By Prashant Agarwal, President of Narayan Seva Sansthan
Srikanth Bolla, MIT graduate in the US. He was rejected by Indian Institutes. Now Bolla has become a Tech entrepreneur, providing the job and encouraging the differently-abled for achieving their dreams without eyesight. India has 2.68 crore people who are differently-abled and the majority of them are males. There are thesis and articles written on the issue of lack of necessities for them like accessibility, skill development, being brought into the mainstream and their health protection.
1. Accessible India – Government has launched Accessible India Campaign for creating equal opportunity, independent living, accessible environment and facilities for persons with disabilities but still, there are places especially in Rural India where differently-abled are lagging behind due to unavailability of proper transport system, information and communication eco-system, appropriate environment for basic education, Hospital facilities and market. World Health Organization stated that ‘Disability is an umbrella term. In rural India, parents defining the child’s disability is a leap for their child and it raises future concern for their security in the villages. 2011 Census stated that 69% of the disabled population is living in rural India while the remaining 31% lives in urban area.
2. Skill Requirement – Internet has changed the Rural India landscape. It has created a barrier-free environment by making information about various courses and required skills available online. 2011 Census stated that in the rural India, 49% of the people with disabilities are literates while in urban areas the percentage of literates among the disabled population is 67%. While most of them are looking for a job, they do not possess adequate skills according to market demand. That is why the Government is also running lots of digital courses, where they can get skills training from the comfort of their home. Also, people with disabilities can receive certificates for getting placement through these courses. Private and government universities are offering courses at every level for physical and digital skills (Carpentry, Entrepreneurship, Healthcare and Telecom). In terms of providing the skills to individuals with disabilities, the Central government has initiated National Action Plan for Skill Development. It aims to cover 2.5 million differently-abled by the year 2022.
3. Inclusion in mainstream society – It is a stigma in rural India hence, differently-abled people are unable to get married or have children. This leads to a perception that differently-abled are not a part of society. Interestingly, the Census also indicated that only 46.87% of the total disabled persons are currently married, whereas 41.72% are never married and 10.29% of them are widowed. That is why there are NGO’s and organizations who are trying to put efforts for bringing them into the mainstream by conducting mass marriages so that differently-abled shall also get a chance to become a part of the mainstream Society.
4. Disability inclusion – United Nations has adopted 17 sustainable development goals for their 2030 agenda. These goals are no poverty, zero hunger, good health, gender equality, decent work and economic growth etc. But we still need to meet basic requirements like support in civic engagement, disability inclusion. That is why we need a platform where children and people with disabilities can nurture their talent and foray into the mainstream.
5. Health problems with differently-abled – There are old patients suffering from polio making them differently-abled. These people with disability are unable to undergo surgery due to their financial situation. 2011 Census indicated 7% of differently-abled children have multiple disabilities. Also, they are unable to get proper treatment due to the low-income crisis.
Anything is possible if we tap it the right way. Government is taking steps towards making the country accessible thus making it our responsibility to make the differently-abled feel better around us. Inspire them to climb the mountain by taking small steps.
(The author is the President of Narayan Seva Sansthan, a non-profit organization serving differently-abled and underprivileged individuals.)