Specially Enabled Persons

Aspirations of Specially Enabled Persons

Chandan Sukumar Sengupta[1]


            It is true that we all aspire for a progressive life having some meaningful interaction in society. It is also true that none of the individuals in society are experts by birth. Some of the acquired skills and competence make the individual competent for accepting challengers and for delivering certain duties and responsibilities with subtle differences. Selected ones from the entire sphere becomes creative and serves the society for attaining more prosperity.

            If society is the sphere of our interaction, then social being with varying skills and competences are our true associates. None of them should be kept behind and none of them should be under estimated. Keeping our fellow brothers and sisters back will put the entire society at the back seat of prosperity. Clinical qualification is not the only paradigm through which skills and competence of any person appears acceptable, it is a combination of clinical, emotional, psychological, intellectual as well as sensory capabilities that can make a person absolutely competent for some of the spheres of activity. It can even pave a path of prosperity and harmonious living in the community which will enhance the chances of collective progress with considerable endurance.

For addressing the aspirations of specially enabled persons this research note is duly advanced in its précises form    for discussion and for recommending any needful to be done at various levels of the society and organisations.


 The Background

                        Human beings are godly creations with some specialties and also some limitations. All individuals are not competent equally in all the fields they tend to aspire for. Success in certain fields of activities and failure in some other fields make all individuals job specific. A teacher can handle the subject in which the excellence is duly attained through some formal training. Considering this context a common affair of the restructuring of skills and competence that an individual ascend with we all plan for certain human development activities and try our best to prepare an individual for the type of statehood or nationhood that one should come up with. Ascent of the person from a local life to national and further to international life is the subject of capabilities and efforts that one put forth for gaining advancement. All individuals are not experts by born. Skills and competence acquired by them during the period of educational interaction and practices make them special. Fact sheet of disabilities (Appendix D: Disability Fact Sheet) make it clear that we are moving with some sort of limitations by all means. Both quality as well as quantity standards of human development efforts are the matters of concern.

            There remains some issues and concerns related to development (refer Appendix A) that envisages the need of the refinement of the policy standards to regulate the functioning as well as implementation strategies that required for accommodating the skills and competence possessed by specially enabled person for the collective efforts of national economic progress. How to accommodate such skills and how to move them up through training implements will be the immediate point to be addressed.

Limitations and Opportunities

            Appropriate technologies and selected impairments (Appendix A: Impairment Standards and Assistive Technologies) envisages some of the strategic intervention that makes the human development easier through collaborative efforts of technicians, teachers and other professionals. Leaving any individual in darkness and ignoring the skills and competencies duly housed in that person will be a collective effort assisted with appropriate technologies and assistive standards. Varying impairment standards and their applicability has created a horizon of hope for specially enabled persons through which they can aspire for implementing their enhanced skills and competence for delivering their duties in more appropriate way.

            It is the wish factor that often makes a person more active than compared to the level duly estimated while mapping the realms of skills and competence. Competency based curriculum design at the elementary level often points out the strength and limitations of a learner at various levels of interaction under various competencies. Such mapping will enable us to move on towards early specialization of the individual having special capabilities. For example, a person with problem of vision may be a good orator.

Ethical Notions

            Not to point out towards the limitations of any individual and to correlate the situation with skills and competence housed in the person will be the highest state of interaction that brings the individual closure to the streams of success. It will even restore the normal functioning of the specially enabled individual aiming towards incorporation of the same entity in the realm of the state level socio-economic and cultural activities. Segmentation of society on the basis of a converged dimension of working capabilities encompasses chances of the formation of close cultural groups having identical job specifications. Such close quarters often acknowledge the presence of their counterpart (Appendix F: Notebook). Scholars maintained different views regarding addressing aspirations of individuals having enhanced capabilities in certain fields supplemented with limitations of some other degrees and extent. Question even raised on the necessity of administering medical care if the some physical or physiological malfunctions duly diagnosed at the tender age.

            In order to implementing an ideal development environment at work places, certain conditions or impairments may not be considered disabilities. These may include but must not limited to:

  1. sexual behavior disorders of any kind proved to be against public policy;
  2. self-imposed body adornments such as tattoos and body piercing etc.;
  3. compulsive gambling, tendency to steal or light fires; disorders that affect a person’s mental or physical state if they are caused by current use of illegal drugs or alcohol,  unless the affected person is participating in a recognised programme of treatment duly prescribed by any registered medical professionals or clinics having valid registration of offering such treatments;
  4. normal deviations in height, weight and strength; and
  5. Conventional physical and mental characteristics and common personality traits.

            Some of the reasonable accommodation can be of the category of best practices having adequate scope of incorporating skilled individuals for dealing with services and equipment of specific type. There is no general framework of any guideline for focusing the need of people aspiring for a suitable accommodation at service stations or work places, but some exemplar mechanism of such efforts can be placed for explaining the situation efficiently. It may vary in accord to the situation of the place and the nature of interaction with which the service line ups are accustomed with. Selected examples of reasonable accommodation may be of following combinations by part or by whole:

1.adapting existing facilities to make them accessible by specially     enabled persons;

2.adapting existing equipment or acquiring new equipment including  computer hardware and software or some other instrumentations      for ensuring the smooth functioning of the individuals with certain     limitations of any biological type;

3.re-organising work stations;

4.changing training and assessment materials and systems;

5.restructuring jobs so that non-essential functions are re-assigned;

6.adjusting working time and leave calendars;

7.providing readers, sign language interpreters, and

8.Providing specialised supervision, training and support if needed.

There are certain pre requisites and guiding principles that an employer generally receive from the state executives. Some of the general points to be considered in general may be advanced for strengthening the policy parameters specified for safeguarding the specially enabled employees at work places.

            When employers recruit they should:

1.identify the inherent requirements and essential functions of the vacant position;

2.describe clearly the necessary skills and capabilities for the job;

3.Set reasonable criteria for selection, preferably in writing, for job applicants for vacant positions.

4.The purpose of the selection process is to assess whether or not an    applicant is suitably qualified. This may require a two-stage process      if an applicant has a disability:

            (i) Determining whether an applicant is suitably qualified;

            (ii) Determining whether a ‘suitably qualified applicant’ needs any accommodation to be able to perform the inherent requirements or essential functions of the job.

5.Tests to establish the health of an applicant or employee should be  distinguished from tests that assess the ability to perform essential  job functions or duties.

6.Health testing should therefore only be carried out after an employer has established that the person is in fact competent to   perform the essential job functions or duties and after a job offer  has been made. The same applies to medical testing for admission to membership of an employee benefit scheme.

Stride to Abolish Differences

            An efficient directives impregnated with a balanced policy framework can ensure the safety of specially enabled persons at work places. It should be adequately addressed alongside the joint consultation of the authorities implementing and monitoring the work place under consideration. It is recommended that an employer who requires a person to undergo any medical, health screening or safety test must bear the costs of the test. . If an employee is frequently absent from work for reasons of illness or injury, the employer may consult the employee to assess if the cause of the illness or injury is a disability that requires accommodation.

If practicable, employers should offer alternative work, reduced work or flexible work placement, so that employees are not compelled or encouraged to apply for benefits if they could, with reasonable accommodation, continue in employment.

            Employers must protect the confidentiality of the information that has been disclosed and must take care to keep records of private information relating to the disability of applicants and employees confidential and separate from general personnel records.

 A Social Stigma

             At any cost it is not advisable to reject the need of administering medical aid at the tender age in the circumstances of early diagnosis of the biological limitations of the newly introduced individuals having some special capabilities and some clinical or organizational malfunctions. For example differences between anomalies related to Tuberculosis and Leprosy are more or less having identical implications upon the health of the patients. On certain aspects Tuberculosis is more hazardous than compared of Leprosy. But social implications are more in case of Leprosy than compared to Tuberculosis. It is only because Leprosy marks the visible wounds in the form of deformities of limbs and soft body parts. Deformities inside the lungs because of Tuberculosis is not visible, that is why ex patient of tuberculosis gains an easy accommodation in society and a leper struggles a lot to return back to the native family. Deprivations that a leper has to face in society is a common affair in our country. If anyhow some of the medically certified negative patient of Leprosy gains an accommodation in family, that family will be outnumbered and all the family members suffer because of the incorporation of an ex leper in the family.

            The aforesaid fact raises a question on the acceptability of patient in society and exposure of a patient in society for being exploited. Social safeguards are the subjects awaiting acceptability of people for implementing the same in daily life. Some sort of escapism prevalent amongst the associates and family members of the specially enabled person make the situation difficult for both the aspirants and aspirers. What the ways probable are matters of our serious concerns.

 Share and Care

             Is it true that only parents remain concerned about their ward with some sort of physical or biological limitations? Can we claim that a state adequately encompasses mechanism for safeguarding the aspirations of specially enabled persons having some specialties and some other limitations? Is there any self-sustained directives and guiding principles through which public service executions gain a sustained confluence of its own kind?  Some of the wider dimensions of the enlightened policy standards can perpetuate our query towards attaining the refinement of the state policy standards (Enlightened Policy Standards Depicted in Appendix C).

            The entire job of accommodating people with special capabilities should be shared mutually amongst various active groups of both government as well as voluntary nature. Some of such initiatives may be of following types:

  1. State should incorporate some of the selected or all of the Enlightened Policy Standards (Appendix C) in policy document to be streamlined for the purpose of the state level execution.
  2. Voluntary organisations working in the development sector should design a comprehensive plan document for working out the mechanism of developing a strategy of safeguarding as well as promoting the aspirations of people having special capabilities.
  3. Clinic centers and Health Service Agencies should allocate some of its resources for delivering Social Responsibilities in offering services to people having special capabilities.
  4. Use of appropriate Language (Annexure B) is not the only expectation that should be expected from a common citizen, but all such institutions coming in contact with specially enabled people should come across the same lines of principle for designing an ethical stand point of addressing aspirations of people in common.
  5. One should not always point out limitations of the individual, but to encourage the being for the purpose of enhancing skills and competence can make a difference.
  6. Keeping some seats reserved for persons having special capabilities will make them acceptable in society, then also the effort of such reservation is said to be half done without adequate alteration in the sphere of attitudinal interactions in society. Fundamental human values should be incorporated in the society for making it more vibrant in nature.

Godly Creations

             The spiritual aspect of the service mechanism envisages the essence of considering varying differences of individuals as an opportunity of accommodating skilled individuals at various spheres of activities on the basis of the acquisition of skills and competence. Incorporation of such individualistic differences in society will pave an opportunity of establishing harmony having a prolonged continuity. The job specifications to be allocated to the specially enabled persons can make them more self-reliant and their accommodation in the main stream will become possible. “Serving Humanity means Serving God” is the highest philosophical aspiration that ties up a bond of care and being cared for a balanced social order devoid of hatred, exploitation, oppression and disparities of any kind.

Related Documents:

Annexure A:    Impairment Standards and Assistive Technologies

Annexure B:    Designing Multifarious support mechanism for accommodating aspirations of                                 specially enabled people

Annexure C:    Use of Appropriate Language

Annexure D:    Fact File

Annexure E:     Notes and References

Annexure F:     Notebook

 Appendix A: Impairment Standards and Assistive Technologies


Within the context of the proposed Impairment Standard, assistive technology relates primarily to communication supports and services. Some of the proposed standard lists a number of “accessible options”, including:

  • assistive listening system
  • guides and stabilizers
  • speech and/or voice recognition
  • alternative keyboards
  • augmentative and alternative communication devices
  • in-screen keyboards
  • alternative pointing devices
  • configurable keyboard access utilities including key activation delay
  • repeat delay and/or a single finger utility
  • word completion or prediction utility
  • alternative input device
  • keyboard modifications
  • pointing device alternatives
  • enlarged buttons or controls with increased spacing
  • guides, stabilizers and tactile labels to assist in activating buttons and controls
  • voice input
  • mechanical keypad input alternative
  • audio interface

Table A.1 : A planning sheet of proposed support service mechanism




1. Provide reasonable accommodation to enable employees to carry out the full range of duties of their job.  This may include a wide range of measures such as the provision of assistive technology or altered hours of work.

§  The appropriate person will discuss accommodation needs and facilities with the employee and identify and provide appropriate measures to assist the employee perform the duties of the job.

Human Resource funtion in HSE and Vol. Hospitals and public. sector, Health and Safety, Occupational Health Physicians

3. Examine the impediments for employees who have acquired a disability in returning to work.

§  Consult employee’s who have acquired a disability and are / were on long term sick leave about the barriers to returning to work and explore how these barriers may be removed.

  • Pilot absence management initiatives in a number of pilot sites.


Area Directors of Health Centres, Employee Relations Managers in Public Health Centre managers in Voluntary Hospitals and public sector.

 Enlisted assistive technology:

  • Software system requirements may not be compatible with all printers, scanners, sound cards and computers.
  • Some assistive technology devices require the purchase of additional software not included in the original package in order to operate.
  • The expressed needs, format preferences, goals, and educational requirements of people in the community should be considered. If possible, libraries should hold consultations or focus group meetings to determine the preferences of individuals with disabilities in their community.
  • Libraries should consult with other local staff, professionals, universities, colleges, and other libraries to find out what assistive technologies are already in use in the community.
  • Assistive technology should be as intuitive as possible and require little training and retraining of staff and patrons. Consider the training time required on the device for both staff and patrons.  Some patrons may not want to use a device if it takes a long time to learn how to use it.
  • Avoid complex and expensive options that patrons are unlikely to use. Seek information about low cost or free options (such as those listed at the link below).
  • Try to find out what personal assistive technologies users may have access to and use in their home.  These are likely the types of technologies that they would also want to use in the library.
  • If possible, download trial products for trial periods before deciding on what assistive software to purchase.
  • Research licensing agreements and upgrade policies and be aware of how many computers the software can be used on.
  • Find out the level of technical support the vendor is able and willing to provide.
  • Try to determine the number of users who will benefit from the technology, keeping in mind that the technology may be useful for individuals with different types of disabilities as well as individuals without disabilities.

Some Issues and Concerns:

In the context of the impairments and assistive technologies some of the issues and concerns raised by various scholars are as follows:

  1. On what moral grounds should society change to better incorporate the one-sixth to one-fourth of its members who have disabilities?
  2. How much change should be expected? If access to the built environment is measured by the ease with which a person who uses a wheelchair or one who is deaf or blind can come and go freely, is that standard arbitrarily narrow in ignoring design features for those who use gurneys for mobility or in overlooking the needs of those with environmental illness to attend public events?
  3. What constitutes appropriate auxiliary services or reasonable accommodation to ensure the participation of people with significant communicative, cognitive, or emotional disabilities in education and employment?
  4. If, after all existing barriers were removed, people with some impairment appeared unable to participate in ways they would choose, what other changes should occur to foster such participation?
  5. Even if a disabling trait puts some limits on the hypothetical open future or opportunity range of the nondisabled, why is that a problem?
  6. Yet what about possible efforts to “cure” or reverse disability by futuristic gene therapy, spinal cord regeneration, fetal tissue transplants, or the current cochlear implants?
  7. Is being “short” a biological impairment or exclusively a socially constructed disability in a society that prizes height?
  8. If children or adults can gain some hearing from cochlear implants, are they morally obliged to have them, and should they lose access to interpreter services if they decline, as Tucker (1998) asserts?
  9. Are people morally obliged to obtain any therapies that would reduce impairment and would restore species-typical functioning?
  10. If the disability rights movement would endorse surgery for an infant with spina bifida to reduce mobility or cognitive limitations, is it equally acceptable to support parental interests in providing some hearing by virtue of a cochlear implant?

People with disabilities may use one or more assistive technologies in communicating with others or in getting information.

Appendix B: Use of Appropriate Language

Some examples of appropriate and inappropriate terminology follow:




A person with a disability


do not Use

Disabled/handicapped person, invalid
People with disabilities The disabled, the handicapped, invalids
A person with a psychiatric disability, or a person with a mental illness Mad, crazy, mental
A person with Down syndrome Mongol, mongoloid
A person with cerebral palsy Spastic, sufferer of/someone who suffers from cerebral palsy
A person with an intellectual disability Mental retard, mentally retarded, retard
A person who has epilepsy Epileptic
A person of short stature Dwarf
A person who has … (that is, specify the actual deformity) A deformed person
A person in a coma/who is unconscious A vegetable/in  a vegetative state
A Deaf person (with the capitalised “D” — this indicates the existence of a Deaf Culture), or a person who is hard of hearing Person who is deaf, hearing impaired person
A person who is blind A blind person
A person with a vision impairment or low vision Visually impaired person, can’t see well, bad or poor eyesight, has trouble seeing
A person who uses a wheelchair A person confined to a wheelchair
Seizure Fit, spell, attack
Accessible toilet/entry/parking Disabled toilet/entry/parking (because disabled as an adjective is seen as meaning that it’s not working)
A person who has … (that is, specify the actual disability) Stricken, suffers from, challenged, is a victim of …

 Appendix C: Designing Multifarious support mechanism for accommodating aspirations of specially enabled people [2]

State Responsibility Judiciary Social Setup
Liberty and security of the person Protecting the integrity of the person Freedom from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Ensuring that international cooperation, including international development programmes, is inclusive of and accessible to persons with disabilities;   Participation in cultural life, recreation, leisure and sport
Facilitating the personal mobility Liberty of movement and nationality Freedom from exploitation, violence and abuse
Providing training in mobility skills Freedom of expression and opinion, and access to information Living independently and being included in the community
Promote the employment of persons with disabilities in the private sector through appropriate policies and measures, which may include affirmative action programmes, incentives and other measures Promote actively an environment in which persons with disabilities can effectively and fully participate in the conduct of public affairs, without discrimination and on an equal basis with others, and encourage their participation in public affairs, Respect for privacy

To ensure equal access by persons with disabilities to clean water services, and to ensure access to appropriate and affordable services, devices and other assistance for disability-related needs;


The full development of human potential and sense of dignity and self-worth, and the strengthening of respect for human rights, fundamental freedoms and human diversity Prohibit discrimination on the basis of disability with regard to all matters concerning all forms of employment, including conditions of recruitment, hiring and employment, continuance of employment, career advancement and safe and healthy working conditions; Support participation and inclusion in the community and all aspects of society, are voluntary, and are available to persons with disabilities as close as possible to their own communities, including in rural areas.
Providing free or affordable health care and programmes   Respect for home and the family

 State Obligations

(a) To adopt all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention;

(b) To take all appropriate measures, including legislation, to modify or abolish existing laws, regulations, customs and practices that constitute discrimination against persons with disabilities;

(c) To take into account the protection and promotion of the human rights of persons with disabilities in all policies and programmes;

(d) To refrain from engaging in any act or practice that is inconsistent with the present Convention and to ensure that public authorities and institutions act in conformity with the present Convention;

(e) To take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability by any person, organization or private enterprise;

(f) To undertake or promote research and development of universally designed goods, services, equipment and facilities, as defined in article 2 of the present Convention, which should require the minimum possible adaptation and the least cost to meet the specific needs of a person with disabilities, to promote their availability and use, and to promote universal design in the development of standards and guidelines;

(g) To undertake or promote research and development of, and to promote the availability and use of new technologies, including information and communications technologies, mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies, suitable for persons with disabilities, giving priority to technologies at an affordable cost;

(h) To provide accessible information to persons with disabilities about mobility aids, devices and assistive technologies, including new technologies, as well as other forms of assistance, support services and facilities;

(i) To promote the training of professionals and staff working with persons with disabilities in the rights recognized in this Convention so as to better provide the assistance and services guaranteed by those rights.

2. With regard to economic, social and cultural rights, each State Party undertakes to take measures to the maximum of its available resources and, where needed, within the framework of international cooperation, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of these rights, without prejudice to those obligations contained in the present Convention that are immediately applicable according to international law.

 Enlightened Policy Standards

  1. Develop regulations and further guidelines for   proactive implementation of the duty to accommodate, including provisions to increase awareness among public and private actors about the duties as well as available tools for reasonable accommodation; and
  2. Ensure that services for Indigenous persons with disabilities in First Nation communities are equitable and appropriate, including health services aimed at preventing suicide among indigenous young persons with disabilities.
  3. Ensure that the Federal Strategy against Gender-Based Violence, includes lines of action, and specific programmes and benchmarks to address all forms of violence against women and girls with disabilities;
  4. Remove barriers and develop inclusive practices to create financial and practical support as well as addressing prejudices and negative stereotypes;
  5. Ensure that indigenous women with disabilities have access to available education programmes, are aware about their rights under the Convention and have access to support available to claim their rights;
  6. Collect disaggregated information about the situation and discrimination faced by children with disabilities, particularly indigenous children with disabilities, so as to formulate targeted programs to tackle exclusion faced by them;
  7. Ensure earmarked budget allocations for children with disabilities in periodic expenditure programmes at all levels of administration and introduce monitoring indicators of such allocations;
  8. Introduce guidelines among all levels of administration on how to implement the principle of the best interest of the child in the design, implementation, monitoring of legislation and policies concerning children with disabilities; and
  9. Prioritize the human rights of children with disabilities in public policies, in particular the recognition of their identity and evolving capacities, of deaf children, deaf-blind children, hard of hearing children and their different requirements, autistic children, and children with psychosocial and/or intellectual disabilities.
  10. Adopt a strategy aimed at recognising and foster participation of persons with intellectual disabilities in society, including through combating stigmatization against them and promoting their leadership and the work of their representative organizations as well as self-advocacy;
  11. Review current accessibility legislation and plans at the federal, provincial and territorial levels to ensure that they address all features of accessibility in particular physical environment, transportation (including civil aviation), information and communication, including information and communication technologies and systems and comprise mechanisms to monitor and regularly evaluate compliance with accessibility standards;
  12. Ensure the availability of alternative modes of communication in particular Easy Read versions of public documents and fundamental legislation such as the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
  13. Adopt sectorial plans to enhance communication and information services in public transport for hard of hearing, deaf, blind and deaf-blind persons with disabilities;
  14. Set up a minimum core obligation across the federal, provincial and territorial jurisdictions, the right to stand trial for persons with disabilities, with appropriate accommodation during criminal proceedings;
  15. Ensure access to health services, including psychosocial support to inmates under the federal jurisdiction on an equal footing with others, on the basis of their free and informed consent;
  16. Adopt and implement guidelines to provide reasonable accommodation for all persons with disabilities who are detained in prison and/or detention centers, and ensure that women receive appropriate support and reasonable accommodation;
  17. Adopt national guidelines and provide permanent advice to provincial and territorial jurisdictions towards the recognition of the right to living independently and being included in the community as a subjective and enforceable right for persons with disabilities, reaffirming the principle of respect for individual autonomy of persons with disabilities and their freedom to make choices about where and with whom to live;
  18. Take measures to provide information in accessible formats for persons with disabilities about their sexual and reproductive health;
  19. Conduct training to ensure that health care practitioners are aware about the rights of persons with disabilities under the Convention and have tools to provide appropriate advice for persons with disabilities, including women with disabilities; and
  20. Establish special measures to ensure people with disabilities, including trans- and gender-diverse persons with disabilities, have equal access to health services including both surgical and medical abortion services, and gender affirming comprehensive health care.
  21. working closely with teacher training institutions in the implementation of the planned 5-year teacher training framework so as to enhance teachers’ training on special education and to build up their professional capability in supporting students with SEN;
  22. continuing to encourage primary and secondary schools to adopt WSA in catering for students with SEN, to strengthen the support network provided by special schools cum resource centres, resource schools and professional development schools, and to promote a culture of sharing and collaboration among schools;
  23. continuing to develop special education teaching resources, especially those for supporting students with autism spectrum disorders and specific learning difficulties;
  24. better facilitating smooth interface between primary and secondary education for students with SEN and further promoting good practices among schools in nurturing an inclusive school culture;

  1. compiling operation guides on integrated education for schools and parents respectively.  The former helps schools formulate policies on supporting students with SEN and the latter helps parents know how to take care of their children with SEN and how to make school choices;
  2. continuing to collaborate with the social and rehabilitation services sector as well as NGOs in enhancing the relevant support services and promoting parent education;
  3. collaborating with the Department of Health and the Hospital Authority in providing co-ordinated assessment services and strengthening parent education so as to encourage parents to give consent to the disclosure of their children’s SEN to schools.  This would allow schools to better understand these students’ needs and provide them with the necessary support to help them adapt to the school environment;
  4. continuing to closely communicate with parents and schools; and
  5. continuing to facilitate the smooth transition of special school leavers to post-school training, working and adult life.

 Appendix D: Disability Fact Sheet

  1. 2.21% of total population in India has disability.
  2. 2.41% of male population of India is disabled
  3. 2.01% of female population in India is disabled
  4. Overall there are 2 crore 68 lakh persons with disability.
  5. More than 41% persons with disabilities in India never get married! This has a direct connection with the cliches associated with disability.
  6. Locomotor and multiple disabilities are more commonly found in rural areas of India.
  7. Speech and hearing impairment are found to be more prevalent among the urban population of India.
  8. Only 36.3% of the disabled population (which turns out to be about 98 lakhs) are employed.
  9. Of these, about 71 lakh are men and 27 lakh are women
  10. Literacy rate among women with disabilities is merely 45% whereas the overall women literacy rate in India is 65%.
  11. Literacy rate of men with disabilities is 62%.
  12. 27% of Indian people with no disability are illiterate. This figure goes up to 57% in case of people with intellectual disability.
  13. 44% of Indian people with no disability are unemployed. In contrast, 72% of people with intellectual disability remain unemployed.
  14. Only 8.5% disabled people in India acquire a graduate degree.
  15. It is estimated that the number of unemployed persons with disabilities will cross 10 million by 2022 if appropriate skills are not imparted through training programs.
  16. Ignoring the potential of disabled people can cost any nation very high. In case of India, leaving persons with disabilities out of economy translates into a loss of about 5-7% of GDP.
  17. It is interesting to note that according to WHO’s 2013 report; around 15% of world’s population has some type of disability. In contrast, India’s figure of 2.21% indicates that India’s definition of disability is leaving  lot of person with disabilities out of its ambit. The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 has recognized more conditions as disabilities. So, we can hope that the Census of India 2021 will provide more accurate data on disabled people in India.

  Appendix E: Notes and References


1. WHO (2011). World report on disability. Available at http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2011/9789240685215_eng.pdf?ua=1. Accessed on 24th December 2014.

2. United Nations Population Division (UN), World Population Prospects: The 2010 Revision (New York: United Nations, 2011), accessed at http://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/index.htm, on May. 7, 2016.

3. Elwan A (1999). Poverty and disability SP discussion paper No 9932. Available at http://www-wds.worldbank.orgservlet/WDSContentServer/IW3P/IB/2000/12/15/000094946_0011210532099/Rendered/PDF/multi_page.pdf. Accessed on 23rd December 2014.

4. Mishra AK, Gupta R (2006). Disability index: a measure of deprivation among the disabled. Economic and Political Weekly 41:4026–4029.

5. Filmer D (2008). Disability, Poverty, and Schooling in Developing Countries: Results from 14 Household Surveys. The World Bank Economic Review 22(1): 141–163.

6. Mont D (2007). Measuring disability prevalence. World Bank Social Protection Discussion Paper, 706.

7. Jeffery R, Singal N (2008). Measuring Disability in India. Economic and Political Weekly 43(12/13): 22–24.

8. Patel S (2009). An Empirical Study of Causes of Disability in India. Internet Journal of Epidemiology 6(2).

9. Das D, Agnihotri SB (1999). Physical disability: Is there a Gender Dimension? Economic and political weekly 33(52): 3333–3335.

10. Kandamuthan M, Kandamuthan S (2004). The Economic Burden of Disabled Children on Families in Kerala in South India. Centre for Development Studies Discussion Paper No. 91. Available at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=995114. Accessed on 24th December 2014.

11. Singh A (2008). Burden of Disability in a Chandigarh Village. Indian J Community Med 33(2): 113–115. doi: 10.4103/0970-0218.40880 [PMC free article] [PubMed]

12. Harriss WB (1999). On to a loser: Disability in India Illfare in India: essays on India’s social sector in honour of S Guhan. Sage Publications; New Delhi, India: pp 135–163.

13. Hoogeveen JG (2005). Measuring welfare for small but vulnerable groups: Poverty and disability in Uganda. Journal of African Economies 14(4): 603–631.

14. World Bank (2009). People with disabilities in India: From commitments to outcomes. Available at http://bit.ly/1NFryor Accessed on 10 November 2015.

15. Mitra S, Sambamoorthi U (2006). Disability Estimates in India: What the Census and NSS Tell Us. Economic and Political Weekly 41(38): 4022–4026.

16. Bongaarts J, Guilmoto CZ (2015). How many more missing women? Excess female mortality and prenatal sex selection, 1970–2050. Population and Development Review, 41(2), 241–269.

17. Census of India (2011). Data on Disability. Office of the Registrar General & Census Commissioner, New Delhi, 27-12-2013. Available at http://www.disabilityaffairs.gov.in/upload/uploadfiles/files/disabilityinindia2011data.pdf.

18. Desai S, Kulkarni V (2008). Changing Educational Inequalities in India in the Context of Affirmative Action. Demography 45(2): 245–270. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

19. IIPS (International Institute for Population Sciences) & Macro International (2007). National Family Health Survey (NFHS-3), 2005–06: India, Volume I. Mumbai: IIPS.

20. Ahmad OB, Boschi PC, Lopez AD, Murray CJL, Lozano R,Inoue M (2001). Age standardization of rates: a new who standard. GPE Discussion Paper Series: No.31 EIP/GPE/EBD: World Health Organization 2001. Available at http://www.who.int/healthinfo/paper31.pdf.

21. WHO (2001). International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health, World Health Organization; Geneva.

22. Sen A (1998). Mortality as an indicator of economic success and failure. Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(446), pages 1–25.

23. Saikia N, Jasilionis D, Ram F, Shkolnikov VM (2011). Trends and geographic differentials in mortality under age 60 in India. Population Studies, 65(1): 73–89. doi: 10.1080/00324728.2010.534642 [PubMed]

24. Oksuzyan A, Petersen I, Stovring H, Bingley P, Vaupel J W, Christensen K (2009). The male-female health-survival paradox: a survey and register study of the impact of sex-specific selection and information bias. Annals of Epidemiology 19: 504–11. doi: 10.1016/j.annepidem.2009.03.014 [PMC free article] [PubMed]

25. Oman D, Reed D,Ferrara A (1999). Do elderly women have more physical disability than men do? American Journal of Epidemiology 150: 834–842. [PubMed]

26. Andrade FCD, Guevara PE, Lebrun ML, Duarte YAO,Santos JLF (2011). Gender differences in life expectancy and disability-free life expectancy among older adults in São Paulo Brazil. Women’s Health Issues 21(1): 64–70. doi: 10.1016/j.whi.2010.08.007 [PubMed]

27. Luy M, Minagawa Y (2014). Gender gaps-life expectancy and proportion of life in poor health. Health Reports 25(12):12–19. [PubMed]

28. Leveille SG, Resnick HE, Balfour J (2000). Gender differences in disability: evidence and underlying reasons. Aging Clinical and Experimental Research 12(2):106–112. [PubMed]

29. Blackburn CM, Spencer NJ, Read JM (2010). Prevalence of childhood disability and the characteristics and circumstances of disabled children in the UK: secondary analysis of the Family Resources Survey. BMC pediatrics, 10(1), 1. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

30. Boyle CA, Sheree B, Laura AS, Robin AC, Stephen JB, Marshalyn Y, et al. (2011). “Trends in the prevalence of developmental disabilities in US children, 1997–2008.” Pediatrics 127, no. 6: 1034–1042. doi: 10.1542/peds.2010-2989 [PubMed]

31. Lai DC, Tseng YC, Hou YM, Guo HR (2012). Gender and geographic differences in the prevalence of intellectual disability in children: Analysis of data from the national disability registry of Taiwan. Research in developmental disabilities, 33(6), 2301–2307. doi: 10.1016/j.ridd.2012.07.001 [PubMed]

32. Srinivasan K (1997). Sex Ratios in India: What they hide and what they reveal India”s Demographic Transition: A Reassessment MD publication Pvt LTD; New Delhi: 1997. edited by Rajan S Irudaya.

 Appendix F: Notebook

  1. For the past three decades, scholars and activists in disability have argued that the problem of disability was, indeed, one of denial of civil, social, and economic rights and not one of biology and health. Yet, the attitudes toward disability and the assumptions about the impact disabled people have on families and society that abound in medicine and bioethics all compel those scholars and activists to assert that the first right of people with disabilities is a claim to life itself, along with the social recognition of the value and validity of the life of someone with a disability (D. Wasserman, personal communication, 2000).
  2. Bioethicists have taken on the mission of supporting those who believed that the quality of the life after treatment should be a factor in medical decision making and in decision making about allocations of resources (Morreim 1995; Walter 1995).
  3. When it concerns life with disability, most people who call themselves bioethicists have viewed having a disability from within what Gliedman and Roth (1980) and Bickenbach (1993) term the medical or biomedical model, as contrasted with a minority group (Gliedman and Roth 1980; Hahn 1983) or social model (see Shakespeare and Watson, this volume) of disability.
  4. For people such as Christopher Boorse (1987), a person is said to be healthy if the person’s organism performs species-typical functions with statistically typical efficiency. Matters for debate within bioethics include whether health should be defined as the absence of disease (Boorse 1987) or as a state of well-being, as the World Health Organization proposed (Purdy 1996); whether the well-being in question includes mental and social well-being in addition to physical well-being; and whether disease can be defined neutrally or only with reference to a culture and a historical period.[i]
  5. The first right of people with disabilities is a claim to life itself, along with the social recognition of the value and validity of the life of someone with a disability.[ii]
  6. Many people with disabilities have found satisfaction in their lives that was far greater than anything expected of them by members of the health and rehabilitation professions.[iii]
  7. for people with disabilities, satisfaction results from achieving a harmony in their lives that can include a sense of meaning, performing expected social roles, enjoying giveand-take in their relationships, and having a sense that they live in “a reciprocal social world”.[iv]
  8. Scholars have stressed that the esteem given to intellect, rationality, and self-awareness leads some to question the moral status or life quality of persons with cognitive impairments.
  9. Many scholars believed it acceptable or morally desirable for parents and doctors to end the lives of infants who would remain disabled after all medical interventions.[v]
  10. Rinck and Calkins (1996) stated factors influencing voluntary decisions for people with special capabilities: “Social pressures which inhibit voluntary decisions are magnified for people with disabilities who have been allowed few choices…. Pressure from providers or health care professionals may cause individuals to feel that, if they disagree to certain therapies, privileges will be reduced. Even when individuals with a disability do not feel coerced, there is a tendency to acquiesce…. It is difficult to ascertain when a decision is truly the individual’s choice and not influenced by outside forces.”[vi]
  11. Although most of the bioethics discussions do not go beyond health care to address the full range of societal changes necessary to improve the lives of people with disabilities.[vii]
  12. 12.  Vietnam, which conducted the Cognitive test and Field test for 6 Core Questions of WG, reported the following feedback[viii]:

a)      In general, 6 Core Questions are understandable to respondents. However, some questions are a bit confusing (because of translational or cultural matters):

b)      Do you have difficulty remembering or concentrating? (The word “concentrating” is not very clear).

c)      Do you have difficulty with (self-care such as) washing all over or dressing? (The children in the rich families are often taken care of, thus they are not good at caring themselves).

d)     Because of a physical, mental, or emotional health condition, do you have difficulty communicating (for example understanding others or others understanding you)?  (If the questions are adapted following the language and culture of localities, it is applicable for an official survey.  The manuals need to be more specific and detail instructed by examples.)

e)      When the ICF approach is followed, prevalence of disability is much higher (15.3%). However, if cut off point “a lot of difficulty” is applied, the prevalence 3.7% seems to be familiar to existing figures. Therefore policy makers more easily accept it, but a huge number of people with disabilities will be missing from the programmes of support.[ix]

  1. As World Bank President James Wolfensohn recently noted in a Washington Post editorial, “Unless disabled people are brought into the development mainstream, it will be impossible to cut poverty in half by 2015 or to give every girl and boy the chance to achieve a primary education by the same date -¬goals agreed to by more than 180 world leaders at the United Nations Millennium Summit in September, 2002″. (Wolfensohn:2002)
  2. With half of the world’s population below 15, the number of young people with disability can be expected to rise markedly over the next decade, particularly in the Developing world. Developing world, disability affects more males than females, and is found more commonly in rural than in urban areas.[x]
  3. In most of the society differences in socio-economic status, class, caste and educational levels also make a significant difference in the quality of life for the individual.[xi]
    1. Up to 20% of women globally have a disability.[xii]
    2. Women and girls with a disability face triple discrimination, being female, having a disability and being among the poorest of the poor.[xiii]
    3. A significant majority of girls with a disability in developing countries remain illiterate.[xiv]
    4. Women with a disability are 2 to 3 times more likely to be victims of physical and sexual abuse than women without a disability.[xv] [xvi]
    5. Girls and women frequently act as caregiver when there is a family member with a disability, and can be denied access to education and livelihood opportunities as a result.

[1][1] Manager , IECIT Arabinda Nagar, Bankura West Bengal

Previously Research Associate and Technical Associate, MSSRF , Vidarbha Region

Formerly Faculty Member, Kendra Vidyalaya, Nirjuly, Arunachal Pradesh

System Admin and Technical Consultant, Swavalambi College of Education, Maharashtra

Associated with several Development Organisations of well repute.

[2] For obtaining more detailed apprehension of the issue related to specially enabled people.

Source: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/CRPD/Pages/ConventionRightsPersonsWithDisabilities.aspx#4


[i] Compare Boorse 1987 with Caplan, Engelhardt, and McCartney 1981; Engelhardt and Wildes 1995; Purdy 1996 for arguments about the importance of cultural and historical location in ascribing impairment; see Wasserman, this volume, for detailed discussion of this entire topic.

[ii] Reference– D. Wasserman, personal communication, 2000

[iii] Albrecht and Devlieger 1999; Cameron et al. 1973; Cushman and Dijkers 1990; Eisenberg and Saltz 1991; Goode 1994; McNair 1996; National Organization on Disability 1998; Ray and West 1984; Saigal et al. 1996; Stensman 1985; Woodrich and Patterson 1983

[iv] Albrecht and Devlieger 1999:984

[v] Duff and Campbell 1973; Fost 1982; Kohl 1978

[vi] Bickenbach (1993), Bickenbach et al. (1999), Shakespeare and Watson (this volume), Scotch and Schriner (1997), and Zola (1989) have acknowledged limits of a strictly rightsbased, minority group approach.

[vii] The writings of Brock (1995); Caplan et al. (1987); Silvers, Wasserman, and Mahowald (1998); and Veatch (1986) are valuable sources with which to explore such questions

[viii] ICF Based approach for disability data collection in Vietnam, PPT by Nguyen Dinh Chung, General statistics Office, Vietnam, 9th April 2008

[ix] The International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) is World Health Organisation’s (WHO) framework for measuring health and disability at both individual and population levels. The ICF was officially endorsed by all 191 WHO Member States in the Fifty-fourth World Health Assembly on 22 May 2001. The ICF puts the notions of ‘health’ and ‘disability’ in a new light. It acknowledges that every human being can experience a decrement in health and thereby experience some degree of disability.

[x] UN Compendium:1990; Harriss-White and Subramama:1999

[xi] Reference — Ingstad and White:1995; ICIDH:2002

[xii] Heinicke-Motsch, K. & Sygall, S. (2004). Building an Inclusive Disability Community: A manual on including people with a disability in international development projects. Mobility International USA.

[xiii] United Nations Population Fund. (2005). Promoting Gender Equality. Retrieved from http://www.unfpa.org/gender/

[xiv] Inclusion International. (2006). Inclusive Education. Retrieved from http://www.inclusion-international.org/en/ii_priority_areas/ie/index.html

[xv] Department for International Development [DFID]. (2000). Disability, Poverty and Development. Retrieved from http://handicap-international.fr/bibliographie-handicap/4PolitiqueHandicap/hand_pauvrete/DFID_disability.pdf

Leave a Reply