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UPSC EDITORIAL ANALYSIS : Structured negotiation as a boost for disability rights


Source: The Hindu

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.


  • Chief Justice of India (CJI): To truly achieve substantive equality, the impact of provisions of law must be understood in the context of social realities.
  • Globally, 3(one point three)billion people live with some form of disability.
  • Of them, 80% live in developing countries; further, 70% of them live in rural areas.






  • 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.


Issues faced by Disabled people:

  • Current systems are designed for persons without disabilities and end up being exclusionary to people with disabilities, resulting in:
    • higher instances of poverty
    • lack of access to education and opportunities
    • informality and other forms of social and economic discrimination.
  • The current employment scenario is limited, providing fewer jobs for persons with disabilities
  • Current employment scenario perpetuates stereotypes that create further barriers for people with disabilities to access the labor market.
  • The limited access to education and employment.
    • Some developmental schemes, too, exclude them.
  • They are viewed as objects of charity and not as persons with agency with an ability to participate in decision-making processes.


Structured negotiation:

  • It is a collaborative and solution-driven dispute resolution technique used as an alternative to litigation.
  • It involves inviting the defaulting service provider to the negotiation table and impressing upon them the benefits of complying with social welfare legislations.
  • United States: Its utility pervades sectors, structured negotiation has been most effective in settling disability rights cases.

Its success rate:

●      Structured negotiation has been successful in addressing the issues relating to:

○      inaccessible automated teller machines

○      point of sale devices

○      pedestrian signals and Service provider websites.

●      It has convinced Walmart, CVS and Caremark to create accessible prescription bottles for blind or low vision customers.

●      It has been able to drive institutional reform by facilitating strategies for creating more accessible voting machines and websites.

  • Defaulting service providers want to
    • avoid the high costs and negative publicity associated with litigation
    • complainants want a barrier-free participation in the marketplace
    • Both of them can be achieved through structured negotiation.
  • Creation of a strong body of disabled-friendly legal precedents that create a robust foundation for structured negotiation to take place.
  • Structured negotiation emerges as a pathway for businesses:
    • To ensure that they are able to make their offerings accessible without having to go through the rigmarole of litigation
    • for users with disabilities to obtain a disabled-friendly offering without the cost and unpleasantness associated with litigation.

India and Disability:

  • The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 provides that any non-compliance with its provisions may be reported to the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (‘CCPD’).
  • The CCPD puts the defaulting service provider on notice
    • It may then either direct them to make their services accessible or impose penalties on them for non-compliance.


Way Forward

  • The creation of a designated body for handling cases on disability rights has been a positive measure
    • Its actual impact on repairing accessibility barriers in the marketplace remains to be seen.
  • CCPD recently directed PayTM(digital payments application) to make its mobile applications accessible for Persons with Disabilities.
    • The PayTM application ultimately became more inaccessible.
  • Any attempt to make digital services accessible for persons with disabilities in real time requires constant vigilance and user inputs which can validate the efficacy of solutions.
  • It can enable Persons with Disabilities to take their concerns directly to the service providers and monitor the fixes as they get implemented.
  • The success of any alternative dispute resolution model is directly proportional to the level of priority that such service providers are willing to afford to the struggles of persons with disabilities.
  • Helen Keller noted: optimism is the faith that leads to achievement”.
  • India should deploy structured negotiation: Businesses that refuse to join the bandwagon will be doing so at their own peril
    • They will be losing out on the enormous buying capacity that persons with disabilities possess
    • even keeping aside the question of legal compliance to one side.
  • Businesses prioritized the needs of disabled users, and exhibiting openness to enter into a structured negotiation would be a powerful step in this direction.



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)