Contrary to the popular perception that disabled women have difficulty in finding suitable partners, a recent Census data shows that in Madhya Pradesh it is just the opposite.
Of the 15.5 lakh differently-abled people in the state, more than 6.3 lakh have “never married” out of which 3.9 lakh are men while 2.3 lakh are women.
According to the Census 2011, more than 35% of the 6.6 lakh disabled women in the state are unmarried.
But in case of 8.8 lakh disabled men, more than 44% are unmarried.
The Census data further says that of the total differently-abled people in the state, 1.7 lakh are widowed, 16,446 are separated, and 4,774 are divorced. Only 7.2 lakh of the differently-abled people in the state are “currently married”, the Census figures have shown.
According to the Census 2011 figures released on Tuesday by the Registrar General of India, Madhya Pradesh has 12.6 lakh households that have differently-abled persons. The dada also shows that 3,619 disabled people are homeless in the state.
In the 2001 Census, information on five types of disability was gathered, while in the 2011 Census information was gathered on eight types of disability including mental disability.
Expressing disappointment over the figures, Anil Mudgal, an activist from Arushi NGO that works with disabled people said: “My experience says that disabled women have a tough time finding matrimonial matches while disabled men become choosy and expect either a normal or less disabled partner.”
“But these figures are showing a different trend. One possible explanation is that disabled men have high expectations when it comes to choosing a partner, end up in the ‘never married’ category.
“But we will have to look into the finer details of the way the census was conducted to see whether such a trend exists or there is some fault in the data collection.”
State commissioner (disability) BS Maini was more forthright to express his doubts, saying that it was difficult to comment on the trends in the Census figures “as there was a huge gap in the data of the state and the 2011 Census on the disabled”.
“The state government’s data on disabled collected through the Sparsh Abhiyan put the figure at 8.25 lakh while the latest Census shows that there are over 15.5 lakh disabled people in the state,” he said.
“Given this wide gap, I have suggested to the Centre to give us approval to conduct a fresh survey… which will be conducted by the state social justice department, whose officials understand the issues of the disable and can do justice to the job.”
The percentage of disabled people under two categories — movement and multiple disabilities — is higher in the state as compared to the national level.
In rest of the under six categories, the percentage of disable people is lower in the state compared to the national level.
The maximum numbers of disabled persons — more than 26% of total disable population in the state-- suffer from movement related disabilities.
In contrast at the national level, only 20.2% of the total differently-abled population suffers from movement related disabilities.