Sarthak, an NGO working to empower persons with disabilities, said accurate statistics would help ensure the overall well-being of the disabled population, and help monitor trends in the prevalence of disabilities

Socio-demographic data and functional status data of persons with disabilities (PwDs) is the need of hour, a disability rights organisation has said.

Sarthak, an NGO working to empower persons with disabilities through various activities, has called for accurate national disability statistics to help identify the needs and the amount of institutional support required by PwDs. Most PwDs do not have access to quality healthcare, transport facilities, education and training and employment, the organisation has said.

Accurate national disability statistics are important in ensuring the overall well-being of the disabled population and in monitoring trends in the prevalence of disabilities, the organisation’s founder Jitender Aggarwal, has said.

Sarthak has suggested to the Census Department, the inclusion of all 21 disabilities as per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 in its surveys; a nationwide awareness campaign to stress the importance of identifying PwDs; social campaigns to de-stigmatise PwDs; the use of digital mediums and technology to carry out the surveys and collaboration with various stakeholders during the data collection process.

Sarthak has sought adequate training and sensitisation of census enumerators to carry out disability related surveys. The Social Welfare departments in every State should provide the existing data of PwDs to data collection teams in advance for better correlation data entries, it said.

The 2011 survey found that over 26.8 million people or 2.21% of the total population had some form of disability. Disability rights activists say PwDs are under-counted. The correct statistics would help frame policies and understand ground-level realities, the organisation has said.

“Accurate national disability statistics are essential for securing the rights of persons with disabilities” said Mr. Aggarwal “This will not only help in spreading awareness but also form a strong ecosystem for the disabled community,” he explained.

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