issues related with persons with disabilities

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  • 7/30/2019 Issues Related With Persons With Disabilities



    As per Article 1 of the UN Convention on Rights of the Disabled, Persons with disabilities include thosewho have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with variousbarriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. TheDisability Act, 1995 is more specific in its definition and defines disability as blindness, low vision, leprosy-cured, hearing impairment, locomotor disability, mental retardation and mental illness. All the conditionshave also been separately defined to lay down norms on basis of which a person would be treated asdisabled. Census, 2011 has collected data on disabled but the data is not likely to be made available till

    the beginning of 2013. However, as per data collected by Census, 2001, the number of disabled personsin India is 2.19 crores which is about 2.13% of the total population of that year.

    Reasons of Disability

    Causes of disability could either be pre natal, post natal or could be related to factors or incidents relatedto grown up life. Some of the reasons are as under:

    In India, main causes of blindness are, cataract, refractive error, age related degeneration, anduncontrolled diabetes.

    Old age, ear discharge, other illness and injures are the main causes of hearing problems.

    Paralysis, mental illness/retardation, voice disorder and injuries are the main causes for speechproblems.

    Home, transport and work site related accidents are the main cause of locomotor disabilityalthough some diseases like leprosy can also lead to this kind of disability.

    Mental retardation can be caused by genetic disorders, medical problems during pregnancy or atthe time of birth, higher age of mother at the time of pregnancy, iodine deficiency andmalnutrition.

    Malnutrition of children results in deficiencies of vital nutrients which can result in disability.Vitamin A deficiency can lead to blindness while Iodine deficiency adversely effects mentalgrowth.

    Child labour is also one of the reasons of disability as illness or some injuries in hazardous workcan lead to disability.

    Disability can also be due to some diseases like musculoskeletal problems, heart disease andstroke, cancer, mental health problems and nervous system disorders like Alzihmers andParkinsons disease. People of old age are more vulnerable to such kind of disease.

    Problems faced by the Disabled

    Problems faced by the disabled can be classified into architectural, communication andattitudinal.

    Architectural problems arise from the restricted mobility of the disabled as well as lack ofinfrastructural facilities like ramp, railings, signages and accessible shelves, switches, toilets etc.

    Lack of such infrastructure makes the disabled more dependent on others and negatively affectshis confidence.

    Communication problems are a very serious handicap as for the disabled particularly visuallyimpaired, mentally challenged and deaf and dumb. Presently our communication is centered onlanguage and speech but as the capacity of the disabled in these areas is restricted, they find it

    difficult to communicate with others. This affects their socialization, educational prospects and availability of information, which in turn

    affects their intellectual ability, employment, play, leisure and health.

    These problems in turn affect self esteem, social respect and dignity leading to emotionalinstability.

    Mental disability has problems of a different nature as capacity to learn is restricted in varyingdegrees. Such persons are dependent upon others for their entire life and need care at everystep.

    All the types of disabled face discrimination. During childhood, the family does not pay muchattention as it is felt that spending money on such children will not bring any benefit to the family.Discrimination is maximum in case of mentally disabled as they are regarded to be completelyuseless and a burden on the family.

    These people are also discriminated in the field of education and employment.

  • 7/30/2019 Issues Related With Persons With Disabilities


    Disabled person is more vulnerable to abuse as he or she has a restricted capacity to resist.Vulnerability is highest in case of mentally retarded persons particularly females, as the victimdoes even understand that he is being abused.

    Legal Provisions & Organizations

    Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act,1995, clearly defines disability as well as provides for education, employment and creation of abarrier free environment for the disabled. The Act also provides for appointing of a Chief

    Commissioner of Disabilities with a mandate to redress the grievance related to deprivation of therights of the disabled and non implementation of related laws.

    National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation andMultiple Disability Act, 1999 provides for setting up of a trust for aforesaid category of thedisabled. The objectives of the trust are to enable and empower the disabled to live asindependently as possible and to provide support to live within the family, to extend support toregistered organizations to support the disabled, to deal with problems of the disabled who do notown a family or have lost the family and to evolve procedure for appointing guardians andtrustees if required. The trust is presently running many schemes for benefit of the disabled.

    Rehabilitation Council of India was set up in 1986. However it was granted status of statutorybody by Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992, which provides for setting up of a RehabilitationCouncil for the purpose of standardization and regularization of rehabilitation services.

    The Government is contemplating to enact a new bill The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill,

    2011 which apart from other aspects lays more stress on the women with disabilities.

    The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2011: Analysis

    The Bill is intended to bring the disability rights discourses into the 21st

    Century in accordance with theUnited Nations Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities, which India has sign and ratified.

    The Bill correctly identifies that the detailed definition of disability in the bill is medical in nature, whichmeans persons with disabilities are considered patients at fundamental level. There arerecommendations in the Bill to define disability in terms of social model. The Bill also envisages removingsocial barriers to make society inclusive rather then using medical interventions to achieve the sameobjectives.

    It is also recommended to give higher weightage during surveys for Below Poverty Line families and foodinsecure households. It is also recommended to provide preferential access to all poverty alleviation andsocial security allowances to the households with disabled members.

    Some steps taken by the Government

    The Government has reserved 3% of the jobs for certain category of disabled.

    Grant is provided to the disabled for purchase/fitting of various aids and appliances. .

    Under Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme, the Ministry of Social Justice andEmpowerment, provides grants to NGOs for providing facilities to the disabled.

    Post matric scholarship is provided to disabled students. However, in respect of students withcerebral palsy, mental retardation, multiple disabilities and profound or severe hearing

    impairment, scholarship are awarded for pursuing studies from IX Std. onwards. An employer incentive scheme has been started in which the Government would pay the

    employers contribution of EPF and ESIC for three years in return for employment of disabledpersons with monthly wage up to Rs.25000/- per month.

    Funds are being provided to State governments and other agencies for creating infrastructure likelifts etc to provide barrier free access to the persons with disabilities.

    Five Composite Regional Centres have been set up at Srinagar, Sundernagar (Himachalpradesh), Lucknow, Bhopal and Guwahati to provide both preventive and promotional aspects ofrehabilitation like education, health, employment and vocational training, research and manpowerdevelopment, rehabilitation for persons with disabilities etc.

    District Disability Rehabilitation Centres have been set up in many districts for providingrehabilitation services to the persons with disabilities.

  • 7/30/2019 Issues Related With Persons With Disabilities


    A pilot project has been taken for creation of awareness on prevention and early detection andintervention of various types of disabilities. The project envisages dissemination of information inrural areas through Anganwadi workers.

    A scheme for developing technologies for benefit of the disabled is being implemented throughIITs, Educational Institutes, Research Agencies and Voluntary Organizations etc in whichassistance is provided to such institutions for development of such technologies.

    National Programme for Control of Blindness provides services for prevention of blindness andfor providing treatment to the blind and eye care facilities.

    National Programme for Prevention and Control of Deafness is being run to prevent hearing loss,

    for rehabilitating the effected people and for developing institutional capacity for ear careservices.


    Society has a very negative view about disabled people despite the fact that some of the disabled peoplehave shown exceptional brilliance in various fields. Examples are Beethoven, Joh


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