[AI] Combat Law Article by Dipendra Manocha

Pamnani kanchanpamnani at hotmail.com
Wed May 14 01:23:31 EDT 2008

Employing beyond labels

The Disability Act 1995 provides for three percent reservation in the 'identified jobs' category. However, even a decade after the Act was passed, few are aware of this list, depriving deserving candidates from rightful employment opportunities, says Dipendra Manocha


What kind of a job can a person

with disability perform

in an office environment?

An answer to this question is not

very simple. It is much more complicated.

Aconstantly changing technology

leading to the introduction of

solutions, which were not there earlier,

makes it impossible to give a standard

answer to this question. So

what is the basis for categorising a

disabled person?

Till the accounting software is not

made compatible with the screen

reading software, persons with

blindness will not be able to take up

the accounting profession. However,

if the accounting software is installed

in any organisation that works with

the screen reading software, there is

no reason why a person with blindness

or low vision would not be able

to perform well as an accountant or

an account's supervisor.

A newspaper report recently

quoted a specialised career councilor

who stated that mathematics is a subject

where persons with vision

impairment are at a disadvantage

and therefore after class eight they

should be given a choice to leave

mathematics. The very next day,

there was an article about Dr TV

Raman who was born blind and completed

his M Tech in Mathematics

from IIT, Mumbai. Not only this, his

teachers say that due to the abstract

nature of the subject, persons with

blindness are actually at an advantage

to their seeing counterparts in

learning Mathematics.

It is therefore very important for

youth with disabilities to make a correct

choice of subjects to pursue their

career in order to enable them to prepare

themselves for job opportunities

that lie ahead for them.


The quota system

There is also a severe lack of awareness

on this subject. Due to this,

many opportunities of employment

are denied to persons with disability

in spite of their having appropriate

qualifications and an excellent academic

record. To counter the barriers

in employment opportunities due to

lack of awareness about capabilities

of persons with disabilities, a quota

system has been in force in the government

and public sector jobs. This

has been further enshrined in the

Persons with Disabilities Act of 1995.

Section 33 of the Act states:

"Every appropriate Government

shall appoint in every establishment

such percentage of vacancies not less

than three per cent for persons or

class of persons with disability of

which one per cent each shall be

reserved for persons suffering from -

(i) blindness or low vision;

(ii) hearing impairment;

(iii) locomotor disability or

cerebral palsy, in the posts

identified for each disability:"

This section makes a mention of

posts identified for each disability.


This means that the government

adopts a procedure to go into the

depth of capacities and current mode

of operation for any specific job profile

and experts prepare a list of jobs

which are found to be doable to the

best of their knowledge where any

category of persons with disability

can be fully productive. The law also

acknowledges the changing definition

of capabilities due to technological

solutions and changes taking

place in the work environment. Thus

a periodical review of this list has

been made mandatory.


Section 32 of the Act states

Appropriate Governments shall

(a) identify posts, in the

establishments, which can be

reserved for the persons with


(b) at periodical intervals not

exceeding three years, review

the list of posts identified and

up-date the list taking into

consideration the developments

in technology."


Periodic review

Although the job identification committee

formulation and review has not

taken plac e as frequently as is mentioned

in the law, the latest review

took place recently and a renewed list

of identified jobs has been published

through the Gazette Notification of

India on January 18, 2007.

The committee constituted to

review the jobs identified felt strongly

that all jobs should be considered

as identified unless any specific job

process is found to be not doable. In

such an approach, if the candidate

possesses the desired qualifications

and skills for any job, he/she should

be considered for employment based

on that qualification. The benefit of

quota should be given to that candidate

for that particular job. This

approach requires change in the language

of the law and the committee

therefore decided to stay with the

current approach itself and make

necessary changes and augmentation/

deletions in the previously identified



Many large establishments were

taken up as case studies for the job

identification process. Samples from

various sectors such as universities,

railways were picked up for assessment

of job profiles, field surveys

were undertaken and various jobs

were identified in the process.

Personnel departments of these

establishments were also involved.

The committee was headed by additional

secretary, ministry of social

justice and empowerment.

Following is the table providing

total number of posts identified

under each category for different

kinds of disabilities.

Persons with disabilities tend to

get stereotyped in their job roles. For

example, the blind are seen as teachers,

telephone operators, office clerks

or stenographers only. As a result,

young students with blindness

invariably restrict their ambitions to

just these three or four areas and thus

choose subjects like music, languages

like Hindi and Sanskrit, and Political

Science and History for higher education.

However, a look at the list of

identified jobs, show many new

areas including management, administration,

law, welfare, editors,

economists, computer programming,

public relations which require much

more than the traditional choice of

subjects. As a result of this lack of

awareness, few qualified candidates

are available for the complete range

of identified posts.

The list of identified jobs is obviously

an excellent career guidance

tool. It is also worth observing that

all committee members unanimously

agreed that this list should not be

treated as an exhaustive listing of

jobs that can be done by persons with

disabilities. This list should be seen

as an indicator since job profiles are

extremely varying and capabilities of

persons with disabilities is not some

thing that can be related only to the

level of impairment. There are persons

with blindness who have flown

airplanes over Europe which certainly

cannot be put as an identified job

as of now. However, the feet is not a

fluke and was done using technology

solutions which are not within the

reach of most of the persons with

blindness. As mentioned before, the

capabilities in the field of

Mathematics have been proven by

many persons with blindness. But as

of now fields like teaching

Mathematics are not yet covered

under identified jobs. In case of

mathematics, if the person does have

required qualification and skill it

would not be right to deny him/her

the post of lecturer in Mathematics

simply because it is not covered

under the list of identified jobs.

It is therefore important that the

qualifications and skills of persons

with disabilities are given due

importance vis-à-vis the list of identified

jobs. The list should only be

treated as a minimum base by which

persons with disabilities can be provided

job opportunities and job


—The writer is a member of the

committee constituted by the GoI for

the review of the identification of jobs

for persons with disabilities, is winner

of the President's gold medal for being

the most accomplished disabled person

for having created employment opportunities

for the disabled


dipendra.manocha at gmail.com,

dipendram at vsnl.net

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