India

This page features the news on disability from India in the Debrief Library. See also news from other countries.

Contents

Accessibility and Design

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Overview

Disabled-friendly buildings rendered inaccessible: “Even as the government creates infrastructure for the differently-abled, the same is not being maintained or kept accessible to them” (Dec, Herald Goa)

Uncertainty over Accessible India Campaign deadline seven years of work to increase accessibility of government buildings, public transport and websites. (Jun, The Hindu)

Mumbai: Living with a disability in the megacity (Mar, Aljazeera)

Housing

Accessible homes for disabled Indians is not a favour, it’s an obligation (Sep, The Print)

Ageing

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Delhi Police to visit homes of senior citizens every evening (Jul, Devdiscourse)

Assistive Technology

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Sensory Futures: Deafness and Cochlear Implant Infrastructures in India:

“In this book, I attend to becoming normal, specifically in relation to sensory normality. I argue that normalization leads to, and is a form of, narrowing. Becoming normal—a key promise of cochlear implant technology—constrains people’s sensory, modal, and relational engagements. Normative sensory configurations and communicative practices based on listening and spoken language are the desired outcomes after cochlear implantation. These desired outcomes are tethered to ideas and ideals about a “right way” to sense, communicate, and relate to others. The Indian state, families of deaf children, medical professionals, and educators, among other stakeholders, increasingly expect that these normative outcomes will occur. They work to foreclose other outcomes for deaf individuals, such as becoming sign language users or orienting to others through vision and touch. As cochlear implants become more ubiquitous in India, sensory, modal, and relational possibilities for deaf children and those with whom they engage diminish. Sensory normality, as a desired goal and outcome, results in a contraction rather than an expansion of ways of engaging with the world.” (Jun, Manifold)

From Hoping to Expecting: Cochlear Implantation and Habilitation in India (Feb, Cultural Anthropology)

Food Delivery Service With A Difference: This Motorised Wheelchair “Gives Wings To People With Disabilities” (Jun, NDTV)

COVID-19

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Impact

COVID-19, Persons with Disabilities and an (Un)Inclusive Healthcare System a study on access to healthcare services and vaccinations. (Oct, Vidhi Centre for Legal Policy)

Gasping to live again: A disabled person's account of barely surviving Covid:

“When you live on the margins, you perennially face the threat of deletion. You never know who is redrawing the map: the government, the society or a global pandemic. The last two years have been a heady concoction of panic and anxiety for disabled and chronically ill people like me.”

“My oxygen is dipping. I have blacked out. When I wake up, the nurse is telling me I should lose weight. Am I going to survive? I must be. No one tells a dying person to lose weight, do they?” (Aug, Unbias the News)

Living with COVID

Civil Society and Community

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The Protest Toolkit: “with our existence itself being a form of rebellion, our emotions and our community become our tools of protest.” (Aug, Women Enabled International) See also reflections on celebrating disability pride in India.

Climate Crisis and Environment

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Climate Change Is A Double Blow For People With Disabilities (Aug, Health Policy Watch)

Interview with Alice Abraham, a young woman from Kerala “regarding the impact of climate change on her life and her disability.” (Jul, The Sangyan)

An ICT4 Inclusion Challenge on mitigating the impact of climate change on people with disabilities (May, ICT 4 Inclusion Challenge)

Communication and Language

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Overview

An online library for blind and print disabled with a collection of nearly 700,000 books in DAISY format combining audio and text. (Nov, Kashmir Images)

Braille

Thirukkural and other Tamil literary works to be available in Braille script. (Oct)

Culture, Entertainment and Media

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TV and Film

Will ‘Jalsa’ Improve Disability Representation in Indian Popular Culture? (Mar, BBC) See more on Surya Kasibhatla, the actor with cerebral palsy that stars in the thriller.

Media

How one Indian radio station is giving ‘a lifeline to people with disabilities’ around the world. “Set up in 2015, the volunteer-run station now has some 50,000 people with disabilities tuning in to its trilingual broadcasts every month”. (Dec, This Week in Asia)

A 9-step plan for 'curb-cutting' disability access in India’s news and newsrooms. A paper on the experiences of journalists with disabilities and what more can be done. (Sep, Reuters Institute)

Data and Research

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Data Gaps: Undercounting Disability In India Explores issues with surveys, disability certification and the unique disability id scheme. (Jul, IndiaSpend)

Factsheet: Disability In Jharkhand results from the National Family Health Survey showing less than 1% of the population having a disability. (Jun, The Sangyan)

Digital Accessibility and Technology

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Overview

State of digital accessibility in India (Dec, Financial Express)

Online Accessibility

Court of Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities orders a online healthcare service provider to make its application and website accessible. (Aug, The Hindu)

Usability and accessibility-based quality evaluation of Indian airline websites. (Jul, Universal Access in the Information Society)

Disaster Risk Reduction and Crisis Response

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Status of Disability Inclusion in Disaster Risk Management (Jun, The Sangyan)

Economics and Social Protection

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Social Protection

In Tamil Nadu, Unique Disability Identity Cards go missing (Jun, DT Next)

Tangled In Red Tape, The Disability ID Card Process Is Steeped With Gender Barriers. As well as some of the expected implementation issues, this in-depth article discusses how "these problems multiply for women and transgender persons with disabilities." This includes a striking gap in disability card holder percentage of men and women. (Feb, Behan Box)

Education and Childhood

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Inclusive education in practice: disability, ‘special needs’ and the (Re)production of normativity in Indian childhoods. (Sep, Children's Geographies)

Around 71% of govt schools across country made "disabled friendly" according to Ministry data (Jun, Times of India)

For kids with disabilities, the pandemic may have been a reprieve “If not going to school has given them their first taste of learning in a safe and happy place, then schools have to be made safer and happier now that they are heading back” (Mar, Indian Express) I'm sure this doesn't generalize, but great to see cases of people who had a better time.

Employment, Business and Work

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Supreme Court gives a welcome order with problematic observations. Judges accepted inclusion of disabled people in public services they had been excluded from, but accompanied this with “seemingly discouraging remarks”. (Nov, Indian Express)

Article on employment of persons with disabilities and statistics from public and private sectors. (Oct, Business Standard)

Official Data Shows Central Government Jobs for Disabled Persons Have Declined Since 2018 (Jul, The Wire)

Enabling Inclusive: Best Practices in Disability Inclusion in Manufacturing Sector (link to pdf, Mar, IBDN)

The Supreme Court bats for disabled people in police force. “Experiment it for a while and if it does not work then you may not continue with it.” (May, Times of India)

Gender Equality and Women with Disabilities

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Trans Persons With Disabilities Lack Enabling Social Systems and Healthcare Support: “the medical fraternity is patronising and insensitive towards their healthcare needs. It does not help that families, already struggling to cope with their disability, find it hard to come to terms with their gender identity.” (Jun, BehanBox)

Women With Disabilities Have To Constantly Negotiate Between Isolation And Intrusion

“We noted in our conversations with women with disabilities that they experience social isolation and the invasion of privacy simultaneously. Their body becomes available to other people — parents, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, groups of medical students doing the round of wards, for example.”
(Mar)

Health

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High Court rules that People with disabilities are entitled to health insurance. (Dec, Times of India)

Can a Blind Doctor Become a Psychiatrist? discussion of a case that has reached the Supreme Court. (Feb, The Wire)

Lived Experience and Opinion

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There are too many barriers for persons with disabilities “Accessibility in India is often seen from the lens of the individual and the collective or societal approach is missing [...] It is not surprising that it is disabled individuals who have to take the onus on themselves and turn into activists and serial petitioners in courts.” (Dec, Money Control)

Not Your Everyday Ableism a series of short videos to “to unlearn everyday ableist notions, acknowledge the need for creating disability affirmative spaces, and understand the ways for taking action, one conversation at a time.” (Aug, That Sassy Thing)

Mental Health

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The Long-Run Effects of Psychotherapy on Depression, Beliefs and Economic Outcomes:

“We revisit two clinical trials that randomized depressed adults in India (n=775) to a brief course of psychotherapy or a control condition. Four to five years later, the treatment group was 11 percentage points less likely to be depressed than the control group. The more effective intervention averted 9 months of depression on average over five years and cost only $66 per recipient.” (link to pdf, May, Bhat et al)

Mobility, Travel, Transport and Tourism

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Diary of a wheelchair traveller: 7 accessible spaces in India (Dec, Money Control)

India's aviation authority adds new disability rule for airlines. (Jul, Disability Insider) See also from NDTV and an example of air India failing to deliver a wheelchair at destination airport (Jul, Dignified Flying for Disabled).

Passengers with special needs: “A wheelchair is not what my sister needs at an airport” (Jul, The Indian Express)

Anger after India airline IndiGo removes disabled teenager “India's aviation minister has said he is investigating a domestic airline after it allegedly refused to let a disabled teenager board its flight.” (May, BBC)

Representation to West Bengal Transport Authorities on procurement of accessible, low floor buses. (Mar, Freedom of Movement Coalition)

Policy and Rights

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New Policy for disabled paves way for early intervention centres employment portal & national database (Jun, Times of India) Concerns raised that the draft was not accessible (The Hindu)

Government advisory board on disability not re-constituted since November 2020 (Jun, The Hindu)

Relationships, Sex and Reproductive Rights

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Desire, Sexuality And Choice: Disabled Indian Women And Queer Persons On Their Experiences. “I never stopped to think whether I liked them or not. I was just glad that someone liked me. I didn’t feel I had the right to say no. I thought ‘I will figure out how to like them too,’” (Mar, BehanBox)

Why It Is Hard For Disabled Women, Queer Persons To Leave Abusive Partners (Jun, BehanBox)

An impressive series of collaborations for Cripplentines Week 2022 "Cripplentines is rooted in the belief that all kinds of love should be celebrated". I particularly enjoyed picking out my favorite lipstick for you: "We deserve rough sex, slow sex, sex that makes us forget the ableist world for a while, sex that is loving, sex that values our disabled bodies." And the article on the space to dream of disability affirmative love:

"As single disabled young adults navigating (or trying to navigate) dating during a pandemic, there is so much despair and frustration. Yes, there are plenty of fish in the sea, but most of the fish are ableist and would rather not wear a mask because 'the omicron wave is mild, ya'."

See further in the collaborations with Feminism India and Gaysi. Featured on New India Express and Mid-Day. (Feb, Revival Disability Mag)

Sport and Paralympics

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Awaiting the right move. “Persons with Disabilities and activists share their grievances on inaccessibility at the ongoing Chess Olympiad and how it could have been made better” (Aug, The New Indian Express)

Violence and Harassment

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Why it is hard for disabled women, queer persons to leave abusive partners. (Aug, The News Minute)

Deaf man fatally stabbed for not responding to teen’s honking say Indian Police. (Jul, Limpling Chicken)

Disability, Gender, Violence, Home and the City 'Nidhi Goyal takes us beyond keywords' with interesting reflections on a range of subjects, illustrated with concrete examples, from her experience of the city, the relations between access and safety, and the home itself:

  • "To access a city space, I invite someone in my physical space, and allow them to touch me. [...] I disconnect my arms from my body, because I have to offer my arm to every stranger I meet."
  • How disability shows us new forms of exclusion and violence, whether a family not speaking in sign language, or "for a disabled women, domestic violence is not giving her medications on time, putting away her assistive device where she cannot reach by herself, without asking her."
  • Whether this is about getting dressed, whether to go out: "We don't consider that taking consent from a disabled woman is required at all." (Dec, Third Eye Portal)

Water and Sanitation (WASH)

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When nature calls, where do we go? on access to public toilets in Chennai. (Oct, DT Next)