As the country gears up for the general elections in the next two months, people with various disabilities, who constitute seven per cent of the country’s population, have come out with charter of ten demands.

The manifesto emphasises the critical need for political parties to prioritise mainstreaming of people with disabilities in their five-year action plans for the upcoming elections. 

Releasing the Manifesto For and By Citizens with Disabilities, they said that five per cent of budgetary allocations are earmarked for people with disabilities. They wanted a ‘National Mission on Climate Change for Vulnerable Communities, including people with disabilities to be introduced.

The manifest wanted the political parties to implement a ₹5,000 One-Nation-One-Pension scheme for all persons with disabilities.

“We also expect the new government to announce an affordable and accessible health insurance cover for the disabled,” the manifesto released by the National Disability Network (NDN) and National Committee on Rights of Persons with Disabilities (NCRPD) said.

“About one crore voters in the country have disabilities. It is time their voices are heard and demands met,” Arman Ali, Executive Director of NCPEDP, has said.

“We prepared the manifesto after a series of discussions with a host of stakeholders across the country, capturing their concerns and demands. We received inputs from over 10,000 people with and without disabilities and prepared a list of ten demands,” he said.

He wanted the political parties to ensure accessibility by making all public and private spaces, products, and services accessible for the disabled by 2026.

“The new Government must introduce a set of guidelines, making it mandatory for businesses and organisations to comply with the accessibility norms.

The manifesto also wanted the new Government to amend Article 15 to include the word disability and provide 5 per cent reservation in governance, and ensure a certain number of people with disabilities nominated to the Rajya Sabha by the President of India.  

Gender Equality

The manifesto called for the establishment of a sub-scheme for digital literacy and smartphone access for girls and women with disabilities. “The government must implement a data-driven strategy to increase enrolment and completion of mainstream education for disabled children by 2029,” Ali said.

“It’s high time we move beyond disability-specific concerns. Employment, accessibility, and education are non-negotiable, but we must also engage with mainstream issues. Only by becoming a unified voice can we hope to be truly heard,” he asserted.