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The effects of globalization to the different classes of people within an economy

Disability, Economic Globalization and Privatization: Standardized measurements of disability in India and internationally have overlooked the linkages between the economy and disability. In recent decades, neo-liberal economic reforms imposed in developing countries, under pressure from international financial institutions, have downsized state role, privatized social goods, and encouraged export-led strategies and market-based economics.

  • While such initiatives are welcome, it remains to be seen whether the precedent set by Gitanjali Gems will be followed by other private companies in India's SEZs;
  • National policy for the disabled;
  • With disability still treated as a 'special interest' issue in India — that is, not of interest to the general population - the risks of privatization are high;
  • These developments are in large part thanks to increasing global trade, openness and connectivity;
  • Focus on the Global South.

India's economic reforms, initiated in 1991, have led to rapid economic growth that is, however, increasingly mal-distributed. This paper investigates the implications of economic restructuring in the arenas of social programs, education, employment, accessibility, health, agriculture and food security, and water and land acquisition from a disability perspective.

Our analysis shows that while increased employment opportunities and accessibility have benefitted middle-class and highly-skilled disabled persons, the majority of people with disabilities have been left out of India's economic affluence. We contend that India's globalized economy and reduced state role necessitate renewed understanding of human rights, including disability rights. The United Nations estimated that more than 1. Thus, the majority of people with disabilities in the South are not only poor, but they are among the poorest of the poor.

In India, there are no clear estimates of the number of persons with disabilities. Moreover, large-scale government studies as well as most small-scale research in India has overlooked the impact of economic globalization in the form of changing roles of the state and the market on the lives of people with disabilities.

The hype about India's recent economic growth obscures the lived realities of spiraling inequality, the declining welfare state, and the growing misery of the poor.

As the state withdraws from the service sector, access to basic necessities such as education, health, employment, and food and water security has become increasingly difficult for vulnerable populations Bhaduri, 2008. Little critical analysis of economic globalization and privatization exists from a disability rights perspective. Using India as a case study, this paper assesses privatization and the state's abdication of responsibility for essential services and their implications for disability, specifically the propagation of chronic illnesses and impairments.

Some of the ramifications of globalization and the privatization for human rights, including disability rights, are discussed, which underscores the need to re-visit the notion of human rights given the growing power of non-state actors in the globalized era. Measuring Disability in India: Definition Dilemmas Estimating the prevalence of disability in India has been hampered by complex and multitudinous factors. Deep-seated social stigma results in the exclusion and invisibility of individuals with disabilities.

The lack of adequate definitions of disability further compounds the task of accurately assessing the prevalence of disability. There are two government sources of nationwide disability statistics in India: The Census of 2001 did not adopt any particular definition of disability, rather it included a functional limitation question that asks respondents about their type of functional limitation e. The NSS thus defines disability as an activity limitation.

Since the independence of India in 1947, a charity and medical model of disability has informed policymaking under the aegis of the welfare state. To date, these models are deeply embedded in the Indian society. It was the ground-breaking Persons with Disabilities - Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation PWD Act of 1995 that recognized the multi-faceted nature of disability and provided for education, employment, creation of a barrier-free environment, social security, etc.

The Act articulated seven major kinds of impairments: Although the Act is guided by the philosophy of empowerment by addressing social attitudes, it is still premised on thresholds of physical and cognitive impairments defined largely in medical terms. Thus, even though the discourse in India's disability rights movement has advanced towards a social model, the policy environment remains "a hybrid between the medical and social models of disability" World Bank, 2007, p.

This framework, termed as the biopsychosocial model of disability World Bank, 2007begins with a health condition that gives rise to an impairment leading to activity limitations, consequently affecting the ability to participate due to environmental, personal and institutional barriers. Standardized definitions and measurements have overlooked the interactions between socio-cultural and economic factors in different regions that result in varying levels of impairment and opportunities for disabled persons.

Barile aptly notes that in its attempt to attain a synthesis between different viewpoints of health from a medical, individual and social perspective, the ICF neglects the crucial link between economics and disability.

People are angry about globalization. This chart explains why

Economy and Disability The linkages between disability and poverty have been increasingly recognized in international development literature Yeo, 2005. Poor people are much more likely to live in unhealthy conditions without access to clean water or adequate nutrition. In times of illness, poor people are less likely to be able to afford treatment, often leading to chronic conditions or lifelong impairments.

Conversely, impairment can lead to poverty and social exclusion by fostering financial dependency on handouts, the state and the extended family. Thus, disabled people are more likely to be poor than their non-disabled counterparts, and people living in poverty are more likely to become disabled than the non-poor.

The relationship between poverty and disability has been referred to as a vicious circle Elwan, 1999; Yeo, 2005. However, just as disability is not simply a matter of bodily variations but is caused by social exclusion, poverty too is not merely a matter of inadequate incomes.

Poverty results from having limited or no access to basic services and is exacerbated by inadequate access to land, credit, technology and resources for sustainable livelihoods. Thus, poverty is an inevitable consequence of the way socio-economic systems are organized.

However, hitherto most anti-poverty work has viewed poverty as a lack of individual or household incomes. As Sen 2007 emphasizes, a limited conception of poverty as lowness of personal income overlooks socio-political and economic processes that perpetuate poverty. Any efforts to eliminate poverty would, therefore, be unsuccessful if structural processes and socio-economic inequities are unaddressed. Sen cites the example of Europe where poverty was reduced by state provision of public health care, educational facilities, shared legal protections and other such common resources.

Yet, in the last two decades, under pressure from international financial institutions IFIs such as the World Bank and IMF, many countries in the global South have introduced economic reforms characterized by opening domestic markets to global competition, increasing transnational capital flows, and weakening the role of governments.

These economic policies aimed at accelerated global economic integration 'globalization' Razavi, 2008 believe in the ideology of neo-liberalism that maintains state intervention is an obstacle to economic growth because it creates inefficiency and market distortions. These principles have lead to privatization of health and social services, education, transport and, increasingly, water and food provision in many parts of the world.

Neo-liberalism that underpins the current era of globalization has major implications for disabled persons; however, disability definitions and discourse have paid insufficient attention to this phenomenon. Given the virtual absence of the effects of globalization to the different classes of people within an economy on the impact of economic globalization for persons with disabilities in India, the next section explores this topic in greater detail.

Economic Globalization, Privatization and Disability: A View from India A mounting burden of debt and balance of payments crisis led India to adopt economic reforms on the lines of IMF-World Bank structural adjustment programs.

The NEP included standard measures including the devaluation of the rupee India's currency ; privatization of government-owned entities; reduction in public expenditure; cutbacks to food, agricultural and fertilizer subsidies; increase in imports and foreign investment in capital-intensive and high-tech industries; liberalization of trade regulations; and structural changes in the economy aimed at export-led growth Upadhyay, 2000.

The NEP has resulted in far-reaching effects on the economy and society. While reforms have led to record economic growth, they have also led to unprecedented economic inequalities, environmental degradation, rise in food prices, and unrest in several states that has further hurt historically disadvantaged groups Bidwai, 1995, 2000; Kumar, 2008.

Bidwai 2000 observes as reform policies pry open India's markets to attract multinational telecommunications, information technology and automobile corporations, there is little dispute that economic globalization has benefited India's 40 million middle-class and elite; however, these policies have been ruthless to its 500- million-plus miserably poor.

Amidst these diverse forces impacting the lives of ordinary people in the country, the situation of people with disabilities is particularly concerning given that their exclusion from government census and surveys translates into denial of their citizenship rights and entitlements to existing state programs for the poor and disabled.

In this section, we assess reform-induced changes in the arenas of social programs, education, employment, accessibility, health, water, agriculture and food security, and land acquisition from a disability perspective. The central government's allocation of funding to the states, which constitutes a major resource to implement social programs in India, declined drastically in the post-reform period. Nevertheless, the range of social protection schemes that cover people with disabilities, such as below poverty line BPL ration cards for government-subsidized food grains and kerosene, social security pensions, scholarships, and reservations in government jobs, provide some hope for the destitute, although they are stingy and inadequate.

Yet, as Mander's 2008 study reveals, access to these programs remains riddled with bureaucratic challenges, corruption and delays with the cumulative effect of denying benefits to those who need them most.

The Economic Benefits of Globalization for Business and Consumers

Few disabled adults actually receive disability pensions. Neither they nor their caregivers have adequate information about their entitlements or how to apply.

In order to avail of disability benefits, people with disabilities are required to undergo medical tests. Reports suggest given the large number of applicants, thousands of young and elderly disabled face grueling ordeals lining up at hospitals from morning to evening for registration, tests and the issuance of disability certificates The Hindu, 2008.

Moreover, in many states there is a lack of focus on social protection for people with disabilities, as the low rates of social pension coverage indicate World Bank, 2007. Budget cuts in the post-reform period have not only compounded already existing bureaucratic challenges, they have also reduced government spending on disability programs. Although funding for inclusive education under the education ministry has increased substantially in recent years, MSJE does not have consolidated figures for spending on disability across ministries.

As such, a comprehensive picture about government spending on people with disabilities is lacking World Bank, 2007. Budget cuts for social programs of the MSJE, however, have adversely affected non-governmental disability organizations that depended on government funding.

NGOs have been encouraged by the government to seek philanthropic contributions from private wealthy donors and international aid organizations and by collecting fees from few elite clients who can afford to pay for services rather than receiving their funding from the central government Erevelles, 2001. Social protection in the form of social insurance interventions are not a reality for the vast majority.

Most disability insurance in India is provided publicly in the form of a mandated benefit based on the retirement income scheme. However, disability insurance schemes cover only workers in the formal sectors. Public social protection system for people with disabilities outside of the formal sector is sketchy in most states and offers low coverage and limited financial protection. Disability insurance that covers employees in the private formal sector provides similar benefits; however, the private insurance market in India is still at an early stage of development without much experience in annuity products.

In any case, public and private sector schemes together cover only one in 10 workers in the country. Thus coverage is low and concentrated in the top half of the income distribution, excluding most Indians with disabilities World Bank, 2007. The latest National Policy for Persons with Disability 2006 signals a further withdrawal of the state from its responsibility towards disability and a tendency to push that responsibility on civil society and communities.

Although the policy includes extending rehabilitation services to rural areas, increasing employment opportunities, improving access to public services etc, the section on 'Responsibility for Implementation' states: The community should take a leading role in generating resources within themselves or through mobilization from private sector organizations to maintain the infrastructure and also to meet running costs.

This step will not only reduce the burden on state resources but will also create a greater sense of responsibility among the community and private entrepreneurs quoted in Bhas, 2006, para 22. The attempt to absolve the state of its obligation towards disenfranchised persons by placing the onus of generating resources on the private sector and the community draws from a global neo-liberal trend that, as studies elsewhere have shown, has led to disconcerting consequences for the poor and disabled ex.

Yet, after more than a decade of the PWD Act, few persons with disabilities have access to education or training. The Sarva Siksha Abhiyan SSAa program formulated under the Education for All — National Plan of Action, has a special section on inclusive education; however, enrollment and retention rates remain poor.

While the poor utilization of these interventions can be attributed to multiplicity of factors, including low awareness the effects of globalization to the different classes of people within an economy ritualistic implementation of programs with discrimination, privatization has not advanced the cause of education for children and youth with disabilities. In addition, the quality of public schools has suffered immensely due to reduced government expenditure on education.

In 2005, the government's Common Minimum Program promised a gradual increase in the education budget to at least six percent of GDP.

Chapter 1. Globalization and Education

Karnataka have education budgets that are 2. Private investors have established educational institutions ranging from kindergartens to universities offering more expensive education for the middle class and elites, motivated mainly by profit Bagal, 2005.

  • Trade is not growing much anymore — and, for the West as well as the Rest, that should be a great cause of concern, not for jubilation;
  • Although, most buses and trains continue to be inaccessible for people in wheelchairs PACS, 2005 , in urban areas, privatization has had a positive impact in a way;
  • Disabling, crippling, turning rights lame;
  • The central government's allocation of funding to the states, which constitutes a major resource to implement social programs in India, declined drastically in the post-reform period.

These changes have hardly benefited disabled students, as is evidenced by a survey of 89 schools by the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People NCPEDPwhich found in 2004, more than a decade after liberalization and economic reforms, only 0. Only 20 out of 55 schools that admit disabled children employ special educators. Moreover, pedagogical methods continue to be outmoded and rote-based, and the disempowering approach of the formal education system considers the needs of children with disabilities to be largely a non-issue D'Costa, 2008.

However, the Act excludes children below six years from their fundamental right to pre-primary education - a shortcoming that was brought to the attention of the human resources minister by disability rights groups EPW, 2009. Moreover, the Act does not specifically require disabled-friendly infrastructure in schools; rather, it uses the vague and undefined phrase of 'barrier-free access.

However, as EPW 2009 aptly notes, the fact that this law, hailed as 'historic' and 'revolutionary,' needed to be amended within a month of its passing and did not give sufficient attention to children from one of the most marginalized sections of India, is indeed intriguing. Privatization has led to mixed outcomes for people with disabilities in the employment sphere. On one hand, technological advances have reduced their job opportunities.

ILO 2003 cites the example of jobs earlier available to visually-impaired people such as telephone operator, stenographer and typist that have declined due to changes in communication technology and introduction of computers.