collated with JAWS (A screen reader software) and NVDA (Non Visual Desktop Access). There are programs that equip these visually impaired candidates through CRM Voice and QP Training. By taking up these different courses, visually impaired people can enter different fields.

What can I do or where can I work after gaining these skills?   

Fortunately, there are many jobs offered to the visually impaired in both the private and public sectors.  Some of the popular sectors are the following:- 

  1. Customer Care : Customer care involves dealing with customer queries with the utmost patience and attention to detail. People are trained in dealing with customer queries and complaints and how to deal with issues quickly. They have to solve issues pertaining to particular products or services and guide customers on how to handle the issue or get the issue solved from their end.  Customer care only requires reading proficiency and therefore is more suitable. 
  2. Teaching : Teaching allows people to have comfortable work hours and lets you  impart knowledge to children. A number of schools are open to letting visually impaired people teach there. Visually impaired people can also help out by teaching other visually impaired children through braille and other learning techniques. 
  3. Masseuses and chiropractors : Your ability to pay close attention to tactile sensations could help you deliver effective massage treatments.
  4. Government jobs : The implementation of Persons with Disability Act 1995, which mandates 1 percent of jobs for people with visual disability in government and public sectors has paved the way for the visually challenged. With its specialized training initiatives that backs the visually challenged with skills. Apart from this government jobs are typically more secure. The government has employed several workers in railway stations, as teachers and even in banks. 
  5. Personal trainer :Are you enthusiastic about physical fitness? Do you want to share your passion with others? This is a flexible career option since you can often choose your own hours and clients. You could even specialize in helping blind clients and act as a role model for other people with disabilities who want to stay fit.
  6.  Counselors :Well-developed empathy and the ability to learn from life experiences are two qualities that help counselors relate to their clients and provide effective emotional support. That’s why many people with visual impairments thrive in this kind of role. 
  7. Software developers : Screen-reading software and other adaptive technologies make it possible for visually impaired professionals to code and perform the other work involved in developing apps and computer programs. In fact, a worldwide survey found that one percent of computer programmers are blind.
  8. Musicians :  Music is something that only utilizes your vocal skills and motor skills. Whether it’s playing an instrument or singing or evening composing music all involve minimal visual skills. The music industry is one of the best industries for the visually impaired. A musician who is blind can use a braille music translator program like goodfeel to transcribe music from sibelius or other music notation programs into Braille.