New Delhi: Thirty-two of India’s top universities and institutions of higher learning, including IITs, IIMs, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Delhi University, have together filled up barely 16% of the minimum quota for persons with disabilities, a survey has revealed. Exposing the appalling failure of the government in implementing the 1995 Disability Act — which fixed the mandatory 3% quota — the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) found that these institutions had just 1,614 disabled persons out of a student population of 3.33 lakh, which is just 0.48% of the total. Worse, women with disabilities constituted a mere 28% of the disabled students in these institutions, the survey found.

Laws and policies are meaningless if colleges and universities are not accessible to persons with disabilities, said Javed Abidi, honorary director of NCPEDP. “These are the top 50 national institutions. Imagine what it would be like in other colleges and universities across India,” he said.

Abidi said since the state of education was so bad, “obviously the employment rate of people with disabilities gets affected. There is hardly any supply chain.” NCPEDP conducted the survey from August to November 2017, beginning with attempts to source data on representation of students with disabilities in India’s campuses. Some of the other institutions covered were University of Hyderabad, Benaras Hindu University, Aligarh Muslim University, Punjab University and Goa University.

It found that of the disabled students, 71.8% were male while 28.19% were female. NCPEDP has been pointing out for a long time that girls with disabilities were doubly disadvantaged.

Higher edu funding body OKs projects worth 2,000 crore for 6 top institutions

The Higher Education Funding Agency (HEFA), on Wednesday, approved projects worth Rs 2,066.73 crore for six higher education institutions — IITs of Bombay, Delhi, Madras, Kharagpur, Kanpur and NIT Suratkal. Mandated to provide additional funds for research and related infrastructure, HEFA held its second meeting on Wednesday and approved funding for the six institutions. The money will be used to improve research infrastructure in these institutions to further improve their standing at the global level. TNN