Correct nationwide disability statistics are important, says NGO

Sarthak, an NGO working to empower people with disabilities, said accurate statistics would help ensure the general well-being of the disabled population and monitor trends in disability prevalence.

Sociodemographic data and functional status data of people with disabilities (PwDs) are on for hours, a disability rights organization said.

Sarthak, an NGO committed to empowering people with disabilities through various activities, has requested accurate national disability statistics to identify the needs and levels of institutional support needed by people with disabilities. Most PwDs lack access to quality health care, transportation, education and training, and employment, the organization said.

Accurate national disability statistics are important to ensure the general well-being of the disabled population and to monitor trends in the prevalence of disability, said the organization’s founder, Jitender Aggarwal.

Sarthak has proposed to the Census Department to include all 21 disabilities under the Disability Rights Act of 2016 in its surveys; a nationwide awareness campaign to highlight the importance of identifying PwDs; social campaigns to de-stigmatize PwDs; using digital media and technology to conduct the surveys and working with various stakeholders during the data collection process.

Sarthak has sought adequate training and awareness among census counters to conduct surveys related to disability. The social welfare offices in each state should provide the data collection teams with the existing data from PwDs in advance in order to enable a better correlation of the data entries, it said.

The 2011 survey found that over 26.8 million people, or 2.21% of the total population, had some form of disability. Disability rights activists say people with disabilities are underestimated. The correct statistics would help formulate guidelines and understand the realities at the ground level, the organization said.

“Accurate national statistics on disabilities are essential to safeguard the rights of people with disabilities,” said Aggarwal. “This will not only help spread awareness, it will also create a strong ecosystem for the disabled community,” he said.

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