Debate over job quota for the differently abled

New Delhi: The ministry of social justice and empowerment has proposed that under the Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014, mentally ill and mentally challenged people should be provided one per cent reservation in employment and education. The department of personnel and training (DoPT) of the personnel ministry has, however, objected to the proposal questioning how suitability of posts could be determined for such candidates.

The draft bill proposes to increase the categories of disabilities from 7 to 19, to include cerebral palsy, dwarfism, and autism, among others. Mental illness is defined as mental disorder other than being mentally challenged and includes diseases like epilepsy, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. The bill also seeks to treat acid attack victims as disabled persons and proposes reservation for them in government jobs and education institutions. Presently, there is 3% reservation for the disabled, 1% each for the physically, visually and hearing-impaired persons.

The social justice ministry does not agree with the DoPT’s views and has taken up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The ministry’s proposal is part of its recommendation to increase reservation for the disabled from 3 to 5% under the draft bill that would replace the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. Incidentally, the Prime Minister also holds charge of the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions. Social justice ministry officials recently gave a presentation on the bill to the Prime Minister.