Issues Related to Differently Abled

Over 1 billion people in the world have some form of disability, that’s 1 in 7. More than 100 million disabled persons are children. 50% of disabled persons cannot afford health care. 2011 Census says 2.21% are disabled in India. Movement disability in children went down by 11 % because of polio immunization program in India

Issues around Disability in India

  • Disability is not being measured properly due to different definitions of disability in various censuses
  • India looks at disability from medical or pathological angle only, not from social angle
  • Census depends on self-reporting of disability which may leave out mental & even physical disability
  • Lack of Institutional and Infrastructural Support for the disabled in India

 

Government Initiatives 

  • India signed UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disability
  • Term “divyang” is being considered in place of “viklang” to change mindset – will help in raising self-confidence and subsequent empowerment, however-
  • Mere change of terminology is not going to bring about any change
  • It will only invoke sympathy and underline that charity is what is needed
  • disability is not a divine gift and would only tend to create myths
  • Kerala became first state to conduct a census of its own called Kerala Disability Census
  • New ‘Rights of Persons with Disability bill’ proposes to increase job reservations for disabled from 3 to 5 %
  • It also seeks to widen scope of disabilities covered under the bill from 7 to 19

 


Rights of Persons with Disability bill 

  • Instead of seven disabilities specified earlier, the Bill covers 19 conditions.
  • Persons with at least 40% of a disability are entitled to certain benefits such as reservations in education and employment, preference in government schemes, etc.
  • The Bill confers several rights and entitlements to disabled persons viz. friendly access to all public buildings, hospitals, modes of transport, polling stations, etc.
  • In case of mentally ill persons, district courts may award two types of guardianship viz.limited guardian & plenary guardian
  • The bill provides for setting up of National and State Commissions for persons with disabilities. The Commissions will be required to:
  • identify any laws, policies or programmes that are inconsistent with the Act;
  • inquire into matters relating to deprivation of rights and safeguards available to disabled persons and recommend appropriate remedial measures;
  • monitor implementation of the Act and utilization of funds disbursed by governments 
  • The bill provides for setting up of Central and State Advisory Boards on disability to – 
  • advise the government on policies and programmes
  • developing a national/state policy concerning persons with disabilities

 

Concerns

  • Center imposing legal & financial obligations on states and municipalities, while disability is a state subject
  • The Bill overrides the Mental Health Act, 1987 with respect to guardianship provisions. This may result in the safeguards against misuse of guardianship, being lowered

 


Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan)

  • In line with Marrakesh treaty – Flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility for persons with disabilities
  • targets three separate verticals – built up environment, transportation eco-system, information & communication ecosystem

Accessible India Campaign, Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan

Aims and Objectives 

  • Making transport, government buildings, tourist spots, airports, railway stations and internet technology friendly for differently-abled people
  • Use of IT and social media for spreading awareness about the campaign

 

Steps to be taken under this Program 

  • Ramps in public buildings
  • Provision of toilets for wheelchair users
  • Braille symbols and auditory signals in elevators or lifts
  • Ramps in hospitals, primary health centres and other rehabilitation centres
  • For enhancing accessibility of Television programmes – incorporation of features like captioning, text to speech and audio discription
  • Government will create ‘Accessible police stations’, ‘Accessible hospitals’ and ‘Accessible tourism’ respectively across the country.
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