Goma Rai, 25, is eagerly awaiting a visit from officials conducting the 2011 census from February 9 to 20.
A Chembur resident, Rai is visually impaired and knows that when the census officials come visiting, she has to tick question number 9B, which lists disabilities. To ensure correct enumeration of the country’s disabled population, disability rights activists have been encouraging persons with disabilities to register for the census and tick the appropriate question.
“During the 2001 census, of the 29 questions in the form, question 9 was included at the very last moment. Owing to this, families of disabled persons could not fill the necessary details in time,” said Suhas Karnik, honorary secretary, National Association for the Blind. “This act of indifference, led to the submission of an inaccurate report, the consequences of which had to be borne by the marginalised section for a decade,” said Karnik, adding that this year, the census board has also included options of learning and locomotive disorders, for the first time. “We have been training the enumerators and facilitators, to ensure that the families register disabled members as well,” said Karnik.
Several non-profit organisations have also undertaken campaigns and training programmes to create awareness about filling out the census form.
Non-profit organisation, Trinayani, has carried out extensive disability awareness advocacy campaigns to make sure that each one is counted this time. “Besides putting up more than 30 hoardings at prominent locations across the country, we have signed deals with broadcasters to telecast a 30-second film during breaks,” said Ritika Sahani, founder, Trinayani.