In India, people with disabilities are known as Divyangjan.
Divyang is a Hindi word that means “divine body part.”
The Hon’ble PM gave the term ‘Divyangjan’ to the Persons with Disabilities and launched the Accessible India Campaign in 2015.
Various government initiatives
Department of Divyangjan: The Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment’s Department of Persons with Disabilities is renamed the Divyangjan Sashaktikaran Vibhag.
Right of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016: Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 promotes and protects the rights and dignity of people with disabilities in educational, social, legal, economic, cultural and political spheres.
Accessible India Campaign: The government launched the “Accessible India Campaign” (Sugamya Bharat Abhiyan) which seeks to make government buildings “fully accessible” for the disabled.
TV Viewing: The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has formulated the standards for accessible TV viewing for persons with hearing impairment which provides for closed captioning, subtitling and designing of special devices.
Sugamya Bharat App: The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment’s Department of Disability Empowerment has launched the ‘Sugamya Bharat App’ to address accessibility issues faced by differently-abled people in buildings and transportation systems.
Accessibility in Education Sector: Under the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, provision has been made for in-service training of teachers, and training for special educators. The New Education Policy (NEP) 2020 aims to provide barrier-free access to education for all children with disabilities.
Divya Kala Shakti: The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment hosted the first-ever colourful cultural event in the western region, “Divya Kala Shakti: Witnessing the Abilities in Disabilities”.
Assistance to Disabled Persons for Purchase/Fitting of Aids and Appliances (ADIP): The ADIP Scheme has been in operation since 1981 with the main objective to assist the needy disabled persons in procuring durable, sophisticated and scientifically manufactured, modern, standard aids and appliances that can promote their physical, social and psychological rehabilitation.
Deen Dayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme: Under DDDRS, the Central Government has been providing grant-in-aid to non-governmental organisations (NGOs) for projects relating to the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.
National Institute of Mental Health Rehabilitation (NIMHR): This is a Central Autonomous Institute under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment’s Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan). It is a federally funded institute that focuses on mental health rehabilitation.
Policy measures for Divyangjan
Inclusion of Divyangjan: Disability inclusion refers to including people with disabilities in everyday activities and encouraging them to take on roles similar to their peers who do not have disabilities.
Disability Certificate: A disability certificate is provided to a person with a disability of more than 40% in order to be eligible for any of the available schemes’ facilities, benefits, or concessions.
Unique Disability Identity Project: Unique ID for Persons with Disabilities project is being implemented with a view to creating a National Database of PwDs.
Accessibility in Cross-Disability Early Intervention Centres: In order to provide rehabilitative services for children with various types of disabilities, Early Intervention Centres (EICs) with a cross-disability focus were established across India in 2021. Accessible features include accessible parking, routes, ramps, accessible reception counters, accessible toilets and drinking water points, staircases, and appropriate instructional and directional signage.
Accessible Means of Communication: Indian Sign Language (ISL): The Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre (ISLRTC), in collaboration with NCERT, is converting NCERT textbooks and other educational materials into ISL digital format to assist people with hearing impairment.
Psychological disability (mental illness): As per the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights, and Full Participation) Act, 1995, mental illness is recognised as one of the disabilities. The Act defines “mental illness” as any mental disorder other than mental retardation. In 2001, a Committee was formed to establish guidelines for the evaluation and assessment of mental illness, as well as the certification procedure.