India has one of the most progressive disability policy frameworks in the developing world. However, there remain huge challenges in bringing the differently abled population into the mainstream. Discuss.

India has one of the most progressive disability policy frameworks in the developing world. However, there remain huge challenges in bringing the differently abled population into the mainstream. Discuss.

Approach

  • Introduce with how India has a progressive policy for people with disabilities
  • Highlight the challenges they face like stigma, improper enumeration etc.
  • Briefly suggest steps to be taken to better integrate them
  • Conclude appropriately
Model Answer :

According to the Census 2011, there are 2.68 crores (2.2%) persons with disabilities in India, though according to some estimates, the actual number may be as high as five per cent of our population. India has taken a progressive approach towards those with disabilities. India is signatory of UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disability and Marrakesh Treaty.Accessible India Campaign was  launched with the aim of achieving universal accessibility for Persons with Disabilities. However, poor implementation of policies along with different challenges have acted as deterrents in bringing them into mainstream.

Various Challenges:

  • Social Segregation and Stigma attached to disability is a big issue, considerably impacting their integration into society.
  • Inconsistency in Disability definition across censuses: Different definitions in different censuses have led to inclusion of someone in one census and exclusion of the same person in another census.
  • Narrow perspective: India looks at disability from medical or pathological angle only. Most developing countries look from social angle, highlighting institutional and social arrangements preventing those with impairments from leading normal lives.
  • Lack of standard reporting: Census depends on self-reporting of disability; this may leave out mental disability and even physical disability.
  • Lack of Institutional and Infrastructural Support for the disabled in India.
  • Lack of coordination- inter-sectoral, inter-ministerial coordination as well as between govt bodies and NGOs.
  • Limited competence and capacity of decentralizing services .

Way Forward:

Firstly, it is important to properly enumerate them. Kerala became first state to conduct a census of its own called Kerala Disability Census for 2014-15. Other states must follow example. Accessibility and support services for persons with disability must be fast-tracked while also aiming to raise public awareness and understanding of disability through social marketing and campaigns.

Conclusion:

It is not just the defect in their biological body that makes them disabled but the psychological trauma they go through due to unfriendly attitude of the society towards them that renders them disable. By providing them aids to overcome their disability and enabling them to earn a dignified livelihood, we can actually transform them from being disabled to being differently-abled.

Subjects : Current Affairs

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