NEW DELHI: Till mid-March around 54.84 lakhs e-Unique Disability Identification (UDID) cards have been generated in 710 out of 734 districts across states and union territories.
While the department of empowerment of persons with disabilities (DEPwD) plans to cover an additional 10 lakh persons by December to reach 65 lakhs, there is still a very long way to go if one were to take into account the legacy data wherein 1.66 crore PwDs hold disability certificates.
Moreover, according to the 2011 Census, there were 2.68 crore PwDs.
Ministry officials explain that for migration of existing legacy data, the data needs to be provided by states/UTs in the desired format of the portal and be submitted after getting it verified and approved from their respective health departments.
Concern over the progress of the UDID finds detailed mention in the report on demand for grants (2021-22) for DEPwD adopted by the parliamentary standing committee on social justice and empowerment on March 16.
Citing the number of UDID cards issued against the 1,65,99,752 disability certificates across the country, the committee notes the progress of issuing UDID cards is slow.
The committee recommends that DEPwD must fix state-wise annual targets for issuing the UDID cards. Among the difficulties faced on the way, DEPwD, during the deliberations also shared that “a lot of state governments said that they need to revalidate the certificates…. the medical officer there was not revalidating because of which we were not able to take them on board. Now, with this entire online process, application of certificate, issue of certificate and assessment has fallen into some kind of congruity.”
Monitoring involves a colour-coded daily performance report and indicated level of performance of states/UTs.
The 31-member committee chaired by Rama Devi notes that the UDID project is envisaged to be the national database for the PwDs, for issuance of UDID Cards in order to enable PwDs to avail various concessions under schemes meant for their welfare.
“Such delay in the attainment of the objective of UDID due to reasons like lack of online system till recently or absence of a guideline to allow private medical doctors to certify disability in case of unavailability of government doctors, is unjustified,” the committee states in the report.
The committee further expressed surprise that West Bengal is yet to come on board and Nagaland has shown very tardy progress in this regard. DEPwD also informed the committee that since UDID cards are yet to be granted to all the existing disability certificate holders, making UDID card mandatory for any benefits has not been envisaged yet.