Indian government withholds socio-economic data in disability ID registration

The Indian Union government has decided not to release socio-economic data collected during registering persons with disabilities for Unique Disability ID (UDID) cards over the past six years.

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Despite efforts to avail the differently abled community of government and private sector benefits and schemes, India has not released socio-economic data alongside data collected for its Unique Disability ID (UDID) project. The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment collected data over the last six years from the differently-abled community to better inform the group’s policies. Survey results were, however, released in aggregated form, with the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) claiming data quality as the reason.

Questions on the questionnaire asked for basic demographics like age, gender and disability type; however, many of the benefits accessible with the card are in capacity development and digital literacy. Questions on end point(device) or internet usage were not featured in the questionnaire. 

Earlier in the year, activists, experts and the opposition questioned the government’s motive for dropping disability related questions from the survey of the sixth round of the National Family Health Survey.

Why does it matter?

Providing the public with the data of the differently-abled community, disaggregated for key socio-economic factors, is essential. It not only holds the government accountable and renders its efforts for the group transparent but can also empower persons within these groups and their friends and families in cases of achievements.