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EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : Let’s walk together

 

Source: Indian Express

Prelims: Current events of national importance(Different social service Schemes, abala, sabala, All India Women’s Conference, NFHS, Rights of persons with disabilities act.,2016, digital India, census 2011 etc )

  • Mains GS Paper II & III: Social empowerment, development and management of social sectors/services etc.

ARTICLE HIGHLIGHTS

  • On August 15, 2047, India will turn 100.
    • A hundred years of giant strides to becoming the world’s largest democracy and an economic superpower.

population

INSIGHTS ON THE ISSUE

Context

Disability:

  • It is an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions.
  • An impairment is a problem in body function or structure;
  • An activity limitation is a difficulty encountered by an individual in executing a task or action
  • A participation restriction is a problem experienced by an individual in involvement in life situations.

 

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 the state list of the Seventh Schedule of the constitution.

 

Right of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016:

  • Disability has been defined on the basis of evolving and dynamic concepts.
  • 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.
  • Government has been authorized to notify any other category of specified disability.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Separate National and State Fund created to provide financial support to the persons with disabilities.
  • Women and children are particularly vulnerable, and certain rights, such as reproductive rights,may be even more neglected or disregarded as compared to others.

 

Three megatrends for Indian economic growth:

  • global offshoring
  • digitalisation
  • energy transition

 

Data:

  • Census 2011: Disability 2.21(two point two one) percent of India’s total population
  • Activists, academicians and world bodies like the WHO estimate it to be between 40 and 80 million.

 

Steps taken for Disabled population:

  • NEP 2020: progressive education policy,
  • Accessible India Campaign: To create a barrier-free environment for independent, safe and dignified living
  • The international development agenda says “Leave No One Behind.”
  • The RPwD Act also increased the quota for disability reservation in higher educational institutions to 5 percent and in government jobs to 4 percent.

 

Challenges to disability population:

  • Poorer health outcomes
  • lower education achievements
  • less economic participation
  • higher rates of poverty.

 

Women and girls with disabilities:

  • They are subjected to multiple layers of discrimination.
  • Unemployment rates are highest among them.
  • They face disproportionately high rates of gender-based violence, sexual abuse, neglect, maltreatment and exploitation.

 

What steps need to be taken?

  • Data is needed to ascertain the services and finances to be provided.
  • Policymakers and practitioners tend to leave out people with disabilities in various programmes due to the unavailability of data.
    • It is crucial to create and manage disability-specific disaggregated data across sectors of health, education, poverty alleviation, law and order, sports, and culture.
  • The principles of “universal design” must be followed to make places, transport, websites, information and processes (meetings, proceedings etc.) accessible.
  • Awareness about various schemes for the socio-economic development of persons with disabilities is needed among the intended beneficiaries and government functionaries at the panchayat and village levels.

 

Budget allocation to disability:

  • It has been coming down over the years.
  • In the 2023-24 budget, the allocation for the scheme for implementation of the RPwD Act has been reduced by Rs 90 crore
  • In the last three years: The amount allocated to PwDs, in percentage of GDP, has been declining.
    • 2020-21, it was 0.0097(zero point zero zero nine seven)percent of the GDP
    • 2021-22, it was 0093(zero point zero zero nine three)percent of GDP
    • 2022-23, it is 0084(zero point zero zero eight four)of the GDP.
  • The Centre for Budget and Governance Accountability’s report has revealed that in the year 2020-21, nearly 35 percent of the money allotted for schemes related to PwDs was not utilized.

 

Way Forward

  • By proper implementation and operationalisation of laws and policies can we bring about positive changes in the lives of the disabled in India.
    • To ensure this we need to focus on four things — disaggregated data, accessibility, finances and awareness.
  • Without options to travel freely and independently and use public spaces, people with disabilities will continue to lack access to education, healthcare, employment, housing and systems of social protection.
  • Stereotypical notions about persons with disabilities being less capable, dependent and helpless cause discrimination.
    • Many myths regarding us being abnormal create fear and mental blocks in the community.
    • Awareness drives are needed to break such myths.
  • The future of India’s superpower status is dependent upon its capacity to provide opportunities, implement laws equitably and reduce the marginalization of unequal citizens.

 

QUESTION FOR PRACTICE

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 remains only a legal document without intense sensitisation of government functionaries and citizens regarding disability. Comment.(UPSC 2022) (200 WORDS, 10 MARKS)