Social Security for Disabled People in India

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The oldest institution of social security is the family, including joint family. But modernisation resulted in socio-economic changes leading to the erosion of the joint family, thereby disturbing this institution of social security. Then the State stepped in to protect its citizens, and laws were enacted to provide minimal food and shelter to the poor. Safety Nets/Social Security programmes protect people against adverse outcomes such as chronic poverty. The purpose of all social security measures is to: give individuals and families the confidence that their standard of living will not decline by any eventuality; provide medical care and income security; protect against unemployment by maintenance; promote job creation; and provide benefits for the maintenance of children. But most of these programmes – be it in design, implementation or evaluation – have paid little attention to disabled people.

The social security strategies in India include social insurance, social assistance, national provident funds, and universal schemes for social security. Preventive schemes include preventive health care, vaccinations against diseases, etc. There are promotional social security schemes of the State and Central Governments such as food and nutritional security, education security, employment security, health security, women security, and assistance to the disabled. These are provided through programmes such as Food for Work, Jawahar Rozgar Yojana, Integrated Rural Development Project, Sakshara, Public Distribution System, etc.

The protective social security programmes to help reduce poverty in India have been as per contingencies defined by the International Labour Organisation (I.L.O.) which include old age pension, provident funds, medical insurance, widow/children/orphan and dependent pension, maternity benefits, compensation for loss of employment and work injury benefits. The benefits are extended only to the working population, a majority of whom are in the organised sector, through legislations like Employees State Insurance Act 1948, Workmen’s Compensation Act 1923, Employees Provident Fund & Miscellaneous Provisions Act 1952, Payment of Gratuity Act 1972, and Maternity Benefits Act 1976.

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