‘5% of workers in both public and private sectors across India must be comprised of persons with disabilities.’
–Chapter VI of The Disability Act 1995.
The Government’s Disability Act gave long awaited recognition and endorsement of the inclusion of people with disabilities in employment. The National Policy (2006) also acknowledged the valuable human resource of equal opportunities in society. As part of India’s economic plan, the Planning Commission’s 11th Five Year Plan (2007-2012) includes Disability under a distinct sub-chapter for the first time. However, these policies have been ignored by virtually all employers. Figures for the top 100 companies in India show that the average percentage of disabled workers is 0.4%. That is less than a tenth of the target figure. The average percentage of disabled employees in the public sector is a mere 0.54%, and in the private sector only 0.28% of the total workforce. The reasons for this failure:
National and multinational organisations are slowly but steadily recruiting more employees with disabilities, and are changing their policies. Companies such as IBM, Infosys and Wipro are committed to a diverse workforce and workplaces better equipped for access by the severely disabled. Much smaller firms including Sun ITES and Designmate are even operating with a majority workforce. EuroAble is a state of the art call centre manned completely by physically disabled employees. These changes are helping to break down stereotypes about disability. More employers are becoming aware of the wide range of skills and abilities that people have, and often discover stronger loyalty from workers with physical disabilities. Innovative schemes from credible and trustworthy organisations such as Indiability are helping to change attitudes and transform the workplace.
From casual work to a career, the idea of work is a natural part of human behaviour. It is simply the effort applied to accomplish a task, contributing to success and society. In practice, it is a contract between two parties – one seen in virtually every square mile of rural and urban India. Indiability wants everyone to engage with people with disabilities, employing them in all types of roles – from the fairground and fruit stall to the engineer and chemist. We want to empower disabled people through inclusion. To achieve this we need more employers to know the policies that exist and employ people with physical disabilities. If the Government can’t or won’t do more, then India’s employers and workforce needs step up and to do more as part of a responsible society. Indiability’s Smartwork campaign engages with all types of employers and award those who are making a difference to society by hiring people with disabilities. It is an initiative to recognise organisations that promote diversity and the welfare of physically disabled people.
Indiability is committed to the implementation of the United Nation’s Millennium Development Goals, to reduce poverty. We want to have an impact across the whole of the country to help physically disabled people get good full, productive employment.
Smartwork Campaign (coming soon)
–Kamaljeet Singh Brar, Founder, Designmate