International Migrants Day 2016


Throughout human history, migration has been a courageous expression of the individual’s will to overcome adversity and to live a better life. Today, globalisation, together with advances in communications and transportation, has greatly increased the number of people who have the desire and the capacity to move to other places. Because of this, migration draws increasing attention in the world nowadays.
To recognise the efforts, contributions and rights of migrants, the United Nations’ International Migrants Day is observed on December 18. The day is celebrated to identify and curb all kinds of violence and abuse faced by the migrants and their family members and advocate respect for their primary human rights.
According to the 2011 Census of India, about 61.8 per cent of the working populations are engaged in agricultural activities. However, the country suffers from major issues of inter-State migration. Migration has been considered as an endemic problem of Odisha for a long time. The State suffers from distress migration, mostly from south west regions, including KBK districts. According to the 2011 Census of India, Odisha has got a working population of 17,541,589, among them 61 per cent are main workers and rest are marginal workers. The level of urbanisation increased from 27.86 per cent to 31.16 per cent in the Census 2001-2011, while the proportion of rural population declined from 72.19 per cent to 68.84 per cent. It had a rural unemployment rate of 8.7 per cent and an urban unemployment rate 5.8 per cent as per the 68th National Sample Survey (2011-2012).
The prevalence of small farmers having small sized land holdings and seasonal unemployment in Odisha forced the people to search for alternate sources of livelihood. Besides, migration is an outcome due to the repeated disasters that strike Odisha at regular intervals. Cyclones, floods, droughts and famines hit the State at different times in different regions. Due to this, thousands of people from Odisha leave their native village in search of food and employment. They work in brick kilns in the neighbouring State of Andhra Pradesh and other States besides construction sites of the other cities. Thousands of Odia people visit Surat every year in search of work. Today there is also mass migration of villages where the whole family migrates in search of job.
Economic reason is the main motive behind most of the migrations. Migration will become more urban-oriented, but increasingly this will happen within expanding regional urban system. The relationship between rural-urban migration and development is conclusive and very complex. The process of migration is related to the concept of development. Even though the migration cannot be entirely stopped but due focus must be made for the holistic development of the migrants.
The inclusive growth policy can do more to address the problems of exploitation and exclusion of migrants. Migrants can be directly supported by providing skills training, and information about jobs and risks of migration. The trend of migration should be thoroughly checked to avoid various socio-economic hazards. Both the State and Central Governments have to adopt thorough statistical measures to represent realistic assessment. The State Government should focus on agriculture and food safety programmes in order to avoid migration in such areas. The Food Security Act, the Public Distribution System and all other information and awareness systems must be facilitated to bring overall improvement of these regions.
Areas with urban centres, administrative headquarters like Bhubaneswar, and business sectors attract the migrants from backward areas where employment opportunities are very less.  Migrant labourers of Bhubaneswar are the construction workers, shop man, rickshaw pullers and daily workers. Some are also engaged as street vendors, hawkers, domestic jobs like house and utensil cleaning etc. The migrant labourers of Bhubaneswar generally settle in the Bastis of various slum pockets of the city. Some of them are attached to some labour contractors who engage them in jobs of relatively long term nature. Many of them reside in kutcha houses in Basti and some have no house in Basti also. They sleep on the verandahs of the shops and markets in night. Lack of employment in the surrounding rural pockets is the main reason for their migration to the capital city.  In the town, they get better wage compared to their villages.  Some of them are seasonal migrants. Whenever agricultural works start they go back to their villages and during the off – season, they come to the city in search of work.
Bhubaneswar is one of the fast growing cities in India which has lost its earlier planned status due to massive growth of migrant population and increased informal sector activities in the recent years. During the initial planning stage, construction workers, people engaged in service sector were not envisaged as a permanent sector of the city’s growing population. In fact, cities grow in different ways, which can be difficult to distinguish. It may be through migration or the natural growth of the city’s population.  Migration to cities significantly contributes to urbanisation. Therefore, the city should plan for the migrants. 
Unplanned migration can be a serious problem for the city. Migrant population should be included in the city planning process. If well planned, migration can enhance dynamism of cities making them healthier, more profitable and more interesting places to live.

International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2016


Since 1992, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) is celebrated on December 3 around the world to promote an understanding of disability issues. It also seeks to mobilise support for the dignity, rights and wellbeing of persons with disabilities.
The theme of the day for this year is “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want”. The theme is intended to recognize the UN’s recent adoption of 17 sustainable development goals and the role these goals will play in building a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities. Besides, it draws attention to how people with disability are excluded from society due to several types of barriers, including physical, information and communications technology (ICT) or attitudinal barriers.
Today, the world population is over 7 billion people. More than one billion people live with some form of disability. Among them 80 per cent live in developing countries and 50 per cent of disabled persons cannot afford healthcare.
Disability is an important public health problem, especially in developing countries like India. The issues are different in developed and developing countries, and rehabilitation measures should be targeted according to the needs of the disabled with community participation. In India, a majority of the disabled resides in rural areas where accessibility, availability, and utilization of rehabilitation services and its cost-effectiveness are the major issues to be considered.
Research on disability burden, appropriate intervention strategies and their implementation to the present context in India is a big challenge.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) in a 2011 study estimated that 15.3 per cent of the world’s population deals with some or the other kind of disability. In India the disabled population has increased by 22.4 per cent between 2001 and 2011. The number of disabled, which was 2.19 crore in 2001, rose in 2011 to 2.68 crore. As per the 2001 Census, there were 10, 21,335 disabled persons in Odisha. As per the 2011 Census, the total disabled population is 12, 44,402, registering a growth of 21.84 per cent during the decade. The percentage of the State’s disabled population to total population has increased from 2.78 in the 2001 Census to 2.96 in the 2011 Census.
A new scheme District Disability Rehabilitation Centre for Persons with Disabilities launched by the Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment is a step towards providing rehabilitation services to the disabled persons. The Government has decided to set up District Disability Rehabilitation Centres (DDRCs) in a phased manner.
Presently, 199 DDRCs have been sanctioned and some new DDRCs are to be set up in the coming years.
Disability should be considered as an important issue by the Government so that this important public health problem can be tackled in the community. The services should cover all types of disabled who need rehabilitation services and should be part of mainstream development in the community. The educational sector should be more inclusive by adapting newer techniques with respect to content of the curriculum, methods of teaching and ensuring that classrooms, facilities, and educational materials are more accessible. Research is essential for increasing public understanding about disability issues, informing disability policy and programmes, and efficiently allocating resources.
Creation of barrier- free environment in towns and cities is responsibility of the State Governments. Urban local bodies, development authorities and other State departments are responsible for creating barrier-free environment in towns and cities. Amendment of building by-laws is the most important step towards creation of barrier-free environment in different cities and the guidelines for barrier-free environment may be referred from Bureau of Indian Standards, Ministry of Urban Development guidelines etc. The barrier-free design guidelines will help considerably towards greater independence of not only wheelchair users, but also hopefully, the elderly, the visually or hearing impaired, children, and indeed a broad spectrum of the community. In order to create a barrier-free environment in consonance with the provisions of the Act, the Government of India (Ministry of Urban Affairs and Employment) is currently engaged in the process of amending/modifying the existing building by-laws which would be applicable to all buildings and facilities used by the public.
The Odisha State Government has enacted Persons with Disabilities (Equal opportunities, Protection of right and full participation) Odisha Rules, 2003.  As per the rules, the buildings, places and transportation systems for public use will be made barrier free. Provision of barrier-free design has been incorporated in the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) building regulation. But in Bhubaneswar, a majority of the schools and colleges are not barrier free. Public places are not user friendly for the disabled. Lack of disabled friendly toilets in public places is a big barrier for the disabled.
A set of design guidelines should be prepared in the Smart City planning process. These guidelines required that all public buildings, public places and all connecting routes should be designed so as to allow barrier-free access and mobility for the disabled. It is highly recommended to implement the policies that will help the persons with disability to move and work in a safe environment. An important aim of the society is to integrate persons with disabilities in the society so that they can actively participate in society and lead a normal life. Ideally, a disabled person should be able to commute between home, work place and other destinations with independence, convenience and safety. The more persons with disabilities are able to access physical facilities, the more they will be part of the social mainstream.
Persons with disability are an integral part of the society. But their physical disability distinguishes them from the rest of the society. When the disabled persons are made to participate fully in all activities of the community and enjoy the fullness of life, they will feel fully integrated in society. Therefore the differently able must be empowered to understand, choose and manage independent living. They should provide the basis for establishing the specific education measures required to achieve the right to access quality education on the basis of equality of opportunity for all for a disability-inclusive development.