US Govt Exposed India

India Human Rights Practices

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices - 2007
Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
March 11, 2008

Towards the attitude to the disabled people in India

"Persons with Disabilities"

"The constitution does not explicitly mention disability as a prohibited ground for discrimination. The Persons with Disabilities Act (PDA) provides equal rights to all persons with disabilities; however, advocacy organizations acknowledged that its practical effects were minimal, in part due to a clause that makes the implementation of programs dependent on the "economic capacity" of the government. Neither law nor regulation required accessibility for persons with disabilities. Government buildings, educational establishments, Widespread discrimination occurred against persons with physical and mental disabilities in employment, education, and access to health care.public transportation and public spaces throughout the country had almost no provisions for wheelchair access. According to the 2001 census, there were 22 million persons with disabilities in the country, but NGOs estimated the actual number to be much higher.

A World Bank report noted that eight percent of the population is disabled. The employment rate of disabled individuals decreased from 42.7 percent in the 1990s to 37.6 per cent in the 2000s. Despite the PDA's requirement that three percent of public sector jobs be reserved for people with physical, hearing, and visual disabilities and the government's development of a list of jobs for people with these disabilities, only 0.44 percent of public sector employees are disabled. The government increased funds to NGO partners to implement the national policy. The PDA provides benefits to private companies at which persons with disabilities constitute more than five percent of the workforce. The government recently began implementing these benefits. Private sector employment of persons with disabilities remained low.

According to the Central Coordination Committee established under the PDA, approximately 100,000 children with special needs attended approximately 2,500 schools that provided integrated and inclusive education or nonformal education. The Human Resource Development Ministry reported in January 2006 that children with mental disabilities had the lowest rate of school attendance out of any group at 53 percent, followed by the speech disabled at 57.5 percent and the hearing disabled at 68 percent.

The Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation Act of 1995 stipulates a three percent reservation in all educational institutions for persons with disabilities; however, statistics showed that only about one percent of students had disabilities. In 2005 the Times Insight Group reported that most colleges and universities were unaware of the law. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment offered 500 educational scholarships to persons with disabilities to pursue higher education. However, university enrollment of students with disabilities was still very low for reasons including inaccessible infrastructure, poor availability of resource materials, nonimplementation of the three percent reservation, and harassment. In 2005 the central board for secondary education issued guidelines requiring barrier-free education in schools, colleges, libraries, and hostels. It also took steps to provide Braille books to educational institutions.

Hospitals were overcrowded and often served primarily to house persons with disabilities. Patients generally were ill-fed, denied adequate medical attention, and kept in poorly ventilated halls with inadequate sanitary conditions. At the end of the year, no action was taken on the 2001 NHRC recommendation to remove all persons with mental illness from jails.

The disability division of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment delivered rehabilitation services to the rural population through 16 district centers. A national rehabilitation plan committed the government to provide rehabilitation centers to more than 400 districts, but services were concentrated in urban areas. The impact of government programs was limited due to the concentration of funding provided to a few organizations."

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