Disabled people, disability laws: India

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


Disability in the Indian population

As in 2018

Nov 23, 2019: The Economic Times

NEW DELHI: Overall percentage of persons with disability in the population was 2.2 per cent during July 2018 to December 2018 in the country, showed a National Statistical Office (NSO) survey report on Saturday.

The NSO, a wing of the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, has conducted a Survey of Persons with Disabilities during July 2018 to December 2018 as a part of 76th round of National Sample Survey (NSS).

Prior to this, the survey on the same subject was carried out by the NSO during the 58th round (July-December 2002).

"In India, prevalence of disability (percentage of persons with disability in the population) was 2.2 per cent - with 2.3 per cent in rural and 2 per cent in urban areas. Prevalence of disability was higher among males than females," it said.

Among males, prevalence of disability was 2.4 per cent, while it was 1.9 per cent among females, it added.

The main objective of the survey was to estimate indicators of incidence and prevalence of disability, cause, age at onset, facilities available to the persons with disability, difficulties faced by them in accessing/using public building/public transport, arrangement of regular care giver, out-of pocket expenses relating to disability, etc.

The present survey covered 1.18 lakh households across India.

The survey said among persons with disabilities of age 7 years and above, 52.2 per cent were literate.

"Among persons with disabilities of age 15 years and above, 19.3 per cent had highest educational level as secondary and above. Among persons with disabilities of age 3 to 35 years, 10.1 per cent attended pre-school intervention programme. Percentage of persons with disabilities of age 3 to 35 years, who were ever enrolled in ordinary school, was 62.9 per cent," it said.

Percentage of persons with disabilities living alone was 3.7 per cent, while 62.1 per cent had care giver. About 21.8 per cent had received aid/help from government, and another 1.8 per cent had received aid/help from organisations other than government.

About 28.8 per cent reported that they had a certificate of disability.

Among persons with disabilities of age 15 years and above, Labour Force Participation Rate in usual status (ps+ss) was 23.8 per cent, the survey said adding that for thise aged 15 years and above, it was 22.8 per cent.

"Among persons with disabilities of age 15 years and above, Unemployment Rate in usual status (ps+ss) was 4.2 per cent," it added.

Disability Act, 1995

‘84% seats for disabled unfilled at top universities’

Manash Gohain, ‘84% seats for disabled unfilled at top univs’, November 30, 2017: The Times of India

Representation of disabled students in top universities in India
From: Manash Gohain, ‘84% seats for disabled unfilled at top univs’, November 30, 2017: The Times of India

Thirty-two of India’s top universities and institutions of higher learning, including IITs, IIMs, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University, have together filled up barely 16% of the minimum quota for people with disabilities, a survey has revealed.

Exposing the appalling failure of the government in implementing the 1995 Disability Act — which fixed a minimum 3% quota — the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) found that these institutions had just 1,614 disabled people out of a student population of 3.33 lakh, which is just 0.48% of the total.

Worse, women with disabilities constituted a mere 28% of the disabled students in these institutions, the survey found. Laws and policies are meaningless if colleges and universities are not accessible to persons with disabilities, said Javed Abidi, honorary director of NCPEDP.

Little to show on education 20 yrs after disability Act came into force

These are the top 50 national institutions. Imagine what it would be like in other colleges and universities across India,” he said.

Abidi said since the state of education was so bad, “obviously the employment rate of people with disabilities gets affected. There is hardly any supply chain.”

NCPEDP conducted the survey from August to November 2017, beginning with attempts to source data on representation of students with disabilities in India’s campuses. Some the of other institutions covered were University of Hyderabad, Benaras Hindu University, Aligarh Muslim University, Punjab University and Goa University.

It found that of the disabled students, 71.8% were male while 28.19% were female. NCPEDP has been pointing out for a long time that girls with disabilities were doubly disadvantaged.

“When I look at this ratio, I wonder what the HRD and women and child development ministries are doing about girls with disabilities. We have completely neglected the responsibility of educating people with disabilities. More than 20 years after the 1995 Disability Act, what do we have to show? The state of education is the same. In fact, it has gotten worse, as the survey helps expose.”

The study found that of the 1,614 disabled students studying in various universities, 613 have orthopaedic disabilities while 311have visual disabilities. Another 31 have speech and/or hearing impairments. For the survey, conducted by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People, the, top 50 universities were sent the questionnaire.

The reesponse rate was 64% ( that is, 32 of the 50 universities who were approached responded).


2018: just 15 of disabled are employed in a regular job

Dec 3, 2019 Times of India

People with disabilities in rural and urban employment, presumably as in 2018
From: Dec 3, 2019 Times of India
The kinds of employment that people with disabilities are in, presumably as in 2018
From: Dec 3, 2019 Times of India

People with disabilities constitute 2.2% of the country's total population, translating to 2.6 crore people. In the last few years, the government has rolled out several welfare and special schemes for them to integrate them into the mainstream. These include several tax exemptions, low interest rates for bank loans, scholarships in professional courses and more.

But when it comes to jobs, there still exists a huge disparity between the disabled and non-disabled population. Consider this: Compared to an all India labour force participation rate (LFPR) of 50.7%, people with disabilities have a LFPR of a mere 23.8%. Which means effectively over a crore are out of work force.

In 1995, India passed a law requiring Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) to hire 3% of their employees from the people with disabilities segment. The cap was later increased to 4%. Despite this, integration of people with disabilities into the labor market remains woefully low — not even one fourth of their overall population.

A greater proportion of them are left to fend for themselves and have to be their own boss. On all India levels, 22.8% of people are employed as salaried workers, but merely 15% of them have regular jobs. 
Further, more than three-fourths of India’s disabled population receives no help from the government or non-governmental organisations (NGOs). According to National Statistical Office (NSO), only 21.8% of people with disabilities received help from the government and just 1.8% received aid from other organisations. Women with disabilities are the worst off as a greater proportion don’t any aid when compared to men.


Low literacy levels too hampers the employability of disabled population. Among persons with disabilities of age 7 years and above, only 52.2% are found to be literate, while those 15 years and above, only 19.3% had highest educational level as secondary and above. In the age group of 3-35 years, only 10.1% were found to have attended pre-school intervention programme.

‘Reservations’ (affirmative action)

 All posts in IPS, RPF exempted from 4% disability quota

August 20, 2021: The Times of India

The Centre has exempted all categories of posts under the Indian Police Service and Indian Railway Protection Force among some other services from the provision of 4% reservation in employment for persons with benchmark disabilities, taking into account the nature of the work involved in these services. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 provides for 4% quota in government jobs for persons with disabilities as specified.

A gazette notification also exempts Delhi, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, Daman and Diu and Dadra and Nagar Haveli police services from the reservation provision under the Act.

A notification of the ministry of social justice and empowerment stated that the decision had been taken in consultation with the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, after taking into account the nature and type of work.

In a separate notification, the government exempted all categories of posts of combatant personnel of Central Armed Police Forces like Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Central Industrial Security Force, Indo-Tibetan Border Police, Sashastra Seema Bal and Assam Rifles from the provisions of the reservation under the 2016 Act. Earlier in 2018, the government had exempted all categories of posts of combatant personnel in the Armed Forces from the provision.

The notification with regard to exemption for all categories of posts in services like IPS evoked strong reactions from disability rights activists. In a statement, the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled said the move “militates against the spirit and intent” of the provisions that allow exemptions under the RPwD Act. “The intent of this proviso is not to grant a blanket exemption from employing disabled persons but to see that combatant roles or such duties are not assigned to them. And in any case, recruitment is only against identified posts,” NPRD general secretary Muralidharan said.

However, sources in the ministry said the decision was arrived at after much consultation with the ministries and departments concerned.

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