Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) in India - A Statistical Profile: 2021

FOCUS

This report was published on March 31, 2021, by the National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, government of India. It contains statistical information on persons with disabilities in India based on Census 2011 as well as National Sample Survey (NSS) data from 2018.

The NSS (76th round) defines a person with disability as someone who faces long term “physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairment” which hinders their interactions with others in society. At the same time, Census 2011 – the report notes – presents information on disabilities related to seeing, hearing, speech, movement, ‘mental retardation’, mental illness and ‘other and multiple’ disabilities.

Using these sources, the report discusses the various dimensions of disability in India and welfare measures adopted nationally and globally. It highlights the lack of comprehensive information on disabilities at both national and international levels. The government of India – the report notes – aims to create an inclusive society for persons with disabilities, in keeping with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.  

The 307-page report is divided into five chapters: Introduction (Chapter 1); Measuring Disability in India – Definitions & concepts (Chapter 2); Dimensions of Disability in India (Chapter 3); Towards the Welfare of Disabled Persons in India (Chapter 4); and Strengthening Disability Statistics: Recent Global Initiatives (Chapter 5).

    FACTOIDS

  1. Citing Census 2011, the report states that there are 26.8 million persons with disabilities in India, making up 2.21 per cent of the total population.

  2. There are 14.9 million males and 11.9 million females with disabilities in India – accounting for 56 and 44 per cent of the total population of disabled persons. About 2.41 per cent of India’s male population and 2.01 per cent of its female population reports having a disability.

  3. As many as 18 million persons with disabilities (69 per cent of the disabled population) live in rural India, and about eight million (31 per cent) live in urban areas.

  4. Roughly 2.45 per cent of persons with disabilities in India are from Scheduled Castes (SCs) and 2.05 per cent are from Scheduled Tribes (STs). 

  5. The report presents data on the number of persons with different kinds of disabilities in the country. It says that 20 per cent of persons with disabilities report impairments in movement, 19 per cent face disability in seeing, 19 per cent in hearing, and seven per cent in speech. The report notes that six per cent of the disabled population faces ‘mental retardation’ or intellectual disability which results in difficulty in understanding, comprehension or communication.

  6. Over a fifth of all persons with disabilities in India are elderly persons, or those above 60 years of age.

  7. According to Census 2011 data, 61 per cent of children with disabilities (aged 5-19 years) are in an educational institution, 12 per cent have been in such institutions in the past, and 27 per cent have never attended one. The report states that 50 per cent of children with mental disabilities have never attended any educational institution.

  8. Citing Census 2011, the report notes that nearly a third of all persons with disabilities in India are working. This is the case for 47 per cent of the male and 23 per cent of the female disabled population. Among women with disabilities, 25 per cent of those in rural India, and 16 per cent of those in urban areas, are working.

  9. About 1.46 crore persons with disabilities are literate, accounting for 54.4 per cent of the disabled population. At 70.8 per cent, Kerala has the highest literacy rate among disabled persons, while Arunachal Pradesh has the lowest at 38.8 per cent.

  10. Nearly half of the total disabled population in the country live in one of the following five states: Uttar Pradesh (15.5 per cent), Maharashtra (11.05 per cent), Bihar (8.69 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (8.45 per cent) and West Bengal (7.52 per cent). 

  11. More than 50 per cent of children with disabilities aged less than six live in one of these four states: Uttar Pradesh (20.31 per cent), Bihar (14.24 per cent), Maharashtra (10.64 per cent) and West Bengal (6.48 per cent). 

  12. At 2.98 per cent, Sikkim has the highest prevalence of persons with disabilities among all states and union territories, while Daman and Diu has the lowest (0.9 per cent).

  13. The state of Bihar has the highest proportion of children under six in its disabled population, at 12.48 per cent. Kerala has the lowest proportion of children under six with disabilities at 3.44 per cent.

  14. The report states that 22.4 per cent of the disabled population in rural areas, and 19.9 per cent in urban areas, reported receiving aid or help from the government.

  15. The Constitution of India guarantees “equality, freedom, justice and dignity” of all individuals – the report notes. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, in May 2012, established the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (Divyangjan) to ensure focused attention to policy issues related to persons with disabilities and work towards their empowerment. Some of the critical schemes introduced by the government of India for the welfare of persons with disabilities are Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme which aims to provide grants to non-governmental organisations for projects involving the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities, and related activities.


    Focus and factoids by Tathagat Singh.

AUTHOR

National Statistical Office, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India, New Delhi

COPYRIGHT

National Statistical Office, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, Government of India, New Delhi

PUBLICATION DATE

31 Mar, 2021

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