8 Feb 2014

Multi-Pronged Strategy to Achieve Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities

The vision of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment is to build a society wherein members of the target groups, Scheduled Castes, Other Backward Classes, Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), Senior Citizens, and Victims of Substance Abuse can lead productive, safe and dignified life, with all their basic needs being fulfilled, and adequate support and equal opportunities are ensured for their growth and development.In view of this strong commitment to the empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, the Department of Disability Affairs was created in May 2012 in the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.

The Article 41 of the Constitution of India states that "the State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provision for securing the right to work, to education and to public assistance in cases of unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases of undeserved want.”

            Under the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (PwD Act), and the National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999,  "Person with Disability" is defined as a person suffering from not less than 40% of any disability, as certified by a medical authority - the disabilities being - blindness, low vision, leprosy-cured, hearing impairment, locomotor disability, mental retardation, mental illness, autism, or,  a combination of any two or more of them.

            Its enabling framework consists of four legislations, Rehabilitation Council of India Act, 1992, Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995; National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999 and Mental Health Act, 1987.

The National Policy for Persons with Disabilities recognises the fact that persons with disabilities are a valuable human resource for the country and seeks to create an environment that provides them equal opportunities, protection of their rights and full participation in society; which is in consonance with the basic principles enshrined in our Constitution, of equality, freedom, justice and dignity of all individuals. It implicitly mandates an inclusive society for all, including persons with disabilities. The Policy also recognizes the fact that a majority of persons with disabilities can lead a better quality of life if they have equal opportunities and effective access to rehabilitation measures.

            The institutional framework of the Department consists of the office of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, Rehabilitation Council of India, National Trust for the Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities, and eight National Institutes dedicated to different disabilities, Regional and District-level Centres for Persons with Disabilities and 8 Composite Regional Centres and about 200 District Disability Rehabilitation Centres. 

These organizations are involved in providing rehabilitation services, education, manpower development and research, regulation and developmental activities. The Department's two Central Public Sector Enterprises viz. Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) and National Handicapped Finance Development Corporation (NHFDC) are involved in manufacture of aids and assistive devices and providing financial assistance for economic empowerment of the PwDs.

            About 2.11 per cent of the population as per 2001 census comprises of persons with disabilities having one or multiple disability. Though the number is small, the need of these members of our society deserves special attention. Disabilities present probabilistic outcomes which can affect anyone and it is appropriate that society does whatever it can to assist this segment to play a full part in society.

There was a paradigm shift in policy towards Persons with Disabilities since the Ninth Five Year Plan, from the earlier welfare based approach to a rights-based approach. The Tenth Plan focused on effective implementation of various provisions of legislation and National Policy for Persons with Disabilities. It advocated a multi-sectoral and multi-collaborative approach.

The Eleventh Plan had aimed at inclusive growth. It was expected to achieve inclusiveness through significant improvements in literacy/education, health, greater employment opportunities and sharper focus on disadvantaged groups. The Eleventh Plan emphasized upon the rights-based approach to empower the PwDs inter alia through delineating clear cut responsibility between the concerned Ministries/ Departments; formulating detailed rules and guidelines by concerned Ministries/Departments; and monitoring mechanism at various levels.


During the XIth Plan, the Ministry has taken lead in a number of areas and worked towards empowerment of persons with disabilities.  A National Centre namely, Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre was set up in 2011 to propagate and develop Indian Sign Language.

The National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation promoted economic development activities and self-employment ventures for the benefit of Persons with Disability. The Corporation extended credit facilities to beneficiaries through channelising agencies in States/UTs and provided loans at concessional rate for education, skill development and self-employment ventures to Persons with Disabilities. On the basis of budgetary provisions made on year to year basis, 34461 persons with disabilities benefited.

The Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India is manufacturing and supplying durable, sophisticated, scientifically manufactured modern and ISI standard quality assistive aids and appliances that can promote physical, psychological, social, economic and vocational rehabilitation by reducing the effect of disabilities and enhancing potential for self-dependence.

The scheme of setting up of Composite Regional Centres is a part of overall strategy to reach out to the PwDs in the country and to facilitate the creation of the required infrastructure and capacity building at Central, State and District levels and below for awareness generation, training of rehabilitation professionals, service delivery. At present there are eight CRCs functioning at Sundernagar, Srinagar, Lucknow, Guwahati, Patna, Bhopal, Ahmedabad and Kozhikode.

199 District Disability Rehabilitation Centres have been sanctioned out of which 181 are functional and are providing rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities. 21 new DDRCs have been set up in 2010–11 In the financial year 2011–12, grant amounting to Rs.196.28 lakh was released for setting up of 12 new DDRCs at Warangal (Andhra Pradesh), Supaul (Bihar), Sitamarhi (Bihar), West Champaran (Bihar), Sabarkantha (Gujarat), Banaskantha (Gujarat), Bharatpur (Rajasthan), Bhilwara (Rajasthan) Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh), Bulandshahr (Uttar Pradesh), Bardhaman (West Bengal), Purulia (West Bengal).

Scheme of Assistance to persons with disabilities for Purchase/Fitting of Aids/Appliances  provided grant-in aid to the various implementing agencies (NGOs/District Disability Rehabilitation Centres/ALIMCO/State Handicapped Development Corporation/other local bodies) to assist the needy disabled persons in procuring durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances that can promote their physical, social and psychological rehabilitation, by reducing the effects of disabilities and enhance their economic potential.

The outlay under the Eleventh Five Year Plan for  Deendayal Disabled Rehabiliation Scheme was Rs. 500.00 crore Under the Scheme, 530 NGOs were assisted during 2007–11 covering an average of 2.3 lakh beneficiaries every year.

The Scheme of Incentives to Employers in the Private Sector for Providing Employment to Persons with Disabilities provided the employer’s contribution for Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees State Insurance (ESI) for the first 3 years, for employees with disabilities employed in the private sector on or after  1 April 2008, with a monthly salary upto Rs.25000. Under the scheme, 392 (upto 31 March 2012) and 918 (upto 29 September 2012) persons have been registered by EPFO and ESIC respectively.

ARUNIM which is the marketing wing of National Trust has been successful in facilitating enterprises that offer products and services to ensure sustenance and equality for people with developmental disabilities. Its sales is to the tune of Rs. 107.87 lacs from 2008 to date.

Some of the important initiatives undertaken by the Department include fulfilling obligations due to ratification of United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities by India by way of harmonising Indian Laws with the provisions of the Convention; replacing the existing PwD Act by a new legislation to bring it in tune with the demands of changing times; revision of ADIP scheme and introduction of national fellowship/scholarship for students with disabilities to pursue post-matric, professional, overseas and higher education etc.
The XII Plan has envisaged a multi-pronged strategy to achieve empowerment of persons with disabilities by incorporating various programme  and initiatives during the plan period. The outlay for the XII Plan period has been increased from Rs.1,426.80 crores during XI Plan to Rs. 3,284 crores.

You May Also Like


Popular Posts