Disability Sensitive Concept of Local Government

July 13, 2017

According to the Constitution of Nepal 2072, the responsibility for the management of people living with disabilities is now up on the local government. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the local government to develop and implement programmes for the welfare and overall management of the people with disability.  

Gajendra Budhathoki

Social security in Nepal

There are variations in consensual opinion about the exact statistics and situation of people with disabilities in Nepal. Though the National Census 2011 claims approximately 2 per cent of Nepalese live with some kind of disabilities. But human rights activists working on this issue do not agree upon this data because this ratio is very negligible in comparison to developed countries. Accepted by and large, the most developed country in the world, USA also has 19 per cent of its population with disability as shown by its authentic statistics whereas Centre for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 22 per cent of its adult citizens are living with some kind of disabilities. Similarly, UK also has 19 per cent of its citizens in disable conditions. As per the statistics, China, the most populated country in the world, has about 7 per cent of its population disable.

According to the first international disability report of WHO/World Bank (World Disability Report 2010), 15 per cent of world’s population has disability. Therefore, the ratio of disability showing less than 10 per cent in the developing country like Nepal is less convincing. There are several reasons behind doing so, among which hiding the disability of family members by the household is prime. Beyond this the state might have published less statistics of disables to prevent itself from the possible liabilities towards the issue.

The bill drafted for the integration and amendment of the laws related to the rights of disable people is under consideration in the parliament which has classified and defined 10 different types of disabilities. They are: 1. Physical disability 2. Visual impairment (Blindness) 3. Hearing impairment (Deafness)  4. Hearing and visual disability (Deaf-blindness) 5. Speech or language impairment 6. Mental and psychosocial disability 7. Intellectual disability  8. Hereditary Hemophilia related disability 9. Autism 10. Multiple disability. Whatsoever may be the reasons behind showing less number of disable people, it is one of the complex and unavoidable issue of our society and country.

It is the duty and responsibility of the government (all three levels: central/federal/local) to assure opportunity, social inclusion and social security of the people with disability. The situation in our context is even more vulnerable.

People With Disabilities  also have similar and equal human rights as other people. In addition, the day to day life of  people with disability is even more difficult; therefore, the state should have special obligations towards these people. But it’s a paradox that our wrong traditional concept (disability is caused due to the sin committed in previous life) and due to irresponsive government, people’s representatives and administrators, the issues of disable people are not addressed properly resulting lack of disable-friendly infrastructures and service delivery. Due to all these reasons the people with disability are facing hindrances in every steps of their daily life.

The rule for public building construction says that every public infrastructure either constructed by government or private sector should be disable-friendly. But it has not been enforced primarily compulsory and weak provisions of penalty for violation of this rule has made the concerned stakeholders indifferent.

Almost all the government offices, except for some, roads, paths and parks are not disable-friendly.  Schools, colleges and universities are not seen thoughtful about disable people could be their students. The concept of needs of the people with disability still have not emerged in private industries, business and corporate foundations, hotels, restaurants and theatres. They are found indifferent about the people with disability that they can also be their employees, service providers or clients.

 The situation at present is not just to find where there are problems for the people with disability but to see where there are not.

The state, since a few years back, has started providing social security allowance to the people with disability but it is very much biased and insufficient. At present the government distributes four different categories of identity cards for the disable people, viz, a. complete disability, b. severe disability, c. Mild disability, and. d. General disability. The government provides Rs. 2000 ($20) as social security allowance to ‘Completely disable persons’ whereas only Rs. 600 ($20) is provided to the ‘Severely disable persons’ who are only slightly different than the former ones and even all of them are not receiving it.

According to the government statistics, there are 600,000 people living with disability throughout the country but only about 200,000 have received the disability identity card. Among them 3700 have received red card (complete disability) and 49000 have received blue card (severe disability). Those persons with disability having red card receive Rs. 2000 ($20) every month and those with blue receive Rs. 600 ($6) as social security allowance. But among the blue-card-holders, 60% are either not provided with the allowance or have not taken it because they feel ashamed of receiving the grant as it is very minimal; even not sufficient for medicines. Therefore, most of the people with severe disability have announced to relegate this allowance.

Details of disability identity card distribution


Type of Identity Card

Total number of distributed Identity card until the end of March 2017, fiscal year 2016/17





Red (Complete disability)





Blue (Severe disability)





Yellow (Mild disability)





White (General disability)




Grand Total




After the recent local election, the elected local representatives have started their jobs. According to the Constitution of Nepal 2072, the responsibility for the management of people living with disabilities is now up on the local government. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the local government to develop and implement programmes for the welfare and overall management of the people with disability.

Due to the lack of availability of amenities and opportunities in rural areas, the settlement of the number of people with disability has been largely concentrated to the urban areas of our country. It is estimated that about 1 hundred 50 thousand people with disability are living only in Kathmandu valley. Therefore, targeting the people with disability, both the metropolis–Kathmandu and Lalitpur along with all the other municipalities in the valley, should develop special programmes and jointly effort to mould the valley into ‘disable-friendly’ city.

a) Infrastructure:

Each and every urban infrastructure should compulsorily be made disable sensitive. According to the new administrative provisions, rights and responsibilities of many district level government offices are shifting to local government. But the available infrastructures of these local and government authorities are not even proper and adequate for general people. So, how could they be appropriate for the disable people to receive the services?

Every citizen should have easy access upon all the services delivered by the local level (government), therefore, every office should be made disable-friendly.

Some certain types of roads also come under the scope of local government; so, infrastructures of every such road should be disable-friendly.

b) Education:

Except for some handful number of educational institutions, most of them are not disable-friendly. Two years ago a boy from Ilam, who just had passed SLC exam, searched disable-friendly institution in his district for his higher studies but could not find any and came to Kathmandu. He visited nearly two dozens of higher secondary schools in the capital city and found none of them with adequate disable-friendly infrastructures. This is just a representative event.

Currently the education up to class 10 has been shifted to local level’s authority so the local government should pay special attention towards all those government/community as well as private schools to make them disable-friendly.

c) Health:

Local government at a minimum should take initiation for health insurance and provide health facilities wherever needed for the people with disabilities and their families. Besides it should also set free health check-up service once a year in its annual programme.

d) Opportunity:

The policy for the implementation of provision of positive discrimination should be adopted so as to provide special priority to the people with disability in any type of employment that arise or are created in local level.

e) Income:

Income generating activities/trainings should be conducted through the local ward offices to avail/develop employment opportunities to the people with disability in private and community sector as well as to develop self-employment opportunities.

f) Tax Exemption:

The existing Income Tax Act of Nepal has provision of tax exemption up to 50% for the people with disability in their taxable income. Therefore, in this context, the local authority should also develop provisions of tax exemption for the enterprises/trades run by the people with disability.

g) End of Discrimination and Legal Security:

Special initiation should be adopted in local level to eliminate all types of existing social discrimination against people with disability. The local government should also adopt special policies to help such people legally whenever they are in need of.

The author, Mr. Budhathoki, is Advisor in Nepal Government’s High Level Mechanism on Affairs Related to Disability.  

Translated By  : Mr. Punya Bhandari and Mr. Netra Bhandari


3 Comments on Disability Sensitive Concept of Local Government

  1. kamala poudel on Thu, 27th Dec 2018 1:04 am
  2. very interesting and informative article.

  3. Krishna Prasad Sapkota on Fri, 25th Jan 2019 2:09 am
  4. Very informative article. Thank you for writing and uploading to the website.

  5. Ashish baby pokhrel on Wed, 22nd May 2019 1:00 pm
  6. My heart is placed on the right side of my body..generally heart lies on left side but I have my heart in right side of my body do I registered as this community member cause I am not normal people like other please give me some idea..

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