Draft policy calls for linking national database of PwD with services, schemes

Portal will allow stakeholders to monitor progress of applications for various schemes

A national database of persons with disabilities (PwD) linking their Unique Disability Identity (UDID) numbers with welfare schemes and education and health services was among the proposals of the draft National Policy for PwD, 2021, which, officials said, was likely to be published next month.

The draft would be put in the public domain for comments after approval from Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Virendra Kumar in a few weeks, an official of the Department of Empowerment of PwD (DEPwD) said on Wednesday. The last time such a policy was published was in 2006.

The UDID project and a national database had been proposed in 2014 and implemented from 2016 in stages. As on Wednesday, 62.33 lakh UDID cards had been generated through the portal. However, no other services are offered through it.

Online certification

While online certification through the UDID portal was made mandatory on June 1, the policy suggests taking it forward by integrating services and schemes with the IDs. The official said the portal would allow the PwD and stakeholders to monitor the progress of applications for various schemes, including distribution of assistive devices.

“The database should be linked with all service delivery mechanisms through appropriate Application Programming Interface (API) integration in the near future. The user establishments of UDID database need to ensure privacy of PwDs while disseminating information. Only the last four digits of the UDID card should be displayed as is being done in the case of Aadhaar,” the draft said.

It said all educational institutions should keep a record of UDID number of disabled students and all government-run healthcare and rehabilitation centres should also do so. “This will be helpful in monitoring the progress of individual PwDs,” it said.

Disability disaggregated data

“The Socio Economic Caste Census database, which is used for implementation of poverty alleviation and development programmes, should have disability disaggregated information and must capture UDID number…All schemes and programmes meant for individual citizens should capture disability disaggregated data,” the draft policy said.

The policy also called for formulating an action plan for protecting the human rights of PwD, a comprehensive national programme of disability prevention, cross-disability early intervention centres in every district, universal coverage of PwD under Ayushman Bharat and a national employment portal for PwD.

Regarding the experience of PwD during the pandemic and the lockdowns, the policy said through the responses of the Centre and the State Governments, there were many lessons learnt. In disaster management planning, there should be priority to PwD for evacuation and relief, it said.

The draft said the National Crime Record Bureau needed “to maintain disability segregated data regarding crime against PwDs” and it should start with the annual data of 2021.

Call for increased funding

The policy called for increased funding and public-private partnership in the disability sector.

“While it is said that in respect of education, the public investment should reach 6% of the GDP, there is no such target with regard to the disability sector. Reports indicate that budget allocation was only around 0.0039% of the GDP for the persons with disabilities. As per Census 2011, the population of persons with disabilities was 2.68 crore which amounted to 2.21% of the population…the number of persons with disabilities is expected to be much higher in the coming Census, 2021. More resources are needed for marginalised sections of Divyang population located in urban slums, rural, hilly and tribal areas.”

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