Blindness in India - Challenges and Solutions

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 1597 , Published on 17 January 2013
Advertisements

Sometime back Salman Khurshid was in limelight for all wrong reasons. Apart from Kejriwal, Chairperson of National association for blind (NAB) Mr. Javed Abidi has criticized the inefficiency in the government scheme ADIP taking the fire on the erstwhile law minister Mr. Salman and the misallocation of funds under his NGO and the inefficiency of the whole system.

 

During previous year 2010-2012 a total 60 crores of funds were allocated to 84 NGO’s across 20 states and 6 union territories. But out of these 60 crores, very miniscule amount of money went to real beneficiaries.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The major problems associated with this inefficient system are as follows:

1 Inefficient Administration: - This scheme is implemented by central Govt. The framework is itself fallacious. The implementation of this scheme is through various societies, charitable trusts, local bodies such as zila parishads etc. whose accountability is itself questionable. One of the other major problems in administration is that there is monopoly in the production of various disability aid equipment. Under this scheme AILMCO, a factory in Kanpur is still manufacturing very low quality goods. These goods are transported and given to the backwards districts and villagers. These goods are so bad that no one even uses them.

2 Non credible NGO:  The govt. is relying too much on the NGO’s network which is necessary for the reach in rural sectors.  But this is not the case as high level of corruption has led to the improper functioning of the whole structure as the NGO network which should have been one of the strongest pillars in this program is itself corrupt and inefficient.

3 Repair and Service: There is virtually no system existing for the repair of the distributed aids. There are no service centers and even if there is, a small malfunctioning of product usually lead to discarding of the product. Neither there are any arrangements for periodic servicing of the given aids which further reducing the life of the aid equipment’s.

Is there a need for awareness?

Most of the current discussion revolves around preventable blindness (Cataract etc). There is some good work done by “Vision2020 – right to sight” Campaign which puts the economic cost of Blindness (for the entire World) close to 129 Billion$ by the end of 2020 without Vision2020 Intervention.  It is currently being implemented jointly by World Health Awareness and International Agency for Prevention of Blindness (IAPB).

In India much of the support comes from NGOs and National Association of Blind which carries their own awareness campaign along with Ministry of Social Welfare.

Arvind eye Care, one of the most astonishing success stories in Rural Medical History of India is working towards preventing needless Blindness which is receiving a lot of attention these days, Thanks to a successful business model (Lean Practices) of Arvind care that makes it possible to treat 60% of Patients free of cost.

Arvind has thus recently created a lot of Buzz and is expanding rapidly, along with it is also expanding a lot of awareness about needless Blindness.

One of the areas where awareness is lacking is “Education and Employment for Blind”.  On a National Level only National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People is working to promote Employment for Blinds addressing issues like unutilized physical disability quota in PSUs and Govt. Jobs.

Still especially in the area of “Employment for the Blind” there is required a need to generate social buzz, awareness.

Some innovative solutions can be “Social Media Marketing Campaign” by NGOs, promotion of Electronic Braille (Market development through awareness campaign, acting as a substitute for Braille Slate)

Figure 1: INNOVATIVE APPROACHES

Another approach can be to built and strengthen National Disability Network (NDN) in India. NDN exist in nascent stage now, it needs to be more aggressive, gather public support, lobby for Funds and pitch in for promotion of employment for Blind in Private sector.

Another innovative approach can be to better utilize CSR support or funding. CSR support can be used to provide logistic network for repairmen and distribution of disability aids.

Most of these approach if put together along with active Govt. support to projects like Arvind Eye Care and Vision2020 will give sight to many blind people in India. The challenge is huge and is an onerous task, not only for the govt., but public at large.

Considering only 70% of Blind population live in rural areas, we need to gear up, need to innovate and Plan ahead.

This article has been authored by Akhil Dhingra & Amit Shukla from Great LaKes Institute Of Management.


Advertisements


If you are interested in writing articles for us, Submit Here