Disability In India: The Initiative For Inclusion

India is a diverse country with a diverse range of problems plaguing it. While most of these issues get their fair share of attention, we’ve come to realize that the issue of disability is often ignored. Thankfully, the collective attitude towards the disabled in India is starting to shift. Genuine efforts are being made to make the disabled in our society feel included.

However, are these efforts enough? Here at Let It Count, we’ve been associated with various programs and NGOs directly dealing with disabled folks on the ground. So trust us when we tell you that we have in-depth insight on the topic that we’ll be discussing today.

We’d like to take you on a deep dive into this hot-button topic and discuss what the government and other organizations are doing to provide differently abled people with dignity that has eluded them for years within Indian society.

So without much further ado, let’s get started.

Understanding Disability

When people talk about disability, most people think of a rather physical impairment. However, they cannot be any further from the truth. In reality, disability extends to a wide range of challenges or limitations that an individual might face.

A disability can be physical, sensory, or cognitive. Examples of physical disabilities could entail amputations, paralysis, or challenges in mobility. Sensory disabilities could entail blindness, deafness, or any other issues that impair one’s sensory organs.

Then we have disabilities that are cognitive in nature. This could entail Down syndrome, autism, and other forms of intellectual disabilities. Finally, we have impairments related to mental health. Some good examples of mental health disabilities would be depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, etc.

Unlike physical or sensory disabilities, there is a stigma still attached to mental health or cognitive impairments among Indian communities. For a very long time, cognitively challenged people in India have been shunned and treated with utter contempt instead of the empathy they deserve.

Thankfully, steps have been taken today by the government of India and other institutions to neutralize the stigma surrounding mental health once and for all. With proper education, healthcare initiatives, and social participation, India is finally on the right path to ensuring dignity for people dealing with mental health problems.

Despite the intervention, however, the mistreatment of mentally disabled folks still persists within Indian societies.

Prevalence of Disability in India

To understand how significant the issue of disability is in India, we need to look no further than the reports published by Indian government bodies. According to a report published by the Office of Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities, It is estimated that about 2.68 Cr. People in India are suffering from some form of disability. This amounts to 2.21% of the total population.

Among the disabled, 56% are said to be males, whereas 44% are said to be females. The report further goes on to state that a majority of disabled folks in India, nearly 69%, come from rural regions. It was also found that there was a significant increase in the number of disabled folks in India between 2001 and 2011.

Many experts on the issue believe that this number could be even higher because of underreporting and the stigma attached to disability. Irrespective of whether the numbers are underreported, 2.68 Cr. is still a huge number. One can attribute several reasons for disability being this prevalent in the country.

Blame could fall on complacency from the side of the government, poverty, societal discrimination, or India’s poor healthcare infrastructure. At this point, we believe no good can come by harping on this issue. What’s truly necessary now is an action that truly addresses the heart of this issue.

Over the years, many government policies and NGO initiatives have tried to do just that with varying degrees of success.

Government Policies on Disability over the Years

Ever since Independence, multiple sitting governments have acknowledged disability as a major concern for the country. As such, we have seen many policies being implemented with the express intent of promoting inclusion and granting disabled people certain essential rights. A good recent example of such a policy would be The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act.

Passed in 2016, the policy mandated the protection of rights, complete inclusion, and equal opportunities for people with disabilities. While this 2016 act has been the most recognized policy in recent years, there have been numerous government schemes over the years centered around the issue of disability.

GHARAUNDA, for instance, was a scheme launched by the government that ensured a secure home and quality healthcare for people suffering from cerebral palsy, autism, and other mental health disabilities.

Vikaas was yet another scheme, which involved the provision of day-care facilities for kids aged 10 years and older suffering from conditions like autism and other mental health challenges.

In our opinion, another excellent government initiative was the Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme. This program offered financial aid to voluntary groups engaged in rehabilitating the disabled.

Organizations Working in the Field of Disability

An issue as prevalent as disability in India cannot be tackled efficiently by the government alone. Thankfully, there isn’t a shortage of NGOs and similar organizations in India working tirelessly to empower disabled folks in the country.

The Diya Foundation, founded in 1999, for instance, has done a great job of educating and employing people dealing with cognitive challenges. The Associated of People with Disability is yet another NGO in India that is running educational programs in rural and urban Karnataka with the goal of empowering children suffering from a plethora of disabilities.

Then we have Sense International India. Launched in 1997, this NGO has provided much-needed aid to over 77500 deaf and blind individuals across 22 states.

There are many more NGOs like the one I mentioned above that are striving to ensure the disabled in India are treated with empathy and empowered in the process. However, most of these organizations barely get the attention they need to do their jobs effectively.

Most of them operate on a shoestring budget. With proper financial support, these organizations could thrive and help India combat the stigma surrounding disabilities once and for all.

This is where a fundraising entity like Let It Count comes into play.

Let It Count’s Role in Promoting Inclusivity of the Disabled in India

At Let It Count, we understand that the only way to empower the disabled in India is with proper education and social participation. This is why we joined hands with programs that are heavily invested in helping the disabled in our country.

For instance, we are currently trying to spotlight a 25-year-old foundation that’s actively engaged in offering specialized assistance to children and young adults with special needs.

We are also working with an NGO that’s providing innovative arts and crafts therapy to the disabled in a bid to enhance their quality of life.

Here at Let It Count, we are doing our part in casting a spotlight on these programs so they can succeed in empowering the impaired and differently-abled in our community.