D.N.I.S. News Network, India: That persons with disabilities in our country lead a hard life is not news. However, a recent study by a voluntary organisation Swabhiman has revealed the extent to which persons with disabilities are marginalised in the state of Odisha. The survey ‘Profile on Disability in Odisha’, was conducted in association with the Department of Women and Child Development. The report was released in Bhubaneswar by Governor M.C. Bhandare on April 5.
The findings reveal that 77.8 percent of persons with disabilities survive as dependants. Among the rest, 45 percent run small businesses, while 29 percent are daily wage earners. For those running their own business, the seed capital mostly comes from savings, family or friends. Percentage of loans availed from National Handicapped Finance and Development Corporation (N.H.F.D.C.) is a measly 7.6 percent.
The scenario in the education sector is equally bleak. Literacy rate of persons with disabilities is only 57.8 percent. Barely 30.1 percent have passed primary school and 14.2 percent are class 8th pass! 9.1 percent of the people with disabilities are matriculates, 3.3 percent have a graduation degree, while a meagre 0.9 percent have a post graduate degree.
No school, college or university in the state is barrier free, the report highlighted. The survey exposes deep rooted apathy towards providing special facility for students with disabilities in universities and colleges, or encouraging extra-curricular activities for them.
At a social level too there is nothing to cheer about. 63.5 percent persons with disabilities do not have life partners and only 47 percent desire to have children. While 52.3 percent persons with disabilities have access to family dining, 41.2 percent are not involved in household chores at all.
Sruti Mohapatra, Founder, Swabhiman said, “The survey has revealed many startling facts about the socio-economic condition of persons with disabilities in the state. It also points out gaps in the process of mainstreaming them. All stake holders including the government, policy makers, corporate houses, the civil society and disabled people's organisations must work in tandem to create a friendly environment for them in the state. There should be proper budget allocation and inclusive policies for persons with disabilities.”