Department of Empowerment of Persons With Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice EmpowermentRoom No.: 515,New Delhi - 110003 +91 11 24369055. secretaryda-msje@nic.in www.disabilityaffairs.gov.in

Though the subject of "Disability" figures in the State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, the Government of India has always been proactive in the disability sector.

It is not only running eight (developing the ninth) National Institutes (NIs) dealing with various types on disabilities and twenty Composite Regional Centers (CRCs), which provide rehabilitation services to Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and run courses for rehabilitation professional but also funds a large number of NGOs for similar services and also a National Handicapped Finance & Development Corporation (NHFDC) which provides loans at concession rates of interest to PwDs for self-employment.

The organizations under DEPwD are:

Besides, the Union Government is a party to

Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan): DEPwD

Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) under Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment was set up in May 2012 with the aims to facilitate empowerment and inclusion of the persons with disabilities and acts as a nodal agency to look after all development agenda of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan). Empowerment of persons with disabilities is an inter-disciplinary process, covering various aspects namely, prevention, early detection, intervention, education, health, vocational training, rehabilitation and social integration. The vision, mission and strategies of the Department are as follows:

  • Vision: To build an inclusive society in which equal opportunities are provided for the growth and development of Persons with Disabilities so that they can lead productive, safe and dignified lives.

  • Mission: To empower Persons with Disabilities, through its various Acts / Institutions / Organizations and Schemes for rehabilitation and to create an enabling environment that provides such persons with equal opportunities, protection of their rights and enables them to participate as independent and productive members of society.

It was stated in the 11th Five Year Plan that

"The 'Disability Division' of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment will be strengthened by converting it into a separate Department, so that it can liaise effectively with all the other concerned Ministries/Departments and fulfill its responsibilities towards the disabled".

The decision to create a separate Department of Disability Affairs within the M/o SJ&E was announced on March 12, 2012 and notified on May 12, 2012.

  • Department of Social Justice and Empowerment (Samajik Nyaya and Adhikarita Vibhag)

  • Department of Disability Affairs (Nishaktata Karya Vibhag)

Since renamed as Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) (DEPwD)

Brief History of DEPwD

During the year 1985-86, the erstwhile Ministry of Welfare was bifurcated into the Department of Women and Child Development and the Department of Welfare. Simultaneously, the Scheduled Castes Development Division, Tribal Development Division and the Minorities and Backward Classes Welfare Division were moved from the Ministry of Home Affairs and also the Wakf Division from the Ministry of Law to form the then Ministry of Welfare.

Subsequently, the name of the Ministry was changed to the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (M/o SJ&E) in May, 1998. Further, in October, 1999, the Tribal Development Division had moved out to form a separate Ministry of Tribal Affairs. In January, 2007, the Minorities Division along with Wakf Unit have been moved out of the Ministry and formed as a separate Ministry, and the Women and Child Development Department has become Ministry of Women & Child Development.

Though the subject of "Disability" figures in the State List in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, the Government of India has always been proactive in the disability sector. It is not only running eight National Institutes (NIs) dealing with various types on disabilities and twenty Composite Regional Centers (CRCs), which provide rehabilitation services to Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and run courses for rehabilitation professional but also funds a large number of NGOs for similar services and also a National Handicapped Finance & Development Corporation (NHFDC) which provides loans at concession rates of interest to PwDs for self-employment. Besides, the Union Government is a party to:

  1. Proclamation on the Full Participation and Equality of People with Disabilities in the Asian and the Pacific Region - adopted at Beijing in December, 1992, and

  2. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which came into effect in May, 2008.

The subject received attention in various States Governments in varying degrees. At the Central level also disability being one of the several responsibilities of the M/o SJ&E, and being looked after by just one bureau, has resulted in inadequate attention, as most of its time and energy is spent only on implementing Ministry's own schemes, meeting their expenditure and physical targets, and organize annual time-bound activities like the National Awards for empowerment of PwDs. In the above background, it was stated in the 11th Five Year Plan that "The 'Disability Division' of the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment will be strengthened by converting it into a separate Department, so that it can liaise effectively with all the other concerned Ministries/Departments and fulfill its responsibilities towards the disabled". Looking to the specialise nature of the subject on "Disability", the wide ranging work to be done in the light of the UNCRPD, and the inadequacy of existing implementation structure, the time came to upgrade the existing Disability Bureau in the M/o SJ&E. The decision to create a separate Department of Disability Affairs within the M/o SJ&E was taken up by the Government, in principle on 3rd January, 2012. This was also announced by the President before both Houses of Parliament on 12th March, 2012.

Two departments were created under the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment vide notification dated 12.5.2012, namely:

  1. Department of Social Justice a and Empowerment (Samajik Nyaya and Adhikarita Vibhag)

  2. Department of Disability Affairs (Nishaktata Karya Vibhag)

Since renamed as Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) (DEPwD)

Initially, DEPwD functioned in the premises of Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi for some time. Owing to its expansion of human resource and activities, the Department has its new office in Antodaya Bhawan, CGO Complex, Lodi Road, New Delhi.

National Institutes

Over a period of time, National Institutes (NIs) in the field of disability have been set up under this Department. NIs are in the nature of autonomous bodies established under Society Registration Act focusing on specific types of disabilities. These Institutes are primarily engaged in Human Resources Development in the field of disability by conducting various courses, providing rehabilitation services to persons with disabilities (PwDs) and promoting Research and Development efforts in the field.

There are nine NIs as given hereunder:

Main activities of these Institutes are as under:

National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Visual Disabilities (NIEPVD), Dehradun

  • Residential school for the Visually Impaired upto the 12 th standard.

  • Central Braille press which is the largest press of Braille literature for school and college education

  • Rehabilitative services for persons with visual disabilities

  • Early intervention and assessment services

  • Post Graduate, Under Graduate and Diploma courses in Special Education and Rehabilitation Psychology

  • Undertakes Research and developmental activities

Ali Yavar Jung National Institute of Speech and Hearing Disabilities (AYJNISHD), Mumbai

  • Ph. D, Post Graduate, Under Graduate and Diploma courses in Audiology, Speech Language Pathology, Special Education, etc.

  • Nodal agency for Cochlear Implant Surgery and post operative rehabilitation. At present 186 hospitals empaneled for the said surgery.

  • Tertiary level care, evaluation and diagnosis of speech- language and audiology impairment.

  • Diagnostic, therapeutic, educational and vocational services to persons with speech and/or hearing disabilities.

  • Early intervention and assessment services.

National Institute for the Empowerment of Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (NIEPID), Secunderabad