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25 Apr 2024, Edition - 3208, Thursday

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Is Disability A Curse?

Covai Post Network

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Sweta Rawat,

When looking to develop employable skills and in gaining meaningful employment, persons with disability in India face many challenges. Persons with disability continue to face many difficulties in the labour market, even when India has ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with disability (UNCRPD).

UN defines Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) as all persons who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments, which in interaction with various attitudinal and environmental barriers hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others. Disability is not purely a result of impairment – it is aggravated by attitudinal and physical barriers present in society.

According to a census of India, 2011, there are 26.8 million Persons with Disability (PwDs) in India. About 13.4 million PwDs are in the employable age of 15-59 years; this is a large number when one considers the pressing need for skilled labour in India.

PwDs face numerous barriers at every stage of life. They are often looked at as a liability to their families and society, rather than as productive and contributing members of it.

Even the ones who cross multiple barriers and try getting a job face numerous challenges in finding a job that suits their abilities. All women and men with disabilities want to and can be productive members of our society.

Presently, catering to the needs of all PwDs looks like a distant dream, since we as a country face issues such as a lack of institutions that can provide appropriate and adequate training to these people, poor infrastructure, ineffective training models and a general lack of jobs suited to their skills, interests and abilities.

Even though some organizations are working towards training them and facilitating their employability, there are impediments to these initiatives like the lack of proper wages, an ill-equipped and inaccessible work-place environment, and discrimination at the workplace along with greater issues such as the absence of substantial, data based information regarding the various job opportunities that could be made available to them.

In order to integrate PwDs into the community and society in a manner that harnesses their maximum potential, it is imperative to change the very paradigms of skill training in terms of improving the pedagogy, introducing multi-dimensional technology that enables e-content solutions and improving the capacities of Institutions/NGOs offering skill training to PwDs.

The Copyright Act of 2012 stated that companies that had a turnover of more than 5 crores per annum must provide 2% of their funds for CSR initiatives. Promotion of opportunities for PwDs should also be made a mandatory part of this protocol.

According to Shri Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Minister of State (IC) for Skill Development & Entrepreneurship, “Skill Development is one of the highest priorities of the Prime Minister of India as only around 2% of the workforce in India is skilled”. As appreciation and encouragement, the government also gives various incentives to corporate houses that employ a certain percent of persons with disabilities.

To promote employment opportunities in the private sector for persons with disabilities, their help could also be taken in developing course content providing vital information in a variety of formats that challenges the biased attitudes and mistaken assumptions about the potentialities of such people.

There is a great need to expand these interventions to rural areas as well, as a part of appropriate program models. This would indeed be a major contribution to “Skill India” initiative of Hon’ble Prime Minister.

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