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India's Disabilities Access to Social Security Schemes
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India's Disabilities Access to Social Security Schemes

The evidence and experience demonstrate that when barriers to inclusion are removed and disabled people are empowered to participate fully in society, their entire community benefits

Post by on Monday, December 6, 2021

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 Today, the world's population exceeds 7 billion people, and over one billion people, or roughly 15% of the global population, live with some sort of impairment; 80% live in developing nations. The United Nations General Assembly established the International Day of Disabled Persons as an annual observance in 1992 through resolution 47/3. Its mission is to advance the rights and well-being of people with disabilities in all realms of society and development, as well as to raise public awareness of their plight in all facets of political, social, economic, and cultural life. Building on decades of UN work in the field of disability, the 2006 Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) has advanced the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and other international development frameworks, such as the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.

Disability is a condition or function that is deemed to be severely impaired in comparison to an individual's or group's customary standard. Individual functioning is frequently used to refer to physical impairment, sensory impairment, cognitive impairment, intellectual impairment, mental illness, and many forms of chronic disease. According to some disabled persons, this usage is related with a medical paradigm of impairment. Individuals with disabilities, dubbed the "world's largest minority," typically have poorer health, lower educational attainment, less economic possibilities, and higher rates of poverty than people without disabilities. This is largely due to a lack of services (such as information and communications technology (ICT), justice, and transportation) and the numerous barriers they face on a daily basis. These impediments can take many forms, including those imposed by the physical environment, those imposed by legislation or policy, and those imposed by societal attitudes or discrimination.

Individuals with impairments face a significantly increased risk of violence: Children with disabilities are nearly four times as likely as non-disabled children to face violence. Adults who have some sort of impairment are 1.5 times as likely to be victims of violence as those who do not have a handicap. Adults with mental health problems are nearly four times more likely to be victims of violence. Stigma, discrimination, and misinformation about disability, as well as a lack of social support for those who care for them, all contribute to the increased risk of violence against individuals with disabilities.

Development and a more inclusive society

The evidence and experience demonstrate that when barriers to inclusion are removed and disabled people are empowered to participate fully in society, their entire community benefits. As a result, the barriers faced by disabled people harm society as a whole, and accessibility is vital for everyone to thrive and develop. The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) acknowledges that the presence of barriers is a critical aspect of disability. According to the Convention, disability is a developing term that "rises from the interplay between people with disabilities and the psychological and environmental barriers that prevent them from participating fully and effectively in society on an equal footing with others. “Access to and inclusion of persons with disabilities are essential rights recognised by the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and are not just goals, but also prerequisites to the enjoyment of other rights. The Convention (Article 9, accessibility) aims to enable disabled people to live independently and actively engage in all aspects of life and development. It encourages States Parties to adopt appropriate measures to guarantee that persons with disabilities have equitable access to all facets of society, as well as to identify and eradicate accessibility challenges and restrictions.


World Disability Day 2021- “Leadership and Participation of Persons with Disabilities”


India's Disability Issues

Individuals with disabilities frequently have lower educational attainment, poorer health, higher poverty rates, and less economic engagement than non-disabled individuals. They are crippled not just physically, but also socially. Disability is a broad term that encompasses impairments, activity limitations, and participation constraints. Impairment is defined as a problem with the structure or function of the body; activity restriction is defined as a challenge encountered by a person while performing an action or task; and participation restriction is defined as a difficulty encountered by a person when engaging in life situations. Individuals with disabilities are considered to be one of the world's most marginalised populations. They have the same health needs as non-disabled people – for health screening and immunisation, for example. They may even have a smaller health margin, both as a result of social exclusion and poverty, and as a result of their susceptibility to secondary illnesses such as urinary tract infections or pressure sores.

According to studies, people with disabilities frequently have lower educational attainment, poorer health, a higher percentage of poverty, and less economic involvement than people without disabilities. They are crippled not just physically, but also socially. As a result, disability is not solely a health issue. It is a complicated phenomenon that represents the interaction of an individual's physical traits with the characteristics of the society in which the individual lives. A sizable proportion of children with disabilities (CWDs) do not attend school. Even if they remain in school, they rarely advance beyond primary levels, resulting in decreased employment and income.

While the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has made strenuous efforts to promote inclusion of children with disabilities, the system faces numerous obstacles in recognising and meeting these children's needs. Since the 1970s, the budget for educating these youngsters in traditional school settings has not expanded proportionately. Coordination between the Ministries of Social Justice and Empowerment, Human Resource Development, the Indian Rehabilitation Council, and the teacher training system should be strengthened. State-level policies for the education of disabled children must be implemented.

Numerous disabilities in India are avoidable and preventable, including those caused by medical complications during pre-natal, natal, and post-natal periods, as well as traumas, accidents, and starvation. However, the health sector has been slow to respond to disability, particularly in rural areas. Despite the fact that many disabled individuals are capable of productive labour, many remain unemployed. Forget about the commercial sector providing jobs for these individuals; even the state sector struggles to provide employment for them. Despite the fact that 3% of positions are earmarked for people with disabilities, only 10% of positions are classified as eligible. Even worse, the quota policy applies exclusively to three types of disability: hearing, visual, and locomotor.

Access to social security schemes

Social security programmes such as disability pensions have aided disabled individuals in meeting their daily living expenditures, and states are free to choose the pension amount and eligibility conditions. Pensions range between Rs 400 and Rs 2,500 per month. In the aftermath of the COVID-19 epidemic and the country's complete lockdown, disability pensions and other types of social security become critical for disabled people's survival. Additionally, the Government of India announced a financial distribution of Rs 1000 under the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana to assist disabled individuals in overcoming obstacles during the following three months.


However, financial aid to persons with disabilities is not only woefully inadequate to cover their daily needs, but also creates ambiguity and barriers to access. There is a need to clarify if the Rs 1000 would be distributed monthly to those with disabilities or if it will be divided over the next three months. While possession of a disability certificate is required to qualify for this financial aid, this criterion has acted as a significant hurdle for persons with disabilities, as a vast proportion of people with disabilities do not possess a disability 18 certificate. Additionally, there is concern about the effectiveness and practicality of advancing a pension for disabled individuals at this time. The promised payment of Rs. 500 to Jan Dhan accounts has been credited to various people's accounts. However, there is currently no information available on the transfer of this ex-gratia.


(The Author is PHD Economics and   Research associate at Jindal center for Global South. Email: malikfirdouscrc@gmail.com)



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