AN NGO has released a report titled ‘Disability and Consanguineous Marriages’, urging the government to discourage consanguineous unions which increase the chances of disabilities occurring in the offspring. NGO Apnalaya conducted a survey in Shivaji Nagar slum and statistics in the report highlight the gender dynamics at play. It found that 77.4 per cent women surveyed opposed marriages within the family, only 37.9 per cent men acknowledged the practice as a problem.
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The NGO said that of 580 disabled children registered with their intervention programme, a quarter were born out of consanguineous unions. The chances of disability is 5-6 per cent in consanguineous marriages, as opposed to 2-3 per cent otherwise.
As per official figures, 2 per cent of Indians have disabilities. The NGO has recommended a census of the disabled so that the state’s schemes and benefits reach them. “There is severe under-counting in the census at present. As a result, the disabled become persona-non-grata,” said Arun Kumar, CEO, Apnalaya. The NGO plans to approach the government with its findings.
“We want the government to step in to set up infrastructure such as schools and health centres,” he added.