Disability is often described in terms of lack of normal functioning of physical, mental or psychological processes. It is also defined as learning difficulties or difficulties in adjusting socially, which interfaces with a person's normal growth and development. Around 10 per cent of the world's population suffering one or the other disabilities they are the world's largest minority. Disability rates are significantly higher among groups with lower educational attainment in the countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and development. The World Bank estimates that 20 percent of the world's poorest people are disabled, and tend to be regarded in their own communities as the most disadvantaged.
The persons with disabilities do have outstanding abilities. In recent times the abilities of this people are recognised and encouraged to bring them to the main stream of the Society.
As per 2001 census Karnataka has a disabled population of 9,40,643 out of which 6,61,139 persons live in villages and 2,79,904 in urban areas. The literate disabled population is 4,73,844, which constitutes 51.40% of the total disabled population. Most of the families with disabled persons live below poverty line. Lack of facilities and opportunities prevent disabled persons from gaining suitable, Education, Training & Employment. Unemployment remains a major challenge and inactiveness results in multiple disability and depression among the disabled persons. It is necessary to provide opportunities for them to study, to get trained in skill sets and get jobs to work. It should be kept in mind to provide barrier free environment at the place of education, training and place of working. Mobility is another aspect, which needs to be looked into.
Government of Karnataka have taken serious view about this and have taken keen interest from the beginning to help the specially challenged persons and launched several welfare schemes for the welfare and benefit of the persons with disabilities. Understanding the need of this vulnerable section of the Society the State Government has created separate department for the welfare of the disabled in the year 1988 and added the welfare of the Senior Citizens in the year 2003 to look into the programmes of the PWDs and Senior Citizens separately with the motto to serve and provide services to them only. Non-Governmental Organizations are also the part of the developing system which play an important role.
I. Persons with the Disability (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995:- A boon to persons with disabilities
Appropriate education, training and opportunities shall be give to the persons with disabilities as they can also contribute to the Economic Development of the country. In this context the Government of India have passed a comprehensive legislation called Persons with the Disability (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995. Which came into force from 7.2.1996. The State Government has constituted the State Co-ordination Committee as per the Section 13 of the Act. Appointed State Commissioner for persons with disabilities as per Section 60 of the Act. And constituted the State Executive Committee as per the Sec. 19 of the Act. Action has been taken to implement Act to bring the persons with disabilities to the main stream of the Society.
II. Who are persons with disabilities ?
The definition of the term disability as per the provisions of the Persons with Disability Act 1995 disability means:-
1. Blindness2. Low vision3. Leprosy cured4. Hearing impairment5. Locomotor disability6. Mental retardation7. Mental illness
III. Authority competent to issue medical disability certificates:
The medical boards have been constituted at the State level, District level and Taluk level to assess the percentage of disability / the level of disability/ and then to issue disability certificates whose disability is more than 40% and above. The composition of the Medical Board is as follows:-