Home BusinessEconomic News Government shelves socio-economic data of Persons with Disabilities as disability database goes online

Government shelves socio-economic data of Persons with Disabilities as disability database goes online

by Stella Morgan

The Indian government is reportedly shelving the socio-economic data it collected while registering nearly 94 lakh Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) for Unique Disability ID (UDID) cards over the past six years. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment claims that the data, which included information on caste, education, employment, income, and marital status, lacked quality. As a result, these fields were made optional, leading to many individuals skipping them.

Rajesh Aggarwal, Secretary of the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), stated that the focus of the form was always on collecting disability data, and including additional socio-economic information would make the form too lengthy and difficult to verify. As a result, the socio-economic data collected will not be released.

However, the government did release aggregated data from the UDID registrations, excluding the socio-economic data. The aim of the project was to create a national database for PwDs, including their socio-economic details, to inform policy-making and targeted interventions. The data includes district-wise, gender-wise, age-wise, and disability type-wise information.

Despite this, concerns have been raised regarding the efficacy of the UDID system. A Parliamentary panel expressed doubt about the department’s ability to collect accurate population data through the UDID mechanism in a timely manner. Additionally, experts, activists, and opposition leaders have criticized the government for dropping disability-related questions from other surveys.

The UDID system was also intended to influence e-commerce organizations to design more accessible platforms for PwDs, allocate resources efficiently to address their specific needs, and introduce special educators and requirements in the education sector. However, the exclusion of socio-economic data raises questions about the attainment of these objectives.

It is worth noting that nowhere in the UDID form is there any section seeking information on existing computer, mobile, and internet usage among PwDs, despite the aim of connecting them to digital India.

The decision to shelve the socio-economic data collected for UDID registrations raises concerns about the government’s commitment to addressing the diverse needs of PwDs. Accurate and comprehensive socio-economic data is crucial for designing effective policies and allocating resources appropriately. Without this information, it becomes challenging to create targeted interventions that address the specific challenges faced by PwDs from different communities.

Moving forward, it is essential for the government to prioritize collecting and utilizing socio-economic data to ensure inclusive and effective policies and interventions for PwDs. It is crucial to promote transparency and accountability in data collection processes and ensure that the data is accurate, reliable, and representative of the diverse disability community.

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