Welfare of Persons with Disabilities
Differently-abled population statistics in India
- As per the Census 2011, the differently-abled population in India is 26.8 million. In percentage terms, this stands at 2.21 %. There has been a marginal increase in the differently-abled population in India, with the figure rising from 21.9 million in 2001 to 26.8 million in 10 years. There are 14.9 million men with disabilities as compared to 11.8 million women in the country. The total number of differently-abled people is over 18 million in the rural areas and just 8.1 million enumerated in the urban settings. The percentage of men with disabilities is 2.41 as against 2.01 in women. Social groups wise analysis shows, 2.45 per cent of the total disabled population belong to the Scheduled Castes, 2.05 to the Scheduled Tribes and 2.18 per cent to other than SC/ST. Even among these two social groups, the proportion of men with disabilities is higher as compared to women.
- State-wise data shows, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa and Jammu and Kashmir have more than 2.51 per cent disabled population whereas in Tamil Nadu, Assam, Meghalaya, Assam and Nagaland, the percentage is less than 1.75. For State/ UT wise Persons with Disability statistics, click here.
- Over 5.4 million people have some kind of physical disability, followed by hearing impairment affecting 5.07 million and 5.03 million who have problems with their vision. Just about 2 million have speech disability, and 2 million are affected by mental retardation and other mental illnesses. The proportion of women suffering from seeing, hearing and multiple disabilities is higher than men. Disability in seeing, hearing and movement and multiple disability is more among STs than SCs and others while disability in speech and mental retardation is more among others than SC/ST. Age-wise break-up of the data suggests disability is more among people aged 80 years and above, and the least among children aged up to 4 years. Disability among STs in lower age groups up to 40-49 years is significantly lower than the other social groups whereas in the higher age group (60 plus), it is high among STs.
- Census 2011 data on Disabled Population in the age-group 5-19 by their Attendance Status in Educational Institutions and type of Disability indicates that there are about 65.7 lakh disabled population in age-group 5-19, out of which 40.2 lakh (61.2%) are attending educational institutions, 8.0 lakh (12.1%) attended educational institutions earlier and 17.5 lakh (26.7%) never attended any educational institutions. Further, out of 40.2 lakh disabled persons attending educational institutions, 22.8 lakh (56.7%) are males and 17.4 lakh (43.3%) are females. As such, there is an improvement of about 11 percentage points in the status of attending educational institutions by disabled persons in the age-group 5-19 during the decade 2001-2011.
- It is further noticed that disabled persons with ‘Any other disability’ shows the highest percentage (71.2%) in attending educational institution followed by ‘Seeing’ (68.0%), ‘Hearing’ (67.0%), ‘Movement’ (59.6%), ‘Speech’ (58.9%), ‘Mental retardation’ (47.2%), ‘Multiple disability’ (37.2%) and least with ‘Mental illness’ (34.1%). Maximum percentage of disabled persons who attended educational institution earlier is seen in ‘Movement’ (17.7%) followed by ‘Mental illness’ (15.5%), and least in ‘Multiple disability’ (8.4%). The proportion of disabled persons, who never attended any educational institution in 2011 was found to be highest among persons with ‘Multiple disability’ (54.4%), followed by ‘Mental illness’ (50.3%) and ‘Mental retardation’ (41.2%) whereas persons with ‘Any other disability’ (17.7%) show the least percentage.
Differently-abled welfare in India
- The Constitution of India ensures equality, freedom, justice and dignity of all individuals and implicitly mandates an inclusive society for all, including persons with disabilities. The Constitution in the schedule of subjects lays direct responsibility of empowerment of disabled persons on the State governments. Therefore, the primary responsibility to empower the disabled rests with the State governments.
- Under Article 253 of the Constitution read with item No. 13 of the Union List, the Government of India enacted ‘The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995’, in an effort to ensure equal opportunities for persons with disabilities and their full participation in nation-building. The Act extends to the whole of India, except the State of Jammu and Kashmir. The Government of Jammu and Kashmir has separately enacted ‘The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights & Full Participation) Act, 1998’.
- A multi-sectoral collaborative approach, involving all the appropriate governments, i.e., ministries of the Central Government, the State Governments/UTs, Central/State undertakings, local authorities and other appropriate authorities is being followed in the implementation of various provisions of the Act.
- India is a signatory to the ‘Declaration on the Full Participation and Equality of People’ with Disabilities in the Asia-Pacific Region. India is also a signatory to the Biwako Millennium Framework working towards an inclusive, barrier free and rights-based society. India signed the UN Convention on Protection and Promotion of the Rights and Dignity of Persons with Disabilities on 30th March, 2007, the day it opened for signature. India ratifies the UN Convention on 1st October, 2008.
Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan)
In order to give focused attention to Policy issues and meaningful thrust to the activities aimed at welfare and empowerment of the Persons with Disabilities, a separate Department of Disability Affairs was carved out of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment on May 12, 2012. The Department was renamed as Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) on 08.12.2014. The Department acts as a Nodal Agency for matters pertaining to disability and Persons with Disabilities including effecting closer coordination among different stakeholders: related Central Ministries, State/UT Governments, NGOs etc. in matters pertaining to disability.
The Department has the vision to build an inclusive society in which equal opportunities are provided for the growth and development of Persons with Disabilities so that they can lead productive, safe and dignified lives.
The Department deals with the following Legislations governing different aspects of disability and welfare & empowerment of the Persons with Disabilities :
- The Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992,
- The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995; and
- The National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act , 1999
Source : Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment
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