The struggles of our world's minority groups have in no uncertain terms ended, although significant shifts have occurred. Across most parts of the world, mutual respect and understanding is growing. However, so much more must be done toward a widespread understanding of the potential and creation of opportunities for people with physical disabilities.
Just take a look at how things are changing in this section.
The concerted global directives below include laws from the US and UK where the Government provides financial and care support to the needy in the form of Incapacity benefit and Disability Living Allowance. The UK government spends 2.6% of its GDP on disability pensions.
Indiability aims to make the difference India needs with a change of mindsets and attitudes towards physically disabled people.
1950: The United Nations
The UN, for the first time draws its attention to disability.
1975: Declaration on the Rights of Disabled Persons
adopted by the General Assembly.
1981: International Year of Disabled Persons
adopted by the General Assembly, followed by the ‘World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons’.
1990: The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA)
Prohibits any form of discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities for the job by state and local governments, private employers, employment agencies and labour unions. The act ensures protection for people with disabilities based on a perception of risk and mentions about the need to make reasonable accommodation for people with different needs. The disability benefit is provided within the category of Supplemental Security Income.
1995: The Disability Discrimination Act (UK)
The UK Government made it unlawful for organisations to discriminate (treat a disabled person less favourably, for reasons related to the person’s disability, without justification) in employment; access to goods, facilities, services; managing, buying or renting land or property; education. Businesses were asked to make “reasonable adjustments” to their policies or practices, or physical aspects of their premises, to avoid indirect discrimination. This act was amended in 2005 and in 2010 replaced by a much broader ‘Equality Act 2010’.
1992: International Day of Disabled Persons
3 December is marked as a new annual celebration.
2000: The United Nations Millennium Development Goals
The UN' members set goals to be achieved by 2015. Developed countries like the US and UK are setting a leading example for other countries to follow, making changes in their respective societies which allows full entry to disabled people. They are amending present laws which not only protects the rights and provides equal opportunities, but also the need for more disabled friendly infrastructure.
2006: Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)
The United Nations formally agreed to the first human rights treaty of the 21st century, to protect and enhance the rights and opportunities for disabled people. It provides guidances for signatory countries to form and adopt new national laws which would protect their disabled citizens against discrimination and provide equal rights.
2007: UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD)
India ratified UNCRPD on 1st October 2007 and is now obligated to bring all its laws and policies in harmony with the convention. India is legally bound by the Convention and has to implement it. If a human right is denied to a person with disability, she/he can go to the Court on the basis of UNCRPD. The government initiated a law reform process in 2009, but is sitting on the draft of the revised disability law even today.
2010: Equality Act 2010 (UK)
Replacing the DDA Act of 1995, the act protects disabled people against discrimination and encompasses other areas including age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage, pregnancy, race, religion, sex and sexual orientation.
'Over a billion of the world’s population live with some or the other form of disability (WHO, 2011). They are not only the largest minority but also the most invisible.'
India as one of the more responsible and active members of the United Nations has taken many steps to to deal with the challenge of the disability and achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) in line with the global conventions, including the following:
1995: The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act
An important landmark, empowering people with disabilities with equal rights and their full participation in the nation's building.
1999: National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disability Act
Provisions for creation of an enabling environment that will allow as much independent living as is possible.
2001: Census calculation 2001
For the first time took into account disabled population of the country.
2004: National Policy
The Government's draft for a ‘National policy for people with Disability’.
2007–2012: The 11th Five Year Plan (2007–2012)
Includes Disability under a distinct sub-chapter for the first time.
The Right to Education Act and the Sarva Shikha Abhiyan initiative gives the right to education to all, including physically disabled students. 'The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education' was amended in 2012 to include physically disabled children.
More and more schools and educational institutes are beginning to operate on an inclusive education model and are providing opportunities for both disabled and able-bodied students to study together. Some schools have special trainers to nurture disabled students to be on par with other students. Most schools promote sports and organise regular events to promote participation and inclusiveness of disabled students. SKSN Institute (Rajasthan) and Amar Jyoti School (Delhi) are examples of schools which have adapted themselves and their infrastructure to suit the needs of disabled students and become disability friendly as part of a new culture.
Indiability plays an active role in supporting better education. Our projects support SKSN Institute, the leading educational institution in India with a majority of disabled students.
The Persons with Disability Act, 1995 (Chapter VI) states that 5% of workers in both public and private sectors across India must be comprised of persons with disabilities.
Since the economic liberalisation of the 1990s, the Indian economy has boomed multi-fold and has attracted huge international investment. Fortune 500 companies such as IBM, Microsoft, Google, GE, Volvo, Volkswagen and Accenture have established their offices and manufacturing facilities in India, creating a large job market. These companies have an equal opportunity employment policy which includes employing suitably qualified disabled people. Indian companies are not far behind; some of the larger ones, such as Infosys and Tata are setting an example for others by providing equal opportunities. Together with easier access to their offices, multinationals are making their operations as disability-friendly as possible.
Smaller companies such as DesignMate, Sun ITES are successfully experimenting with the idea of employing large numbers of disabled employees. Eureka Forbes in association with NASEOH (National Society for Equal Opportunities for the Handicapped) has set up EuroAble which is India’s first state-of-the- art call centre, manned and operated completely by physically disabled employees.
This trend of change in employment policy is slowly but steadily spreading across the country. These companies are making an effort to identify areas where the abilities of people with disability can be put to productive use.
In order to promote participative sports among disabled people, the Ministry for Youth Affairs and Sports implemented the ‘Scheme of Sports & Games for the Disabled’ in 2009-10. This is India’s first ever sports policy for people with disabilities which provides grants for procuring sports equipments, coaching and organizing competitions for disabled sportspersons.
A wide range of sports have now been adapted to be played by people with disabilities. In addition, some sports have been developed as being unique to disabled athletes. The potential of sport and adaptive sports is huge, good news for athletes with disabilities and major sporting events promoting Indian sport.
The Paralympic Games are the largest international sporting event where athletes with the wide variety of physical disabilities compete. It is organised by the International Olympic Committee and follow the Summer and Winter Olympics. The Commonwealth Games are one of the largest sporting events in the world, since 2002 including fully-integrated events for elite athletes with a disability. This means that any medals won by athletes with a disability count toward the final medal count of the team for which they compete. The IWAS World Games, run by the International Wheelchair & Amputee Sports Federation are a multi-sport competition for athletes with a physical disability.
As host, India has promoted the participation and ability of disabled people. The IWAS World Games were held at Bangalore in 2009 and the Commonwealth Games in Delhi during 2010. These games have also created new role models, such as Prasantha Karmakar an award-winning Indian swimmer and one of many athletes with disabilities representing India at the various international sporting events.
IMAGE: Indian Mixed Ability Group Events
1997: The National Polio Surveillance Project was launched with the aim of eradication of Polio from India. The project is India’s biggest public health venture, as according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), India has successfully eradicated Polio. However, many, especially in rural parts of the country still slip through the net and go unnoticed in official figures.
The Rehabilitation Council of India (Amendment) Act, 2000 (introduced under the ambit of Persons with Disabilities Act of 1995). The RCI regulates training programmes and courses targeted at disabled people for their rehabilitation. The Government of India has established five composite regional centers for disabled people, District disability rehabilitation centers and The Artificial limbs manufacturing corporation of India, Kanpur.
Initaitives: 1000 Loos
Indian social change
Television and cinema has always had an important role in educating and shaping society. India's media is playing a vital role in creating awareness, changing perceptions and correcting bad ideas about disability. Through better understanding, things are changing slowly in India and people are becoming more aware of, and sensitive to their fellow citizens who deserve to be treated equally.
Bollywood has a significant impact on popular culture and society. Through characters and stories, directors are improving the sensitivity of society for disabled people. Critically acclaimed movies that have tried to highlight the needs, rights, sensibilities and potential of people with disabilities include: Black, Lagaan, Sparsh, Taare Zameen and Par.
Television also has a broad reach across India. TV was used extensively throughout the National Polio Vaccination Campaign. The ambassador for this successful public healthcare project was none other than Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, named ‘Actor of the Millennium’ in a BBC News Poll.
Indiability is through its various initiatives and appeals working to accelerate better knowledge about people who are physically disabled.
Chapter VI, The Disability Act, 1995
Chapter VI, The Disability Act, 1995
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