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Dr. D. Y. Patil Vidyapeeth, Pune
(Deemed to be University)
Dr. D. Y. Patil College of Physiotherapy
Sant Tukaram Nagar, Pimpri, Pune-411018

Enabling the disabled: an insight into the measures for the specially-abled population of our country

Enabling the disabled: an insight into the measures for the specially-abled population of our country

When an individual has different capabilities comparative to an average person then the individual is referred to as a “Specially-abled” person. Such people either have a mental or physical disability and these disabilities make them special or unique

Dr. Rhucha Rajapurkar
May, 14 2021

“Disability need not be an obstacle to success,” Stephen Hawking, who is regarded as one of the greatest scientists of has written in the first-ever world disability report back in 2011. However, the question in the current era arises, are we prepared enough to serve the Specially enabled population in our country? Are we making sure of their comfort and accessibility to the basic necessities of life? Are we giving them equal opportunities and enabling them to live a better quality of life? Let’s take a glimpse into the current state of the Indian scenario.

Specially abled is an umbrella term used for people who are falling into a population of people having - different capabilities as compared to the average person.

Physical disabilities are further categorized into four major divisions- mainly visual impairments, hearing impairments, motor impairments, and cognitive impairments. According to NSSO'S report about disability in 2019 states that 2.2% of Indians have some form of disability.

specially-abled population

India has a specially enabled of 16% disabled people are in the age group of 20-29 years,13% disabled people are in the age group of 30-39 years, 12% disabled people are in the age group of 40-49 years as per statistics of 2016. So, there are various welfare policies, government schemes, and programs for the disabled people in our country to empower the working class specially enabled population.

Having an overview of the facilities mentioned below, we can have foreseen the government strategies are in place, but further is a responsibility of the government to upgrade, refurbish and improvise the existing reforms which the government laid for differently enabled.

Even as for today, we still see an end number of tragic cases where the disabled are relying on friends and family to get hold even of the basic necessities. Railways, airports, public washrooms are far from approachable for this category of people. Each time we come across such a scenario, I’m sure we all wish for our country to transform into a better-equipped nation.

National law policies for persons with Disability were enacted as the Government of India gives assurance of justice, freedom, dignity, and equality to all the citizens of the country whether it is a normal person or a disabled one and these policies have resulted in vast changes in the society and the perception of people, the way they think for the disabled ones and the way disabled people are treated nowadays comparatively to the old times.

Education is a right to all and every student regardless of any ability or disability deserves an education. Educating specially-abled students should not even be a debate, just teach them with the best of the available resources, and let them reach the seventh sky. Special schools cater to many advanced teaching methods for differently-abled children.

The first and foremost part of this teaching method is recognizing the type of disabilities in children. Physical, social, and mental barriers may occur but the trainings, investment in education, and an effective educational environment can reduce the risk of barriers also helps them grow like every other human being. Having the right cues in an environment can mean the difference between participation and non-participation for many children with special needs. 

Most of the parents of the differently able children are unable to get access to the best schools and colleges which help their child mould into capable individuals. A ground reality has to be investigated and malpractices like bribes or rejections to admissions should be thoroughly looked into by the local governing party.

Educational Measures include:

  1. The Right of Children to free and compulsory education act (RTE), 2009.
  2. Samagra Shiksha (launched in 2018-19)

Under these schemes, a disabled person has access to school and elementary education (Under section 3(2) of the RTE Act) whereas Samagra Shiksha is a scheme to educate disabled children by fulfilling all their needs.

Further, Observations are made that if equal opportunities and rights are given with access to rehabilitation measures to people with a disability then they have the courage and power to be the change and prove that they build a quality life for themselves.

Let’s quote the exemplary example of Sudha Chandran (born 27 September 1965) is an Indian film actress who appeared in a few Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Telugu, and Bengali films and shows and is an accomplished Bharatanatyam dancer. Back in 1981, she hurt her leg in a road accident in Tamil Nadu. Her leg became gangrenous and her parents opted to have it amputated.

However, she subsequently became an established Bharatanatyam dancer. Her success reached so high that she was awarded National Film Award – Special Jury Award in 1985.

Sudha Chandran

Moving on to a different category, Sports has the ability to build confidence and help disabled people to max their potential. Many of the sports played by average people can also be played by a specially-abled person by certain amendments be it athletics, cycling, bowling, swimming, rugby, archery, golf, table tennis, basketball, ice hockey, fencing, etc.

Providing the right base for differently-abled people can imbibe both balanced physical and mental health, reduce stress, and creates a sense of belonging amongst the general crowd.

Given the right platform, opportunity and resources there are outstanding performers like Deepa Malik is an Indian athlete. Her career started at the age of 30. She is the first Indian woman to win a medal in Paralympic Games and won a Silver medal at the 2016 Summer Paralympics in shot put

She also won gold in the F-53/54 Javelin event at the para athletic Grand Prix held in Dubai in 2018 and is currently the world number one in the F-53 category.

Deepa Malik

Making another point here, Union Budget 2021 should address the necessities of differently-abled people and must ensure a supportive environment, special education, and individual skill-building.

As per UN, around 80% of one Billion disabled population live in developing nations, every one-fifth women experience a sort of disability in her life whereas One-tenth child experience a form of disability whereas previous record state that 48% population of disabled people is literate, 35% are employed and 75% live in rural areas. Medical rehabilitation is now overshadowed by the enhancement of social rehabilitation.

Taking a glimpse into the schemes available for Specially abled :

Central Government Schemes and various other measures  include:

  1. National award for people with disabilities
  2. Vocational Rehabilitation center
  3. Deen Dayal Rehabilitation scheme
  4. Good incentives to the employees of the private sector for coming up with employment to the disabled people.
  5. Scheme of assistance to disabled persons for fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP)
  6. Policy to promote voluntary action for the persons with disabilities which comes under Deen Dayal Rehabilitation scheme to create a good environment, empower people with disability, to make sure the act is being implemented correctly, enhancement of education, to support civil and human rights, to empower manpower development tasks, to arrange resource setups, support independent living.

“National policy of persons with disability” was formulated in 2006 by the government of India which focuses on rehabilitation of women and children with disabilities and also works on Physical, Economical and Educational Rehabilitation of disabled persons as the policy believes that all the human beings are equally resourceful and must get an equal amount of opportunities, involvement and participation, and equal rights.

However, looking at the ground reality we need to get into the facts and find out how many of these people are actually aware of such policies initiated by the Indian Government. In a country where even procuring a disability certificate from a government office is a task, getting facilities and equal opportunities yet sounds like a distant dream.

But let’s look at Disability as “This is the ability” and give help create an infrastructure that is friendly for all cadres of the population. Together, we can make a difference by supporting the NGO’S for the disabled, providing aids to the financially weak special population, creating reserved category seats for the specially-abled, etc. we rightly believe that “change begins with us”.

Thusly, these measures for the people who are disabled aim to enhance their lifestyle, make them feel confident, help them being good communicators, and make them realize their worth. Lacking power or a certain ability does not make them liable for being treated differently, it’s a skill that decides the ability, gives them an equal chance, and let's see them conquer!

“How a society treats its disabled is the true measure of a civilization.” – Chen Guangcheng

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