About 73 per cent of persons with disabilities (PwD) interviewed were found to be facing severe challenges like lack of access to ration and healthcare in view of the coronavirus-induced lockdown, according to a survey.
The survey of 1,067 PwDs was conducted by Delhi-based NGO National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP). Based on the findings of the survey, a report -- "Locked Down and Left Behind - A Report on the Status of Persons with Disabilities in India during the COVID-19 Crisis" -- was drafted.
The data from the NCPEDP'S survey showed that of all PwDs interviewed, 73 per cent faced particular challenges on account of the lockdown.
"Out of those facing particular challenges, 57 per cent said they were facing a financial crisis, 13 per cent spoke of challenges in accessing rations, while 9 per cent were facing obstacles in access to healthcare and medical aid," the report said.
It stated that these and other similar issues could have been taken care of if the 'Comprehensive Disability Inclusive Guidelines' issued by the Centre's Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) had been uniformly enforced across India.
The DEPwD guidelines provide for such critical requirements as ensuring that "persons with disabilities are given access to essential food, water, medicine, and, to the extent possible, such items should be delivered at their residence or place where they have been quarantined".
They also state that caregivers should be allowed to reach PwDs by exempting them from restrictions during lockdown or providing passes in a simplified manner on priority.
The report recommended that continuation of support services for PwDs with minimum human contact should also be ensured.
The NCPEDP report lauded some states like Kerala, Nagaland, Assam and Tamil Nadu for doing a good job of caring for PwDs.
"Kerala has ensured that local self-governments are involved in taking special care of persons with disabilities. It has established common kitchens where cooked food is served, while dry rations are provided to those who cannot reach these common kitchens.
"It has not only released pension dues, but has also made advance payments to help disabled people cope with this challenge. Kerala has also ensured that students with disabilities receive Rs 5,000 ex gratia payment," the report said.
It said Tamil Nadu has also launched a helpline for PwDs, catering to people from state to district level.
"Indian sign language interpreters are also available to cater to deaf and hard of hearing persons (in Tamil Nadu). Doorstep medical service such as fixing/changing catheters has been enabled by the Tamil Nadu State Disability Commissioner. Doorstep personal physical therapy has also been enabled," it added.
Nagaland has been bringing out a daily video briefing on COVID-19 situation in the state which includes Indian sign language interpretation.
"A helpline for people with disabilities was set up on the initiative of the Disability Commissioner. A separate number for WhatsApp video calls was also set up for persons who are deaf/hard of hearing," the report said.
In Assam, under the directive of the state disability commissioner, the State Disaster Management Authority has created videos with information on COVID-19 with Indian sign language interpretation and subtitles, it said.
The nationwide lockdown, which began on March 25, is aimed at containing the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by coronavirus.
So far, the contagion has claimed 3,435 lives and infected 1,12,359 people across the country.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)