Still a long wait for UDID cards

City Health

Only 50 percent of the people who have been issued disability certificates, have received their UDID card.

Bengaluru: Karthik has a locomotor disability (paralysed below the waist). He had a spinal injury during a car accident. “I applied for the Unique Disability Identity (UDID) card so that I can get a driving license,” he said.

He added that he cannot get benefits from any schemes of central and state government for people with disabilities as a UDID card is necessary to avail the benefits.

The lack of government hospitals for check ups has delayed the process of issuing the cards.

The person needs a medical certificate,issued by government hospitals to get the card. The authorized government hospital list is available on the Swavlamban Card Website. “There are few government hospitals in Bangalore that perform a medical check-up,” he added.

There are only nine government hospitals authorised for urban Bangalore. He also explained that the hospitals ask them to come multiple times yet don’t issue the medical certificate.

The State Government’s office of the Department of Empowerment of Differently Abled said that the process to apply for UDID cards is simple. The person has to apply online through a Swavlamban card. But, once the application is approved it is sent to Chennai for printing, which involves significant time.

Sunil who works with the Association of People with Disabilities (APD) an NGO said, “We help people in the whole process of getting the UDID cards from application to delivering it at their house. The cards come very late as it requires a thorough medical assessment.”

He added that the hospitals reject the application several times and assign a new date. “They claim that their workload has increased because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The hospitals are busy dealing with covid patients so the process of medical examination for the medical certificate is delayed.”

source: parliamentary committee report

A parliamentary committee report shows that the process to issue these cards is delayed across the country. As per the report, around 50 lakh cards are only issued against around one crore disability certificates. According to the 2011 census, the total number of people with disability are around two crore.

According to a Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation report, around four percent of the total population of Karnataka is disabled.

UDID Cards are issued to disabled people by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment. These cards have the identity of the person along with their disability. This card is accepted as their single identity proof.

The UDID cards were first introduced in 15 Indian states in 2017 under the first phase of the scheme. They were introduced in Karnataka in 2019.

Vishvesh Sekhar a disabilities rights lawyer said, “Earlier before UDID cards there was disability card in form of passbook. It required periodic renewal. The UDID is issued for a lifetime. Along with this, it covers all the disabilities recognized as per the disability act. It is accepted across India, earlier this wasn’t the case.”

He added that it was introduced so that people with disabilities can access all the facilities. But the slower process of issuing the card handicaps the availability of benefits to the people.