My daughter Aarti Kumari suffers from complete blindness in one eye, partial blindness in the other. She is studying in the 9th grade in a Delhi government school. We were informed by the school teacher that we can get a disability certificate. Thus, we went to a hospital run by the Delhi government. But there, they refused to issue the certificate on the grounds that we (my husband and I) do not have a Delhi address in our Aadhaar cards.
I told them that my daughter is domiciled in Delhi. But they said they require the Aadhaar address of the parents to be a Delhi one. Else, they require any relatives’ address who resides in Delhi, they stated. As we were unable to produce the same, they did not let us submit the form to apply for the certificate.
We sought help from Aarti’s school teacher. He sent us to Delhi High Court to take legal action. After the complaint was made against the hospital, they agreed to take the form. But they have told us to wait for another month.
We are originally from Bihar, staying in Rampura here. My husband is handicapped in one leg. We have four daughters and two sons. Thus, it is financially challenging to manage the household. Even I am not able to work, as I have to take care of my children and do the household chores all by myself. Thus, Aarti’s school teacher suggested that we should get her a disability certificate, as that might help her pursue higher education.Anita is a housewife
— As told to Shruti Das by Anita
No ‘benefits’ for a blind man
When I was 5 years old, I was involved in an accident in which one of my eyes was completely damaged. Since then, I have been suffering complete blindness in one eye. I was told by a friend that if I can get a disability certificate, I can avail various benefits from the government.
But after the medical examination, they mentioned 30% disability in my certificate – which is of no use as there should be a minimum of 40% to avail those facilities. One of my friends, who is a lawyer, agreed with me that the percentage might not be correct. And even I feel so. Even if we fall short of the criteria, I believe we should have been given some benefits and not left out just because the percentage is not up to the mark.Sekh, 40, works as a shopkeeper in Delhi
— As told to Shruti Das by Anshrul Sekh
Discrepancies in Disability Certificates
There are always some discrepancies in the disability certificates when issued at different centres. The central government had notified the various measures by which disability is to be ascertained. For academic purposes, they notify centres across India as well where it could be done. But in a large number of cases, we have noticed that there is a huge discrepancy.
For example, one of my friends is suffering from hearing disability. One centre notified his disability as 100%, whereas another gave him 70%. Also, for admissions in medical colleges, there are certain seats which are filled by Central Universities (15%) and rest by State Universities (85%). Both have separate measuring systems. So, when one person is obtaining a certificate from one of these, then it does not match with the other. At the time of admission, they simply go by whatever is mentioned in the disability certificate.
Moreover, after the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Bill 2016, there is a growing awareness regarding this. This Act specifies the reservations in educational institutes as well as government jobs. But, as far as the infrastructure is concerned, the team of equipped people is yet to reach various cities.
This year there were a large number of problems in ascertaining disability with respect to Specialised Learning Disability (SLDs) like dyslexia. Especially in the western part of the country, they could not get proper certificates. As a result of this, many could not get admissions to medical
Above 40% on the certificate is regarded as benchmark disability. And that person is entitled for various reservations in admissions as well as jobs. That is why the percentage mentioned in the certificate has become more important. When the disability is not a benchmark disability, then one cannot avail the benefits. Gupta is a Delhi-based lawyer
— As told to Shruti Das by Jeetender Gupta
Following are some of the general facilities that a disability certificate holder can avail:
- Assistance for prosthetic aids and appliances to disabled
- Free travel in state transport buses, issue of free bus pass
- Loans for self-employment
- Assistance for higher education
- Grant of incentive for marriage to a normal persons
- Grant of fuel subsidy to those who own a motorised vehicle
- Unemployment allowance to educated disabled persons
- Financial assistance to totally disabled persons