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
Proclamation on the Full Participation and Equality of People with Disabilities in the Asian and the Pacific Region: Adopted at Beijing, December, 1992
The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD): Effective, May, 2008
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
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.