RIGHTS: Gender and Social Inclusion Assessment for Persons with Disabilities

This project aims to identify and examine how social and economic barriers impact inclusion, accessibility and opportunities for persons with disabilities in Tamil Nadu.


An estimated 3.2 million people in Tamil Nadu live with some form of disability. Persons with disabilities face several socio-economic barriers in accessing essential services such as healthcare and education, employment opportunities, transportation, as well as care and rehabilitation services. The World Bank has initiated a project (RIGHTS) to support the state in improving outcomes across three key pillars – inclusion, accessibility and opportunities for differently-abled persons. As part of the project, the World Bank commissioned this assessment to map key constraints faced by persons with disabilities, with an intersectional focus on women and people from other vulnerable groups, and provide recommendations for strengthening policy and programmatic interventions. 


(i) to identify and analyse how disability, gender, and other forms of social exclusion constrain inclusion, access, and opportunities for Differently-Abled People (DAPs) in Tamil Nadu.

(ii) to provide recommendations for how the proposed RIGHTS project can address these constraints to ensure that women and people from vulnerable groups receive support under the project to access and benefit from public services and employment opportunities.


The assessment included a review of existing policies and schemes offered by the state that are available to persons with disabilities and highlighted ways to strengthen them. Primary data collection for the assessment includes surveys conducted at the household level, in-depth interviews with stakeholders, case studies and key informant interviews. These sources were used in the study to qualitatively capture and map the ecosystem for persons with disabilities. Secondary data on the state’s schemes and services supplemented the findings.


Living with disability involves navigating a physical and social environment that is often not inclusive – this can be compounded by the intersection of one’s gender, age, community or other forms of social identity. Identifying the unique challenges vulnerable groups may face when living with disability is the first step in designing policies that acknowledge and address these hurdles.

Building the human capital of persons with disabilities thus requires an expansive and cross-sectoral framework beginning from early identification at the neonatal stage to care structures for elderly persons with disabilities. The insights from this assessment will help the World Bank and the Tamil Nadu Department for the Welfare of Differently-abled Persons identify relevant interventions in these areas.

Thematic Area

Institutions and Society,

Small, Growing Businesses and Employment

Project Leads

Debdulal Thakur


Tamil Nadu


World Bank