Disability in India: an overview

Praween Kumar Agrawal, Johns Hopkins University and Collaborative Centre, Lucknow, India

According to World Health Organization Manual, disability is defined as any restriction or lack (resulting from an impairment) to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being. The National Sample Survey Organization (NSSO 1991) revealed that 1.9 percent of the India’s total population were affected with physical and sensory disability, which accounts almost equal to the total population of a country like Australia. In a developing country like India, with low per capita income, disabled population is a matter of concern. In the present paper, disability analysis has been done using data from National Family Health Survey (NFHS-1), 1992-93. NFHS gives the information about blindness (partial and complete) and physical impairment of limbs for each member (5,00042) from all over the country. Bi-variate and multivariate (logistic regression) analysis of data has been carried out to have an insight into the demographic an occupational status of the disabled population among the different socio-economic groups. The overall prevalence of partial blindness and complete blindness is 2585 and 416 (per 100000 population) respectively. Females are more prone to partial as well as complete blindness. Prevalence of persons with physically impaired limbs is 639 per 100000 population. People impaired by legs are more than double than people impaired by hand. Males were found to be more physically impaired by limbs than females (776 compared to 494 per 100000 population). Despite of reservation policy in occupation for the disabled in India (3 percent), blind and orthopaedically handicapped people are either unemployed or being absorbed in household works and other unorganized sectors. Also, a substantial proportion of blind and physically impaired limb people are beggars. Therefore, to enhance the quality of life of the disabled persons, they should be given more attention for their welfare.

Presented in Poster Session 1

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