Disability pride month: Disabled persons remain invisible in policy imagination


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Project RPwD Generation, Mission Accessibility

Mains level: India's disability law jurisprudence, challenges, Project RPwD Generation, Mission Accessibility and way forward


What’s the news?

  • Disability Pride Month, celebrated every July, serves as a global platform to acknowledge the identities of individuals with disabilities and affirm their rights and visibility.

Central idea

  • Chief Justice of India, D Y Chandrachud, emphasized the importance of diversity and plurality as the essence of India’s narrative. However, India’s disability law jurisprudence has faced challenges that hindered the narratives and identities of persons with disabilities.

Challenges in India’s disability law jurisprudence

  • Lack of Reasonable Accommodations: The implementation of policies and approaches by government departments and private institutions often disregarded the need for reasonable accommodations, resulting in the exclusion of persons with disabilities from various aspects of daily life.
  • Inadequate Grievance Redressal Mechanisms: The absence of swift and effective grievance redressal mechanisms has made it challenging for persons with disabilities to seek justice and resolve disputes related to their rights. Bureaucratic red tape further complicated the process, hindering individuals’ ability to voice their grievances.
  • Digital Exclusion: The transition to online platforms and technology-based services during the pandemic exacerbated digital barriers faced by persons with disabilities. The accessibility needs of disabled individuals were often overlooked, preventing them from fully participating in the digital realm and accessing essential services, education, employment opportunities, and information.
  • Inadequate Implementation of Legislation: Although the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, recognized and safeguarded the rights of persons with disabilities, its implementation has been insufficient. Many provisions remain unenforced, limiting the legislation’s effectiveness in ensuring accessibility, rights, and inclusion.
  • Lack of Awareness and Sensitization: Limited awareness and sensitization about disability rights and the unique needs of persons with disabilities contribute to misconceptions, stigma, and discrimination. Addressing this challenge requires efforts to promote awareness and educate the public about disability rights and inclusivity.

A Growing Concern of Digital Exclusion

  • Accessibility Barriers: Many digital platforms and technologies lack adequate accessibility features, making them inaccessible to individuals with disabilities. Challenges such as non-compliance with accessibility standards, poor user interface design, lack of alternative text for images, and limited compatibility with assistive technologies prevent persons with disabilities from fully utilizing digital services and platforms.
  • Assistive Technology Compatibility: Persons with disabilities often rely on assistive technologies to access and navigate digital content. However, compatibility issues between these assistive technologies and digital platforms can hinder their effectiveness and limit access to information and services.
  • Digital Skills and Awareness: Limited digital skills and awareness among persons with disabilities contribute to their digital exclusion. Some individuals may lack the knowledge or resources to effectively use digital tools or access assistive technologies, further widening the gap between disabled and non-disabled individuals in the digital space.
  • Affordability and Accessibility: The cost of assistive technologies and internet access can be a significant barrier for persons with disabilities, particularly those from marginalized communities. The lack of affordable and accessible technology further exacerbates digital exclusion, hindering their participation in online activities

How Mission Accessibility is Driving Change?

  • Engaging with Developers: Mission Accessibility proactively engages with developers of digital platforms that are inaccessible to disabled users. By working closely with these developers, they aim to raise awareness about accessibility needs and advocate for necessary changes to ensure inclusivity.
  • Advocacy through Litigation: Mission Accessibility actively pursues change through legal means, including litigation if necessary. They participate in litigation cases, such as the Pathaan litigation, where they advocate for directions to make OTT (Over-The-Top) content accessible for persons with disabilities. Their involvement in such cases brings attention to the accessibility needs of disabled individuals and can result in positive changes.
  • Capacity Building: Mission Accessibility conducts capacity-building workshops for web developers, particularly those working on government websites. By providing knowledge and skills related to creating accessible digital experiences, they empower developers to implement inclusive design practices and make government websites more accessible to persons with disabilities.
  • Collaboration with Government Bodies: Mission Accessibility collaborates with government bodies responsible for accessibility. For example, they work with the office of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) in issuing notices to digitally inaccessible platforms, urging them to make their platforms accessible within a specified timeframe. This collaboration helps drive the adoption of accessibility practices at a systemic level.
  • Promoting Accessibility Audits: Mission Accessibility advocates for accessibility audits of digital platforms and services. By highlighting the importance of involving persons with disabilities in evaluating the accessibility of platforms, they push for thorough assessments that can identify and address accessibility barriers effectively.

Striving for Dignity and Rights of persons with disabilities through Project RPwD Generation

  • Accessing Spaces: Project RPwD Generation works towards ensuring that persons with disabilities have equal access to public spaces. They aim to eliminate physical barriers and promote inclusive infrastructure to create an environment that is accessible to all individuals.
  • Housing: The project focuses on addressing the housing needs of persons with disabilities. They strive to advocate for accessible and inclusive housing options, including barrier-free housing and the inclusion of accessibility features in housing policies.
  • Education: Project RPwD Generation emphasizes inclusive education opportunities for persons with disabilities. They work to ensure that disabled individuals have access to quality education by advocating for accessible learning environments, reasonable accommodations, and inclusive practices in schools and educational institutions.
  • Employment: The project aims to promote equal employment opportunities for persons with disabilities. They advocate for inclusive workplace policies, reasonable accommodations, and initiatives that foster diversity and inclusion in the workforce. Their efforts focus on eliminating discrimination and barriers to employment faced by disabled individuals.
  • Rights Enforcement: Project RPwD Generation actively works towards the effective enforcement of the rights of persons with disabilities. They engage in strategic litigation, if necessary, to protect and uphold the rights of disabled individuals when they are violated. This includes taking legal actions to address instances of discrimination, lack of accessibility, or denial of rights.
  • Grievance Redressal: The project places importance on strengthening grievance redressal mechanisms to ensure that disabled individuals have access to high-quality and swift justice. They aim to improve the accessibility and efficiency of the grievance redressal process, allowing persons with disabilities to effectively address their grievances

Way forward

  • Strengthening the Legal Framework: Enhancing the existing legal framework related to disability rights and accessibility is crucial. This includes ensuring that legislation, such as the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, is effectively implemented, enforced, and updated as needed. Continuous evaluation and improvement of legal provisions can drive institutional change.
  • Developing Clear Procedures: Establishing clear procedures and guidelines for institutions regarding accessibility and inclusion is essential. This can include creating accessibility standards, design guidelines, and protocols for reasonable accommodations.
  • Capacity Building and Training: Conducting training programs and capacity-building initiatives for government officials, private sector employees, educators, and service providers can raise awareness about disability rights and accessibility requirements.
  • Collaboration and Partnerships: Foster collaboration between government bodies, civil society organizations, disability rights activists, and experts in the field of accessibility.
  • Accessibility Audits and Monitoring: Regular accessibility audits and monitoring of institutions, including government departments, private organizations, and digital platforms, can ensure compliance with accessibility standards.
  • Promoting Inclusive Technology: Encouraging the development and adoption of inclusive technologies is crucial for digital inclusion. Institutions should prioritize accessibility in their technological solutions, ensuring that digital platforms, websites, and applications are designed with universal design principles and meet accessibility standards.
  • Public Awareness and Sensitization: Conducting awareness campaigns and sensitization programs to foster a more inclusive and accepting society is essential. Promoting positive attitudes towards disability, debunking misconceptions, and encouraging empathy and understanding will contribute to the overall inclusivity of institutions.


  • As Disability Pride Month encourages us to celebrate the identities of persons with disabilities, it is imperative to recognize the challenges they face and work towards transformative change. By embracing an inclusive mindset, pursuing systemic reforms, and implementing institutional solutions, we can create a society that respects and upholds the rights of all individuals. Let us take pride in our progress while striving for a future where disability does not hinder one’s ability to fully participate in society.

Also read:

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