Himachal Pradesh State Policy


Disability summarizes a great number of different functional limitations occurring in any population due to impairments. People of all ages and ethnicities have impairments - intellectual, psychiatric, physical, neurological, or sensory which may be temporary, intermittent or ongoing. One common experience faced by person with disabilities is that of various forms of discrimination and social exclusion. They continue to face physical and attitudinal barriers to their full participation in society and equal and effective enjoyment of all human rights. The framers of the Indian Constitution were well aware of the fact that in the process of providing true equality some benefits would have to be given to certain sections of the society. Articles 14, 15 and 16 of the Constitution of India clearly recognize this concept. Under the Directive Principles of State Policy, Article41 of the Constitution of India states that the State shall, within the limits of its economic capacity and development, make effective provisions for securing unemployment, old age, sickness and disablement, and in other cases if undeserved want. Concomitant to these provisions “THE PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995” was brought into force from the 1st of January, 1996. This legal provision was also necessary to give effect to the “Proclamation on the Full Participation and Equality of the People with Disabilities in the Asian and Pacific Region” of which India is a signatory and UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCPRD) which was ratified by India on 1st October 2007.


As per Census of 2001, there are 1,55,950 persons with disabilities (PWDs) in Himachal Pradesh, which constitute approximately 2% of the total population. The data includes all categories of persons with impairment irrespective of degree of impairment. Out of these, 1,44,756 live in rural areas while 11,194 are residents of towns/cities. The data also reveals that 81, 240 PWDs are literate while the rest of 74,710 are illiterate. Maximum numbers of PWDs i.e. 64,122 are challenged with visual impairment followed by 15,239 PWDs with Hearing and 12, 762 with speech impairment respectively. Since the census data consists of all persons having disability to any extent irrespective of the definition of disability as laid down in the Persons with Disability Act, the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment (SJE) has taken an initiative in 2007-08 to identify the persons with disabilities in the state through the network of ICDS which has a wide reach right down to every household of the state, to provide remedial and rehabilitation services to them. As a result of this survey total 66,932 Persons with Disabilities have been identified out of which 10,611 are Visually impaired, 11,924 Hearing Impaired, 36,249 Orthopedically impaired and 8,148 Intellectually Challenged persons. The disability wise and age wise status of the PWDs identified is at Annexure 4


For the protection of the rights of Persons with Disabilities and to ensure their equal participation in the development of the state, the Government of H.P. is implementing the following legislations:

3.1 Persons with Disability (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995

It provides for medical facilities, education, employment, creation of barrier free environment, social security etc. The State Government is instrumental in implementing the various provisions of the Act. The Department of Social Justice and Empowerment (SJE) is the nodal Department for coordinating and facilitating the implementation of the Act. To give impetus to the implementation of the Act, a State Level Coordination Committee under the Chairpersonship of the Hon’ble Minister (Social Justice and Empowerment) has been constituted. This committee is being supported by the State Executive Committee to review and formulate the strategy for implementation of different provisions of the Act in coordination with different departments.

3.2 National Trust for welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disability Act, 1999

has provisions for providing legal guardianship to persons suffering from Cerebral Palsy, Autism, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disability and for creation of an enabling environment to make them more independent. The National Trust Act, 1999 is being implemented in the State and Local Level Committees have been constituted in all 12 districts and legal guardians for the persons with these disabilities are being appointed. To further strengthen the grievances redress mechanism for PWDs, Principal Secretary (SJE) has been appointed as Commissioner (Disability) and Director (SJE) as Joint Commissioner (Disability). Also, at the District level the Deputy Commissioners have been appointed as Deputy Commissioner (Disability) and all District Welfare Officers have been appointed as District Officers (Disability).


The achievement of full participation and equality of persons with disabilities requires active collaboration of the community and NGOs with the State Government. In order to be able to achieve this, there is a need to develop a State Policy on Disability. Through this, an attempt is being made to identify, formulate and envisage schemes and programmes while targeting the ultimate goal of independence, equal treatment, and full participation for all the persons with disabilities. The need for an appropriate State Policy also emerges from the recognition that a majority of Persons with Disabilities can lead a better quality of life if, provided equal opportunities and effective access to rehabilitation measures. As a result of substantial transformation in the social economic and 5 institutional setup in the State over the years, policies and programmes of the State Government need to be periodically reviewed from the perspective of disability and made more responsive and enabling for the need of persons with disabilities especially in view of technical advancements. Under Section 18 of the PWD Act, one of the functions of the State Coordination Committee is also to develop a State Policy to address issues faced by persons with disabilities. The persons with disabilities have the right to fully participate in all aspects of society, on the same basis as non-disabled people can do. However, full participation by persons with disabilities is limited by three inter-related barriers:

  • Lack of equitable access to opportunities, information, buildings, transport, services, etc.
  • Discrimination and/or attitudinal prejudices and ignorance resulting in negative discrimination
  • Economic and social status – a vicious cycle of lower economic, educational and health status relative to the rest of the population. To remove these barriers to participation or independence, there is a need to identify them at the policy level and remove them. Also, there is a need to identify existing barriers when defining the problem, and making sure that no new barriers are created while developing proposed solutions. This State Policy for the persons with disabilities has been evolved through a series of discussions held with various stakeholders including Government departments, NGOs working in the sector of disability, persons with disabilities working for the disabled, associations/ organisations of PWDs, able bodied persons responsible for the training and education of persons with disabilities, feed back received from such stakeholders from different districts of the State; study of similar policy papers of other states and the National Policy.


The State Policy aspires to see Himachal Pradesh as an inclusive and enabling society that values highly the lives of persons with disabilities and continually strives to enhance their access to opportunities and their participation at all levels in the society.

6. The State Policy is based on the vision of having an inclusive and non disabling society where every person with disability is mainstreamed into society. It provides a framework for the Government to create an enabling environment to achieve this. It seeks to remove barriers that prevent persons with disabilities from participating fully in society. This policy statement attempts to cover the range of barriers experienced by the persons with disabilities - public attitudes, human rights, employment and educational opportunities and provides a framework for developing strategies and action plan for removing those barriers enabling their participation in the society. For the purpose of achieving the vision of mainstreaming the Persons with Disabilities the following components are envisaged in the Policy:-

  • Prevention of Disabilities
  • Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities
  • Enabling Environment for the Persons with Disabilities

The solemn efforts of the state for mainstreaming of PWDs envisages:-
Mainstreaming of PWDs

5.1. Prevention of Disabilities:

A large number of cases of disability are preventable if, proper care is taken well in time. In order to build up an environment and develop systems for prevention, early detection and timely intervention, the State will endeavor

  • To ensure that departments have the necessary knowledge, skills and systems to address disability issues;
  • To coordinate efforts of all sectors of society to participate in disability prevention activities;
  • To enable pre-natal, anti-natal and peri-natal check up of all pregnant women/children in order to promote early intervention and identification of disability, especially during pregnancy and in children.
  • To enable specific check up and pre natal tests along with genetic counseling where there is family history of specific diseases/disabilities;
  • To provide facilities for early diagnosis of problems like schizophrenia, depression etc;
  • To make provisions for counseling for the family crisis management;
  • To ensure completion of immunization cycles for children, pregnant mothers for prevention of disabilities;
  • To ensure nutrition and health education for pregnant women
  • To disseminate information related to hygiene, health and sanitation
  • To implement appropriate family counseling programmes, including premarital confidential testing for diseases such as anaemia, thalassaemia and muscular dystrophy along with prevention counseling for intra-family marriages;
  • To launch public awareness programmes through dissemination of Information, through Education and through various means of Communication including mass media.
  • To include appropriate curriculum on disability prevention and sensitization in Elementary and Secondary school syllabus;
  • To reduce occupational and environmental hazards through adoption of appropriate technologies;
  • To promote healthy lifestyle in the home, at school and in the workplace;

5.2 Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities

Persons with disabilities have rights, which aim to ensure their equal and effective participation in the Society without any discrimination. To promote participation of PWDs proper medical care, rehabilitation and support services are required to be made available to them. Rehabilitation in the form of Physical rehabilitation, Educational rehabilitation and Economic rehabilitation will be ensured by adopting appropriate measures and also through expansion of the existing rehabilitation measures.

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