People With Disabilities in India

An overview of the facilities, organisations and support available for people with mobility, sight or hearing impairments or other disabilities in India…

Under India's Disability Act (1995), a person with a disability is anyone who suffers at least 40 percent impairment from a medical issue such as blindness, low vision, leprosy, hearing problems, locomotor disability, mental retardation or mental illness.

Benefits for Disabled People

To qualify for benefits, a Disability Certificate is required. Any person who qualifies and is resident in India can apply for one. They are granted by a doctor affiliated to a government “notified” hospital after an examination. The certificate is issued by the Commissioner for Disabilities.

Some of the benefits disabled people can claim include:

  • Financial assistance for people over 60
  • Financial assistance for low-income families
  • Family benefits for families in which the main breadwinner is deceased
  • Financial assistance for leprosy patients
  • Financial assistance for people living in Delhi

For more information on these schemes, see the Social Welfare Department website: Click here

Children with Disabilities

Children with disabilities have the right to free education up to the age of 18. They also qualify for transport benefits, scholarships and free uniforms, books and teaching materials.

  • For more information on education options and rights for children with disablities: Click here

Travel and Transport

Disabled people are entitled to concessions for train travel for themselves and one accompanying person by presenting their Disability Certificate. There are separate reservation counters for disabled people at railway stations. Wheelchairs are also available. There are special carriages on most trains for disabled people.

Public transportation for people in wheelchairs can be a challenge. New metro systems in cities such as New Delhi and Bangalore have lifts and ramps, but buses are not adapted for wheelchair users. Parking spaces reserved for disabled people are rare.

Organisations Providing Help and Advice for Disabled People

  • The Office of the Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities is the government agency responsible for implementing the Persons with Disabilities Act. For more information: Click here
  • The Association of People with Disabilities is a national organisation that aims to empower disabled people. For more information: Click here
  • The Ability Foundation is an umbrella organisation working in advocacy with NGOs from across the country. For more information: Click here
  • Akshaya is an organisation that works for the empowerment and rehabilitation of disabled people. For more information: Click here
  • Aarth Astha is a cross-disability organisation working with children and people with disabilities. For more information: Click here
  • For a list of other organisations working with disabled people: Click here