Health Sector – UHC, National Health Policy, Family Planning, Health Insurance, etc.

Issues related to people with disabilities


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: CRPD

Mains level: Paper 2- Ensuring the dignity of persons with disability


Twenty years ago on August 6 in Erwadi in Tamil Nadu’s Ramanathapuram, a fire broke out in a thatched shelter, engulfing 43 chained people who had psychosocial disabilities.

Legal provision for the persons with disabilities

  • India ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) in 2007.
  • The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act  was enacted in 2016.
  • The Mental Healthcare Act (MHCA) was enacted in 2017.

Failure of the states

  • Sates have failed to uphold the human rights of people with disabilities in general and those with psychosocial and intellectual disabilities in particular.
  • Only eight states/UTs — Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Maharashtra, Odisha, Kerala, and West Bengal — have framed rules for implementation of MHCA.
  • Unless we implement the law in letter and spirit, the Global Mental Health Movement will remain a mere buzzword and the CRPD-reliant MHCA will remain a law only on paper.

Violations of rights in private asylums

  • Private asylums survive because of their close proximity to faith-based healing centres.
  • Because mental health conditions carry a high stigma, caregivers flock to these faith-based facilities in the hopes of finding a cure.
  • Private players take advantage of their vulnerabilities, forcing such persons with psychosocial issues to be grouped together and chained in these shelters.
  • Chaining in any way or form is outlawed under Section 95 of the MHCA.

Way forward

  • Human right approach: We must work to ensure that the human rights approach to disability is integrated into mental health systems, education, law, and bureaucracy.
  • We move away from pathologisation, segregation, and a charity-based approach.


Implementation of rights of the persons with disability needs implementation in letter and spirit and human rights based approach.

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