Friday, February 4, 2011

Disability organizations in India say census takers not properly trained for data collection among disabled people

From The Times of India:

JALANDHAR, India -- The National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) and Punjab Disability Group (PDG) have expressed apprehensions regarding incorrect data collection about disabled persons during the ongoing census, attributing it to lack of proper training sensitization among officials involved in enumeration.

PDG, which also works under the aegis of Disability Rights Group (DRG), apart from NCPEDP, said that enumeration officials/employees were to be provided training and a slot of one hour in their training schedule was to be dedicated to enumerating disability. But except for Chandigarh and Jalandhar, this training was not given anywhere else.

NCPEDP representative in Punjab, Amarjit Singh Anand, who was also appointed by the chief census commissioner to provide training about disability to officials involved in enumeration, revealed that even the office of Chief Census Commissioner of India had communicated to the state authorities to provide the training through NCPEDP. "But the state authorities failed to comply with the directive. Recently, I provided training in Chandigarh and Jalandhar district after personally approaching the officials at two places. But enumerators in rest of the state have been left without training.''

Flanked by several disabled persons, Anand said that due to lack of sensitization, enumerators may leave out asking pertinent questions regarding the disability. "At the level of people also, there was lack of awareness and it was still being considered a stigma," he said.

He held that collection of correct data was crucial for future schemes for the disabled. Suggesting a way-out, Anand said while very less time was left in the beginning of the second round and since there was no scope for training, the state government should unleash a publicity campaign in this regard. Moreover, it can send some material at the district level for sensitizing the enumerators.

He recalled that though census in the country started in 1872, there was no enumeration of disability. For the first time, a column was inserted in 2001 after consistent campaign by NCPEDP and DRG.

Anand had earlier provided training to master trainer facilitators of Punjab, Haryana and NCR Delhi, organized by Chief Census Commissioner of India.