Disability identity and COVID-19
GS-Paper-1: Social issues and inclusion– UPSC PRELIMS – Mains Application
Persons with disabilities (PWD) are those who have long-term impairment in terms of physical, mental, sensory and psychological conditions which can stop their equal participation in all aspects of society if met with various barriers. As per Census 2011, in India, out of the total population of 121 crores, about 2.68 Cr persons are ‘Disabled’ (2.21% of the total population)
- Out of 2.68 crores, 1.5 crores are males and 1.18 crore are females
- Majority (69%) of the disabled population resided in rural areas
Constitutional Frameworks for Disabled in India
- Article 41 of the Directive Principles of State Policy (DPSP) states that State shall make effective provision for securing right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, within the limits of its economic capacity and development.
- The subject of ‘relief of the disabled and unemployable’ is specified in state list of the Seventh Schedule of the constitution.
Legislations for Disabled
Right of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016
- The Act replaces the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
- It increases the quantum of reservation for people suffering from disabilities from 3% to 4% in government jobs and from 3% to 5% in higher education institutes.
- Every child with benchmark disability between the age group of 6 and 18 years shall have the right to free education. Government funded educational institutions as well as the government recognized institutions will have to provide inclusive education.
- Stress has been given to ensure accessibility in public buildings in a prescribed time frame along with Accessible India Campaign.
- The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and the State Commissioners will act as regulatory bodies and Grievance Redressal agencies, monitoring implementation of the Act.
- A separate National and State Fund be created to provide financial support to persons with disabilities.
- The Bill provides for grant of guardianship by District Court under which there will be joint decision – making between the guardian and the persons with disabilities.
- The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities and the State Commissioners will act as regulatory bodies and Grievance Redressal agencies and also monitor implementation of the Act.
- The Bill provides for penalties for offences committed against persons with disabilities and also violation of the provisions of the new law.
- Special Courts will be designated in each district to handle cases concerning violation of rights of PwDs.
- The New Act will bring our law in line with the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), to which India is a signatory.
- "Person with disability" means a person with long term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, in interaction with barriers, hinders his full and effective participation in society equally with others.
- "Person with benchmark disability" means a person with not less than 40% of a specified disability where specified disability has not been defined in measurable terms and includes a person with a disability where specified disability has been defined in measurable terms, as certified by the certifying authority.
- Disability has been defined based on an evolving and dynamic concept.
- Principles stated to be implemented for empowerment of persons with disabilities (PWD) are respect for the inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one's own choices, and independence of persons. The principle reflects a paradigm shift in thinking about disability from a social welfare concern to a human rights issue.
- The types of disabilities have been increased from 7 to 21. The act added mental illness, autism, spectrum disorder, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, chronic neurological conditions, speech and language disability, thalassemia, hemophilia, sickle cell disease, multiple disabilities including deaf blindness, acid attack victims and Parkinson’s disease which were largely ignored in earlier act. In addition, the Government has been authorized to notify any other category of specified disability.
The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment has issued a notification making it mandatory for all States/UTs to grant certificate of disability through online mode only using UDID (Unique Disability ID) portal w.e.f. 01.06.2021.
Unique Disability Identification (UDID) Portal:
The project is being implemented with a view of creating a National Database for persons with disabilities (PwDs), and to issue a Unique Disability Identity Card to each PwDs. The project will not only encourage transparency, efficiency and ease of delivering the government benefits to the person with disabilities, but also ensure uniformity.
The project will also help in stream-lining the tracking of physical and financial progress of beneficiaries at all levels of hierarchy of implementation – from village level, block level, District level, State level and National level.
Programmes/Initiatives for Disabled:
- DeenDayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme: Under the scheme financial assistance is provided to NGOs for providing various services to Persons with Disabilities, like special schools, vocational training centers, community-based rehabilitation, pre-school and early intervention, etc.
- Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase / Fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP): The Scheme aims at helping disabled persons by bringing suitable, durable, scientifically-manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances within their reach.
- Accessible India Campaign: Creation of Accessible Environment for PwDs:
- A nation-wide flagship campaign for achieving universal accessibility that will enable persons with disabilities to gain access to 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 ecosystem. Know in detail bout the Accessible India Campaign on the given link.
- National Fellowship for Students with Disabilities (RGMF)
- The scheme aims to increase opportunities to students with disabilities for pursuing higher education.
- Under the Scheme, 200 Fellowships per year are granted to students with disability.
- Schemes of the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities.