Mainstreaming disability in development: India country report DFID

Mainstreaming disability in development: India country report
DFID June 2005

“The situation of disabled people provides a microcosm of the whole development debate and process.”
(Coleridge 1993, p 4)
This report has been produced by the Disability Policy Officer for the Policy Project of the Disability Knowledge and Research (KaR) programme, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). It is last of three studies on disability mainstreaming in countries in which DFID works. The other two studies focus on Cambodia and Rwanda.
These studies have aimed to:
• Explore how disability relates to DFID’s work on reducing poverty and social exclusion and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)
• Map disability-focused activities in each country
• Identify examples of best practice
• Explore the opportunities and constraints for raising the profile of disability within each DFID programme
• Identify potential partners for DFID to take forward work on disability.

India has proved an excellent final case study for this research examining disability mainstreaming because it demonstrates that there are no easy answers or quick fixes when it comes to the inclusion of disabled people.
In theory, all the key components are in place for success in India. At the state level, there is comprehensive disability legislation defining rights and entitlements and mechanisms for establishing standards and for monitoring and redress. In terms of specialist services for disabled people, there is a national plan for rehabilitation and significant state engagement in its implementation. In addition, there are numerous civil society service providers, many of whom provide extremely high quality services, and some who are at the cutting edge of their fields, whose work impacts on the regional and global level, such as Mobility India and Action for Autism.
India also has numerous disabled people’s organisations (DPOs), many of which have a long history and are led by highly educated and motivated disability activists. Finally, resources – both financial and human – are broadly adequate, and are certainly not a significant barrier.
However, despite all these positives, in reality, the situation for the average disabled Indian is bleak. The major obstacles appear to be more attitudinal rather than structural.