The Union Social Justice and Empowerment (SJE) Ministry launched 14 cross disability early intervention centres across the country to provide support to infants and young children at risk of or with disabilities.
GS-II: Social Justice (Welfare Schemes, Government Initiatives and Policies)
Dimensions of the Article:
- Understanding what is “Disability”
- Disability in India
- Numbers regarding Disables in Other surveys
- About the cross disability early intervention centres
- Other Schemes in India regarding Disabled people
Understanding what is “Disability”
- Disabilities is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions.
- An impairment is a problem in body function or structure;
- An activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action;
- A participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations.
- Disabled people are more likely to live in poverty, more likely to be unemployed, more likely to face discrimination in the workplace. These barriers are social, not personal, and cannot be “overcome” through sheer force of will.
- UN Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons (1975): “Any person unable to ensure by himself or herself, wholly or partly the necessities of a normal individual and or social life as a result of a deficiency either congenital or not in his/her physical or mental abilities” could be described as disabled.
Disability in India
- About 2.2% of India’s population lives with some kind of physical or mental disability, as per the National Statistics Office report on disability released 2019.
How are the disabled identified?
- Until the 2011 census, there were questions on seven kinds of disabilities in the questionnaire. This list of disabilities was expanded to 21 when the Rights of People with Disabilities was introduced in 2016.
- Accordingly, the 2019 report included questions to identify people with temporary loss of an ability as well as neurological and blood disorders in addition to the earlier definition, that included mental retardation and permanent inability to move, speak, hear and see.
- Significantly, the revised definition recognises deformities and injuries of acid attack victims as disabilities, entitling them to various relief measures.
Who are disabled and in what way?
- Rural men had the highest prevalence of disability in India, according to the NSO report. A higher proportion of men were disabled in India compared with women, and disability was more prevalent in rural areas than in urban areas.
- Inability to move without assistance was the most common disability. More men experienced locomotor disability than women.
- These numbers were self-reported. In other words, the respondents were asked if they experienced any difficulty in performing tasks like moving, talking, etc.
Numbers regarding Disables in Other surveys
- The 2011 census estimated that the number of people with disabilities in India is close to 2.68 crore (or 2.2% of the population) — that is more than the entire population of Australia.
- This number was based on the older definition of disability, yet the proportion of disabled people in the population is not different from the 2019 NSO report, which used the expanded definition of disability. However, the 2019 edition of disability statistics reported a slightly higher prevalence than those reported in earlier editions of the survey.
- Other metrics for evaluating disability have provided different estimates. A 2019 study by the Public Health Foundation of India found that the use of the Annual Health Survey’s metrics results in a lower prevalence. Similarly, a group of doctors from AIIMS found that alternate questionnaires like the Rapid Assessment of Disability have resulted in a prevalence ranging from 1.6%-43.3%.
How can the range be so wide?
The proportion of population facing disability becomes bigger as one moves from a narrow definition to a broader one. For instance, if one defines disability as the difficulty in accessing public services for all kinds of reasons, even social or economic, then the proportion goes up.
About the cross disability early intervention centres
- Through the cross disability early intervention centres Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal are covered.
- Among the services provided at the centres are screening of children and referral to appropriate rehabilitative care; speech therapy, occupational therapy and physiotherapy; parental counselling and training and peer counselling.
- The DEpwD (Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities) said all its 21 composite regional centres would have early intervention centres gradually.
Other Schemes in India regarding Disabled people
- ADIP Scheme: The main objective of the Assistance to Disabled persons for purchasing / fitting of aids / appliances (ADIP) scheme is to assist the needy disabled persons in procuring durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances that can promote their physical, social and psychological rehabilitation, by reducing the effects of disabilities and enhance their economic potential. The aids and appliances supplied under the Scheme shall conform to BIS specifications to the extent possible. The scheme is implemented through implementing agencies such as the NGOs, National Institutes under this Ministry and ALIMCO (a PSU).
- Accessible India Campaign (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan): Achieving universal accessibility that will enable persons with disabilities to gain access for equal opportunity and live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life in an inclusive society. The campaign targets at enhancing the accessibility of built environment, transport system and Information & communication eco-system.
- Sugamya Pustakalaya: “Sugamaya Pustakalaya” is an online platform that makes accessible content available to print-disabled people. The library houses publications across diverse subjects and languages and multiple accessible formats.
- Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme: The Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme is aimed to create an enabling environment to ensure equal opportunities, equity, social justice and empowerment of persons with disabilities. Its objective is also to encourage voluntary action for ensuring effective implementation of the People with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities and Protection of Rights) Act of 1995.
- National Awards for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities: In order to recognise dedicated efforts of persons and institutions involved in the process of empowerment of disabled and encourage others to strive to achieve excellence in this field, the National Awards for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities are being awarded every year.
Constitutional Provisions and Legislations
- The Preamble, Article 14, Article 21 and DPSP provide right to equality, justice and dignity of all individuals leading to an inclusive development which also includes the Disabled Persons.
- The Indian Lunacy Act 1912, The Lepers Act, 1899, Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016, National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act 1999, The Mental Healthcare Act 2017 are enacted for the betterment of disabled people.
-Source: The Hindu