- Pro-actively consider Persons with disability as a strategic human resource of the nation
- Adopt a Holistic Perspective towards Data Collection and Disaggregation for Persons with Disability
- Disability cuts across all Ministries and Departments
- Adopting one Disability Question and unifying it across all Initiatives
- Build Capacity of all Agencies/Stakeholders in the value chain vis-a-vis Persons with Disabilities
Niti Aayog should consider Persons with disabilities as a strategic human resource of the country and not as an afterthought. While the Niti Aayog at the center and the various state ministries have begun work on creating a 2030 vision document that is in alignment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), it provides the perfect opportunity to collaborate and understand the needs and issues of persons with disabilities. It is absolutely critical that persons with disabilities are identified as important stakeholders and have explicit mentions across all the vision documents. Further, it is important that there is an explicit outcome metrics defined for each of the target/indicator adopted. When translating of broad strategies into specific 7 year checkpoints, it is important to define the end state for persons with disabilities. The Niti Aayog should have a fair representation from disability groups during this consultation process and recommend the state governments to do the same.
Niti Aayog and all the governing bodies that will be monitoring the progress vis-à-vis SDGs should adopt a holistic perspective and not have a piece meal approach. In the context of SDGs, our analysis indicates that there are more than 85 targets across 15 goals encompassing more than 100 indicators where there is a need of collecting, analyzing, disaggregating and reporting data for persons with disabilities. It is important that all government initiatives that captures any data related to population/human resources or human development including employment, education, entitlement to property, challenges with farmers/urban poor/rural poor, poverty and hunger parameters, developing key infrastructure for citizen e-governance, future and smart cities etc. should be also analyzed with a disability perspective.
Disability is a cross cutting issue, thus Disability should not be considered as a subject for Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment or Department of Disability Affairs alone. In the context of SDGs, we have identified 25 strategic ministries in addition to Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, where there needs to be a high focus from a disability point of view. We recommend that all these Ministries including Niti Aayog has a dedicated position/person/unit/cell that is responsible to integrate disability and their related concerns across their key initiatives. It will also be the charter of this particular person to ensure that data is appropriately collected across all the schemes and disabled people are included as a key stakeholder as the end user/beneficiaries/citizen. There should also be specific budgets carved out for dedicated towards people with disabilities across initiatives and ministries.
There is a need to adopt the right question for collecting data for persons with disabilities and standardizing it across all instruments, ministries, initiatives. United Nations recommends the Washington Group Short Set of Questions and India so far has been using a different question which was used in Census 2011. There is a need to invite a national level consultation from cross disability groups and come on a consensus on the right question and then make it a mandatory question across all population related questionnaires/data instruments. The question should also then be adopted to capture the performance of all key schemes/initiatives. For example, NREGA, NRLM, NULM, Jan Dan Yojna and all other key initiatives where citizens benefit. It is critical to understand how many disabled people have benefited in each program. We recommend that all ministries across states and center and data collection agencies/instruments/officers are notified to include one standard question on disability. Disability should become an integral part as much as the question on identifying gender is today.
There is also a glaring need to build the capacity of our key agencies that will be involved in collecting, analyzing, disaggregating, and reporting data for persons with disabilities. It is critical that the relevant teams across all ministries including Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation are sensitized on the subject and train enumerators to interact with people with disabilities with dignity, respect and as equal citizen. Further it is important that capacity is built so that correct analysis and data is reported in a structured and a transparent manner without any bias, stereotype or prejudices. These data/reports should be made easily available and in accessible formats.
For any further information, please contact Mr. Javed Abidi, Honorary Director, NCPEDP at firstname.lastname@example.org