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Survey to analyze challenges of disabled people in Tamil Nadu off to a slow start

January 14, 2019

Over the years, central and state governments have introduced various policies and welfare schemes for people with disabilities. Unfortunately, most of them do not go beyond words and the needs of disabled people get stuck at the policy level.

The Department of Welfare of Differently Abled Persons in Tamil Nadu wants to change that by conducting a survey across the state to identify the problems faced by people with disabilities. All disabilities that are covered under the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 will be looked into for the survey.

The RPWD Act clearly mentions that people with disabilities must be able to exercise their rights without any hassles. It is the responsibility of every state government to ensure that people with disabilities live a dignified and respected life. They must be entitled to higher education and respectable jobs as well.

This is the first such survey to be held in Tamil Nadu after the Act came into being and it will be used to analyze the challenges faced by the community. This ranges from difficulty in getting pensions, disability certificates or even access to public infrastructure. The survey will look into all this in detail.

However, the survey has had a slow start because the response from the disabled community has been mixed. Many are sceptical that the survey will amount to anything concrete given past examples.

In spite of all the previous surveys, no data or findings have emerged. Why not do something concrete and then do the survey alongside? Most of the states in India have already started identifying people with blood disorders. Why can't that be done here and then certificates issued? We must also point out the abysmal record of Unique Identity Card for the Disabled certification in Tamil Nadu. - Vaishnavi Jayakumar, Disability Rights Alliance

According to officials, the data received from the survey will be compiled to improve the quality of living standards as mentioned under the RPWD Act. They have also promised that they will not leave any stone unturned to make sure that the survey is complete and efficient.

The survey will be conducted by anganwadi workers along with district disability welfare officers. Officials are now looking into funds that can be allocated by the state government to carry on with the survey.

"This is indeed a long awaited survey. It must not be confined to just districts or blocks. This survey needs to be done in all the states without any further delay. Officials must ensure that the survey assesses the needs of people with all kinds of disabilities and do what is required for their welfare. This includes any kind of support required by a disabled person including the one to exercise one's legal capacity", says Smitha Sadasivam, Accessibility Consultant, Election Commission of India.

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