Navigating life as a consumer with disability

Syllabus: GS- I, Subject: Society and Social Justice, Topic: Welfare schemes, mechanisms, laws and institutions related to disabled,

Issue: Consumers with disabilities

Challenges faced by disabled consumers:

  • Inaccessibility of goods and services and customer support options
  • Remains invisible to businesses and corporates

Different reforms to address the concerns of disabled:

  • Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act (RPWDA) and the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) empower consumers with disabilities.
  • RPWDA mandates universally designed consumer goods and accessible services.
  • Complaints under RPWDA go to Disability Commissions, with non-binding directives.

The way ahead:

  • CPA lacks specific provisions for consumers with disabilities, unlike RPWDA.
  • Aligning CPA with RPWDA is crucial for equal protection and accessibility.
  • Businesses should make offerings accessible to tap the market of persons with disabilities.
  • Awareness about rights and resources can be raised through initiatives like Jago Grahak Jago Campaign.
  • Government could consider bringing comprehensive accessibility guidelines for all goods and services.
+1 advantage for mains (Data point)

·          In India, persons with disabilities account for 5-8% of the population (World Bank, 2009).


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