December 14, 2022

Good morning. In today’s either/view, we discuss whether India is inclusive for Persons with Disabilities (PwD). We also look at the drug offences in Kerala, among other news.


Is India inclusive when it comes to Persons with Disabilities?

Since International Persons with Disabilities Day was celebrated earlier this month, we thought it was fitting to take a look at what the country is doing for persons with disabilities (PwDs). Apart from inching toward more inclusivity, India has specific legislation concerning the community. But is this enough?

While the country has come a long way in empowering PwDs, a lot of work must be done to achieve unhindered inclusivity.


According to data from the 2011 population census, 2.21% of all Indians live with impairments and face various problems on a daily basis. The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan), which works under the supervision of the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, published the Draft National Policy for Persons with Disabilities at the beginning of the year. In order to help people with disabilities to engage fully and effectively in society, it outlines a number of intervention areas, including early detection and prevention, education, skill development, social security, and disaster management, among others. 

The gradual transition from a charitable approach to a rights-based approach while outlining and upholding the legal rights of people with disabilities has been evident throughout history. Another significant change was the transition from the 1995 Act’s medical model of disability to the social model of disability and human rights approach, which gained popularity in the wake of the 2016 Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD). The Incheon Strategy of Disability Inclusivity also contributed to the global-level implementation of the 2016 Act.

VIEW: India is inclusive

While the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, governs the concerns of the community on a national level, many states have taken steps to ensure inclusivity for PwDs all over the country. For example, the government of Tamil Nadu announced early this month that it would implement welfare schemes worth ₹1,700 crores for the community.

In order to provide professional and educational assistance to citizens who are mentally and physically disabled, a Ministry for Divyang was established in Mumbai. In order to ensure the welfare of the disabled and the efficient implementation of various government programmes for them, Maharashtra became the first State in the nation to establish a specific Ministry for the Disabled.

National schemes such as DISHA, which focuses on preparing children with disabilities for school through early intervention, and VIKAAS, which provides day care for persons with autism, cerebral palsy, mental retardation and other disabilities, have pushed the country forward in terms of providing aid for PwDs. Additionally, with current Chief Justice of India, DY Chandrachud, actively taking steps to make courts more inclusive and disability-friendly, India is anticipated to experience major judicial activism in the area of disability rights.

According to a senior official in the Ministry for Social Justice and Empowerment, numerous departments related to the transportation industries, including those in the civil aviation, railway, and road sectors, have made it easier for people with disabilities to access their services. In order to ensure easy accessibility for passengers with disabilities arriving by train, he stated that 1,102 escalators and 999 lifts have already been installed across the railway system. In addition, 1,342 LHB coaches have been produced with Divyangjan in mind.

COUNTERVIEW: India is not inclusive

Disability rights advocates claim that the development of inclusive systems for healthcare, online education, and tourism is urgently needed. The majority claim that defunding and chronic delays brought on by an ignorant or insensitive bureaucracy have recently negatively influenced the sector.

The 76th round of the National Sample Survey (NSS) was done in 2018, and it found that 67.1% of the people with disabilities who participated experienced trouble accessing or using public transportation in the 365 days before the survey. This survey found that accessibility was poor both in urban and rural locations, and many people had challenges even when a caregiver was present.

Unaware, insensitive, or desensitised bureaucracy is inflicting systemic delays in the process of change in the area of disability rights. The centre and state governments frequently deploy token improvements to the accessibility infrastructure for public relations purposes. Therefore, the idea of good governance or public policy never includes accessibility.

A study by Belongg and Enable India found that PwDs have a double burden of food insecurity because they have trouble both finding and keeping steady employment and obtaining and preparing meals. Inaccessible kitchen designs, utilities, cutlery, and appliances, as well as communication difficulties with shopkeepers and waitstaff at restaurants, are some frequent hurdles that persons with different disabilities face.

People with disabilities may be forced to make compromises when it comes to taste, preferences, and nutrition, which can cause them to lose interest in food and have a poor quality of life. For the majority of PwDs, access to proper quantities of nutrient-rich food is still a concern. Many people turn to consuming processed foods and easy-to-prepare snacks or even skipping meals.

Reference Links: 

  • Evolution of disability rights in India: Tracing how the path was paved and breaking the barriers that remain – Bar and Bench
  • Mumbai gets Ministry for the Disabled, the first in the country – The Hindu
  • Systemic Delays, Red Tape Plague Disability Rights Space in India, Say Activists and Experts – The Wire
  • In India, there are too many barriers for persons with disabilities – Money Control
  • The food-related challenges faced by people with disabilities – Times of India
  • Indian laws pertaining to persons with disabilities – CJP
  • What’s missing in govt’s plan to secure ‘accessibility’ for persons with disabilities – The Print
  • Indian transportation services now disabled-friendly: Ministry – The New Indian Express

What is your opinion on this?
(Only subscribers can participate in polls)

a) India is inclusive when it comes to Persons with Disabilities.

b) India is not inclusive when it comes to Persons with Disabilities.


For the Right:

Pasmanda Muslims and Their Decades-Long Fight for Equality

For the Left:

AAP needs to go back to the drawing board


No smog episodes (Delhi) – For the first time in five years, Delhi saw no smog episodes in October and November. According to the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), October and November were the least polluted in terms of PM 2.5 levels in the past eight years. The data was obtained from air quality monitoring stations at the IGI airport, Mandir Marg, and RK Puram, among others. The analysis did show that the most polluted locations in NCR were within Delhi.

Why it matters: High winds and rainfall helped disperse pollutants. In October, rainfall helped bring down the PM 2.5 levels. Also, farm fires from Punjab and Haryana were lower this year compared to 2021. Usually, there’s one smog episode in October and November that lasts 6-10 days. Last winter, two episodes in November lasted for 10 days.

Drug offences (Kerala) – The state has begun legal proceedings against more than 1,200 individuals involved in drug trafficking. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan told the assembly that the cases would be tried under the NDPS Act. He also said an anti-terror squad was tasked with preparing a database of habitual drug offenders in several districts. Excise Minister MB Rajesh said 214 school and college students were booked for drug-related offences.

Why it matters: Per the NDPS Act, the government can attach the wealth earned through the sale of drugs and award the offenders extra punishment if they are caught again. Earlier this year, it was reported that Kerala saw an alarming rise in narcotic cases registered, with more than 8,000 in four months. Officials said that drug use among youngsters was the primary reason.

Conservation lab (Bihar) – The Bihar Museum in Patna will have a conservation lab for antiquities and artefacts. The first of its kind in the state will cost ₹2 crores. An MoU was signed between the museum and the Centre. The lab will not only cater to Bihar but also to north India. It’s being set up with technical support from the National Museum Institute, which has international expertise and exposure.

Why it matters: The state has many archaeological sites that have yielded many antiquities during digging and excavation. While conservation has been done before, the lab will help further the work with new technology. The Bihar Museum is known for its rich artefacts, but there was a need to conserve them properly.

Partnering with Airbnb (Goa) – The Goa tourism department has signed an MoU with Airbnb to promote Goa as a unique tourism destination. The partnership will also promote lesser-known destinations within the state and community-led tourism. The state hopes to scale up homestay capacities across the state and support the hosts. Airbnb will conduct workshops and seminars to train hosts and bed and breakfast owners.

Why it matters: The partnership will help empower local communities through micro-entrepreneurship to attract visitors from around the world. Amanpreet Bajaj of Airbnb said Goa is a priority market, and the partnership will ensure the economic benefits of tourism will reach as many communities as possible.

Separate state demand (Nagaland) – A three-member committee formed by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) will visit Nagaland on December 16 to study the demand for a separate ‘Frontier Nagaland’ state. The members will meet with the Eastern Nagaland Peoples’ Organisation (ENPO) leaders, state government officials, seven tribal bodies, and other groups. To support the demand for a separate state, seven tribes of eastern Nagaland boycotted the recent Hornbill Festival.

Why it matters: A few organisations, like the ENPO, have been asking for a separate state that has 16 of the state’s districts. The ENPO has called for a meeting on December 19 after the committee concludes its visit. The group cited Home Minister Amit Shah’s roadmap for an amicable and legislative solution to their demand.


100 – Tata Group’s Infiniti Retail plans to open 100 exclusive Apple stores in India. They’ll come up in shopping malls, high-street, and neighbourhood locations.