Arun Jaitley's usage of word divyang in Budget speech upsets disability rights activists

While making his budget speech, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley referred to people with disabilities on two occasions. On one, he called them divyang, and on the second occasions he called them differently-abled. Both terms have been rejected by the disabled community, who say that such terms divert attention from the fact they live with disabilities and need help.

The inconsistent usage of the terms by the FM when it comes to the disabled has been noticed by many in the disabled community, who say it in indication of how this government has refused to acknowledge the responsibilities it owed to the community.

The term Divyang was first used by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015. Later he replaced it with the word 'viklang' which means deformed bodies during a Mann Ki Baat address. This was not well received.

The disabled community says that PwDs are not differently-abled, and the first step is to acknowledge that they have disabilities. ‘People with Disabilities’ is the best and most direct way to address them, they say. ,” said Meenakshi Balasubramaniam.

They say that using the word divyang is a tactic by the government to divert attention from other issues as there is nothing divine about the disabled experience.

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