Number of disabled rises 18 pc in 10 years

70 per cent of them live in rural areas

The number of people with disabilities in India has touched 2.68 crore — an increase of 49.09 lakh, or 18 per cent, in 10 years — with 70 per cent of them living in rural areas.

According to Census 2011 figures published on Tuesday, these people live in 2.07 crore households, which is 8.3 per cent of total households in the country.

People facing challenges in movement top the list with 54.36 lakh, followed by the hearing impaired (50.72 lakh) and the visually impaired (50.33 lakh).

Among the 2.68 crore disabled people, which includes 1.18 crore lakh women, Uttar Pradesh houses the most number of disabled (41.57 lakh), followed by Maharashtra (29.63 lakh) and Bihar (23.31 lakh).

Karnataka, with 13.24 lakh disabled, is eighth on the list, while national capital Delhi has 2.34 lakh people with disabilities.

The fresh census figures come at a time when the Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2014, which mandates reservation in education and employment, preference in government schemes and access to all public buildings, among others, is pending in Parliament despite demands for its early passage.

Though 70 per cent of the disabled live in rural areas, figures for 2011 showed the number of households with disabled people in urban areas were increasing faster than in rural areas.

In 2011, there was an addition of 6.2 lakh households in rural areas, while it was 14.3 lakh for urban areas.

At present, 1.46 crore rural households shelter 1.86 crore disabled— 82.25 lakh of them women. The number of disabled women in rural households is about 70 per cent of the disabled women in the country.

Among disabilities in women, the visually challenged topped the list with 23.944 lakh, closely followed by those with hearing problems (23.943 lakh).

Uttar Pradesh has the highest number of disabled women (17.93 lakh), followed by Maharashtra (12.71 lakh), Andhra Pradesh (10.42 lakh), Bihar (9.87 lakh) and West Bengal (8.90 lakh).

Five states — UP, Maharashtra, Andhra, Bihar and Bengal — alone account for more than 50 per cent of disabled women in the country.

Multiple disabilities

While challenges in movement, hearing and seeing topped the list of disabilities, people with multiple disorders ranked fourth with 21.16 lakh, including 9.53 lakh women. There were 15.05 lakh mentally challenged and 7.22 lakh mentally ill people in the country.

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