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About the Journal

The Journal of "Disabilities and Impairments"

Disabilities & Impairments is India’s pioneering journal aimed at addressing the critical issue of disability and impairment in India’s large and diverse population. Launched thirty-seven years ago by two farsighted academics, the journal has served to highlight the multifarious aspects of the conditions of disabilities and impairments in India. The journal from its early days sought to focus on the various issues, including health, social impact, palliative measures, rehabilitation and so on, associated with the conditions of disability and impairment. This was much before the time these issues had received widespread public attention. The journal therefore was visionary and instrumental in spreading awareness of the problem, encouraging the development of solutions and aiding governmental efforts in this field.

The journal’s core philosophy also predated today’s concept of Atmanirbhar or self-reliance. The very fact that this journal was produced, composed in India with domestic content for an Indian audience was in itself a demonstrator or the self-reliant approach. The idea was to develop expertise and methodologies of dealing with disability and impairment within the country. The larger aim was to empower, encourage and assist various individuals and institutions to approach this issue through national, in-country enterprise. In this sense, the idea of atmanirbharata has always been part of our core philosophy. We have also always stressed that the lessons learnt in India could be relevant for the whole world and that our learning experience could be shared worldwide.

Today, disabilities and impairments have become a key focus of public policy and health management. Yet, thirty-seven  years ago it was a topic barely discussed in policy circles. The journal can rightfully claim that it’s activities and thrust was one factor responsible for the enactment of the nation’s first disability legislation, namely the Persons with Disabilities (PWD) Act, 1995.

The journal has helped the entire sector devoted to dealing with persons with disabilities and impairments, it has helped shape policy, promote awareness and highlighted related research. Today, as it goes into the new age after more than three decades of uninterrupted service, the journal is recognized for its unflinching effort and devotion to the cause of persons with disabilities, who constitute a key under-privileged section of our society, marked by stigma, limited opportunities and difficult existential conditions.

The journal today aims at taking a step into the digital future by upgrading its website, disseminating its research through the online media and developing a network of organizations working in the field. It also believes in the twin objectives of self-reliance and self-sufficiency, coupled with the larger aim of developing methodologies and processes that could be applied in other countries as well. It has also tied up with the Indian Armed Forces to extend its influence and bring in hitherto underserved areas of the country under the purview of management of the problem of persons with disabilities. As we work for a new resurgent future, we seek the support of the public, NGOs as well as the government in carrying our goal further. Jai Hind!

The Problem


A disability is any condition that makes it more difficult for a person to carry out certain activities or interact with the world around them. These conditions or impairments, may be cognitive, developmental,  intellectualmental, physicalsensory, or a combination of multiple factors.

The World Health Organization defines disabilities as an umbrella term, covering impairments, activity limitations, and full participation restrictions. An impairment is a problem in bodily function or in an individual’s physical or internal anatomy. Impairment causes difficulties in normally executing a task or desired action. This, in turn, becomes a barrier to the full participation of an individual in the socio-economic sphere and restricts equal opportunities.

Impairments an activity limitation and full participation restrictions causing disability, may be present from birth or occur due to occupational hazards and difficult workplace environments as well as environmental factors. The problem is compounded by inadequate public health facilities in rural and underserved border areas, geographical barriers, malnutrition, lack of education, pernicious socio-religious practices, non-availability pf rehabilitation services at public health centers.



The Challenge


It is estimated by the WHO that more than a billion people in the world today experience disability in one form or another. India is a home to an estimated 70 million disabled people. The problem is huge but goes largely unnoticed and under focused. Yet, India is one of the signatories to the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The task to rehabilitate persons with disabilities and impairments is gargantuan and requires the assistance of all parts of society as well as governmental and on-governmental organizations. The journal plays a key role in this entire dynamic and has emerged as an important resource in efforts to mainstreaming the disabled.

Disabilities and impairments are not merely health issues but social ones as well with extremely diverse implications. These conditions have a direct linkage with socio economic factors, public health conditions, women empowerment and community-based activities. India’s diversified culture with varied demographic conditions are complex challenges to be considered. In order to achieve social mainstreaming of persons with disabilities and impairments it is imperative to promote, nurture and fund research work, conduct field trials in Indian conditions, and involve the larger community in the rehabilitation process.

It is estimated that, through better use of primary prevention and public health promotion, the global burden of diseases could be reduced by as much as 70 per cent. Equally important are communication, awareness and adoption of better practices in the management of health for people with disabilities.



Promoting State Policies


In December 2016 Indian Parliament passed a new legislation titled ‘Rights of Persons With Disabilities Act, 2016’ (The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, Gazette of India) which replaces the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. This key piece of legislation defines the rights and obligations enshrined in the United National Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) of which India is a signatory.

The “Rights of Persons With Disabilities Act, 2016” is a milestone in the struggle for equal opportunities for disabled people in India. The Act has several important and noteworthy aspects which will have a great impact on inclusion for Indians with disabilities. This new legislation recognizes that accessibility is critical for inclusion and that it is a cross-sectorial issue to be implemented by different stakeholders and across different government departments and ministries. It also recognizes the need to involve non-government organizations, corporate agencies and social bodies. It lays stress on non-discrimination, acceptance of disabilities as part of human diversity. The RPWD Act, 2016 thus reflects a paradigm shift in thinking about disability from a social welfare concern to a human rights issue.

The implementation of this as a critical national objective is necessary for the country’s further development. The journal “Disabilities & Impairments” is proud to be a pioneering as well as leading actor in this national endeavor.



Publication Aims


For the last thirty-five years, the journal Disabilities & Impairments is the only Indian publication dedicated to the studies on the issues related to the disabled and impaired. The journal promotes research work in context of Indian conditions, community level empowerment, the development of skills, imparting education and the experiences of professionals in the effort to socially mainstream persons with disabilities and provide them equal opportunity, full participation and inclusiveness. Its core philosophy also stresses the importance of atmanirbharata, that any endeavor to succeed in India in the long run must be based on local initiative, domestic capabilities and knowledge developed locally with inputs from all over the world.

As one of the oldest Indian Journal in the field, our endeavor is to create a single point connecting organization for various efforts, research, projects and programs aimed at creating an inclusive society that allows persons with disabilities to live life fully and with dignity. We also aim to promote research, advocacy and networking in the areas of prevention of health causing disabilities, old age care, early childhood care and development as well as emerging challenges in preventive and public health. Our objective includes efforts to evolve modality of reporting on social entrepreneurship aimed at removing barriers to persons with disabilities.

The journal ‘Disabilities and Impairments’ is an invaluable source of functional information for researchers, educationists, rehabilitation activists, psychologists, psychiatrists, sociologists, social workers, anthropologists, medical doctors, dietitians, biochemists, neurologists and the public at large.

With its integrative approach, the journal provides a platform for strong networking among researchers and differently able persons in the process of mainstreaming the disabled or impaired. The journal’s outreach program focuses on under served and rural areas, and is aimed at connecting rehabilitation professionals with care givers and the disabled at the grassroots as well as enhancing inter-intra sector coordination, boosting capacity buildings with community-based rehabilitation processes and programs. It also aims to help the alignment of research, clinical studies and training work.



Journal Milestones


The credentials of the Journal include publishing over 600 internationally & nationally acclaimed research papers with an Impact Factor of 6.132 in a peer-reviewed biannual interdisciplinary research journal accredited with ISSN (print) 0970 356X & ISSN (online) 2582-2047 with registration number RN/507028/87.

The papers covered a diverse range of topics including preventive health issues of Early child care, emerging Drug Abuses, lifestyle ailments, stress management coupled with series of noteworthy Training Work on capacity buildings under Prof Arun K. Sen & his associates.



Tie-up with the Indian Armed Forces

This is the only Indian journal which has tied up with the Indian Armed Forces in order to enhance its larger societal  purpose to connect  rehabilitation professionals with those in need in remote, under served border regions like Tawang, Seppa, East Kameng, Zero and Lower Subansari districts in Arunachal Pradesh, Tamenglong in Manipur, Hut Bay in Andaman & Nicobar Islands and the interiors of Jammu & Kashmir.

Ground level conditions in the north east remains a major barrier in connectivity to underserved and border regions, preventing rehabilitation professionals from reaching those in need. The accessibility factor is a major reason for the tie-up with the Indian Army. The phenomenal abilities and adaptabilities of Indian Soldiers could be harnessed in promoting the larger goal of helping persons with disabilities. Moreover. Integration of Army a strategic step that brings unity and discipline in its working. It also acts as a force multiplier strengthening the implementation process, complimenting government efforts at social reforms and strategically winning over border people.


The People


The journal was founded in 1987 by two eminent academics, Prof Arun K. Sen and Dr Roopa Vohra. Prof Sen was head of department of Psychology, University of Delhi while Dr Vohra was a researcher, who had published several studies on women, stress management and preventive health issues. These two academics were exposed to the problems faced by persons with disabilities and impairments and made it their mission to highlight these issues as well as encourage an academic debate on their resolution. Under their stewardship the journal made rapid inroads into the community of academics, policy makers, health sector professionals as well as associated non-governmental organization workers.

The journal’s eminence owed much to the reputation of its founders. Prof  Arun K. Sen was not only a well respected academic but was also known as the recipient of several international fellowships and awards. The included the Commonwealth scholarship awarded by the British Government; Fulbright-Hays Senior Fellowship awarded by the U.S. Government; visiting fellowship awarded by the University of California, Berkeley; and the senior fellowship awarded by the University of Bergen, Norway. He was the recipient of the "National Lectureship" award conferred by the UGC (1986-87) and the "Swami Pranavannand Award" for writing the best book of the year (1982) in Psychology and Education. He had chaired many important committees on inclusive development; he was also member National Advisory Commission on Mental Health, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India.

Dr Roopa Vohra completed her PhD under Prof Arun K Sen & and her pre-PhD thesis titled “Status, Education & Problems of Indian Women” was published in the form of a standard textbook in education by the National Educational Resource Centre of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India in 1988. She has also published other noteworthy works on stress management and emerging challenges in preventive health issues. She is the executive editor of the journal.

The journal has an editorial board headed by Professor [Dr] Madhulekha Bhattacharya, former Dean of Studies and Head of the Department of Community Health Administration in National Institute  of  Health & Family Welfare, Ministry of Health GOI, New Delhi  &  Head  of  Jan Sankhya Shtherata Kosh, Ministry of Health, GOI, New Delhi. She is recipient of  many fellowships by GOI [Ministry of Health & Family Welfare] & International Organizations the salient Awards of fellowships are : UNAIDS, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, GOI,  UNFPA, WHO, East West Center Hawaii, USA, Faculty of Public Health Medicine Royal College of Physicians U.K, Population Association of America, Fogarty International at John Hopkins Baltimore, USA, Faculty Exchange programme by DFID & British Council, Partners in Population & Development (PPD) Dhaka Bangladesh amongst many others.

Lt General P.G. Kamath [Retired]., Special Rapporteur, National Human Right Commission, Government of India, for Three States of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana is another prominent member of the editorial board. General officer has rendered invaluable services to the Government in monitoring & surveillances on Primary Health Centers, District Hospitals & Community Health Centers, Old Age Homes, Juvenile Hostels, immunization & mid day meal programmes & bonded labour trafficking amongst many other critical community development programme strengthening nation inclusive development. 

Dr  Tojo Thatchenkery, an Indian scholar and currently Professor & Director, M.S. Organization Development & Knowledge Management (ODKM), Schar School, George Mason University. USA. He is the author of over a dozen books and one hundred articles. One of them, Appreciative Intelligence: Seeing the Mighty Oak in the Acorn was a Harvard Business Review recommended book. Professor Thatchenkery is on the editorial board of the Journal of Applied Behavioral Sciences and the Journal of Organizational Change Management. He has over twenty five years of experience in teaching at various Public Policy, MBA, Organization Development, and executive development programs in the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.

Colonel Tapash Chatterjee,  a  decorated professional master trainer/officer of the Indian Army who conceptualised ‘Mission -Ability Beyond Disability’ in 2005 to  serve much larger societal purpose; to restore the dignity & better the quality of life of persons with disabilities by providing them equal opportunities and effective access to rehabilitation measures and assistive devices at their doorstep on the spot in hassle-free manner importantly in remote underserved border regions of Country.  While accepting the challenge to reach the unreached, he  carried forward the spirit & Government's commitment for enabling and empowering the persons with Disabilities by aligning research outputs with grass root community level activities with people participation.

About the Publisher


The journal’s Executive Editor Dr Roopa Vohra, who is the proprietor of Akshat Publication, is the publisher. Akshat Publication has its registered address at T-10 Usha Chambers, Central Market, Ashok Vihar, New Delhi-110052.

Disabilities & Impairments, an interdisciplinary research journal, was established in the year 1987 accredited with ISSN (print) 0970 356X & ISSN (online) 2582-2047 with registration number RN/507028/87.




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