The Causes Of Disability

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Disability, in simple terms, can be defined as some form of inability in an individual to carry out the normal activities in his day-to-day life as carried out by normal human beings.

Disability is popularly defined in medical connotations to mean restriction or lack of ability (resulting from an impairment) to perform an activity in the manner or within the range considered normal for a human being. It can include a physical, biological or intellectual impairment.

The largest population of disabled in the world resides in India. About 600 million in the world fall in this category with two-thirds of them in developing countries.

The disabled have always been subjects of discrimination in the society and looked at as objects of pity and
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It can be acquired through diseases, can be hereditary or result of birth defects.

Other causes include wars or other armed conflicts, unhygienic conditions of living, poverty, geographical isolation, natural disasters, malnutrition etc. Thus, causes of disability go beyond mere medical conditions. For example, on account of malnutrition, incidence of anemia among expectant and nursing mothers between the age group of 15-19 is highest in India in the SAARC region. Also micro-nutrient deficiencies can lead to diseases like blindness, beri-beri, scurvy etc.

In India, 90 per cent of the workforce is engaged in the unorganized work sector and works in areas prone to high range of accidents without adequate safeguards and which lead to deterioration of their health. Examples include: leather industries, stone quarrying, diamond-cutting, hand embroidery, etc.

Even violent crimes, for instance, the Bhagalpur blinding case wherein a number of suspects were blinded with acid in their eyes by officers can lead to disability of a permanent nature.

The Legal Framework in India

India witnessed a sort of disability movement in the 1970s wherein a rights-based approach legislation to exclusively address the issues of the disabled was
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To some extent, it has been successful in securing a shift from disability being considered as an individual issue to that which concerns the entire society. However, the impact has been limited a few pockets of urban India only. Even today, family is considered to be primarily responsible in looking after people with disability and the role of the State is substantially minimal and has been limited to providing rights in the form of legislation. Over the decades, it can be seen that in the First Five Year Plans, the role of the Government in the disability sector was confined to financial help to charitable institutions to deliver basic services. On doing so, the Government denied its role as a custodian of the rights of its

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