People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 29

July 17, 2011

Disabled Agitate for Automatic Inclusion Category


HUNDREDS of disabled persons organised demonstrations, dharnas and processions in various parts of the country on July 13 at the call of the National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD), demanding automatic inclusion of all households with one or more persons with disability as BPL household.


The NPRD has been demanding implementation of the Supreme Court order of May 2, 2003 according to which the disabled have to be listed in the automatic inclusion category for Antodaya benefits. In the 2011 BPL census, only primitive tribal groups, those living on alms, the homeless, manual scavengers and released bonded labourers qualify for automatic inclusion.


The questionnaire for the BPL census currently underway is framed in such a manner as to ensure that families with disabled members do not get a score. Moreover, under the current parameter, people with disabilities are not considered individual units. They are grouped into households with their caregivers. It says: “Households with at least one disabled member and no able-bodied adult.” Therefore, if a disabled person lives with an able-bodied caregiver, such a disabled person will not be given BPL status. This will exclude a majority of the disabled from the BPL category, which is a violation of the orders of the Supreme Court.


Hundreds of disabled people participated in protest demonstrations in several district centres and various state capitals in many parts of the country. Programmes were held in Tamilnadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Tripura, Gujarat, etc. In some states like West Bengal memorandums were handed over to the disability commissioners. In many other states protest programmes are slated to be held later this month. Apart from the affiliates of the NPRD, various local level disabled people’s organisations participated in these programmes. Memorandums have also been sent to the minister for rural development, Shri Vilasrao Deshmukh, demanding the automatic inclusion of the disabled in the BPL category.


The systemic exclusion of people with disabilities from the BPL category is unjust and unfair. It cannot be tolerated anymore. The NPRD demands that disabled should have equal access to benefits provided under the BPL category.