Trends, prospects and deprivation index of disability in India: Evidences from census 2001 and 2011

Ashish Awasthi, M.Sc., C.M. Pandey, Ph.D., Manisha Dubey, M.Phil., Sanjay Rastogi, Ph.D.

Disability and Health JournalVol. 10Issue 2p247–256




Since the dawn of civilization, disabilities have existed in various dimensions of human life. World Health Organization (WHO) defines disability as an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and participation restrictions. Globally, approximately 1 billion people have some form of disability, and approximately 20% have significant functioning impairments.


This study aims to estimate the level, trends and prospects of disability in 640 districts of India. Data for the present study has been taken from Census of India, 2001 and 2011.


A Disability Index was calculated at the district level, and state level indexing was done using the Disability Deprivation Index. The population for the year 2021 was projected using the exponential growth rate method. The Disability Deprivation Index was calculated using child labor, adult unemployment, illiteracy, and the ratio of beggars in the disabled population.


The study reveals that the proportion of the disabled population in India was 2.10% in 2001, which increased to 2.21% in 2011. According to the Disability Deprivation Index, Maharashtra was the best-performing state in 2011. There were 4.90 million new cases of disability in India during 2001–11, out of which 1.52 million cases belonged to non-congenital disability.


There is a rise in the disabled population in India, which needs special attention. The working status of the disabled is gloomy. The majority of the disabled people are non-working and need adequate rehabilitation measures that would facilitate employment.