Livelihood Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities
The 11th Five Year Plan (FYP) places strong emphasis on inclusive and rapid poverty reduction and among the key strategies proposed by it, is the accelerated support to decentralized and outcome based planning. It expects to improve the effectiveness of development rogrammes and to facilitate inclusive growth, the latter by ensuring equitable participation and benefit sharing by disadvantaged social groups.
In 2008, UNDP, India in partnership with the Planning Commission launched the Livelihood Promotion Strategies Project in the country focused on seven states. The project recognizes that the seven UN focus States (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) have relatively higher concentration of poor and disadvantaged groups than other States. These disadvantaged women and men have limited livelihood options and are highly dependent on agriculture and the informal economy.
All women and men with disabilities can and want to be productive members of society. In both developed and developing countries, promoting more inclusive societies and employment opportunities for people with disabilities requires improved access to basic education, vocational training relevant to labour market needs and jobs suited to their skills, interests and abilities, with adaptations as needed. Many societies are also recognizing the need to dismantle other barriers, making the physical environment more accessible, and providing information in a variety of formats, and challenging attitudes and mistaken assumptions about Persons with Disabilities (PwDs). It is in this context that the UNDP, New Delhi and the Indian Planning Commission, carried out a review and research study in 2010, which documented the status and consolidated the existing experiences and innovations of various government and non-government initiatives that are taking forward programmes and processes of creating livelihood opportunities for PwDs. The knowledge and practical understanding gained from this review exercise has given valuable insights into the possible ways and means of livelihood improvement for PwDs, which are being formulated into a set of recommendations to be shared with the relevant policy makers and agencies both at the national and state government level in their progress towards social inclusion and poverty reduction. The report will also feed into the XIIth FYP on measures for inclusion and livelihood improvement of Persons with Disabilities.