Differently-abled persons are more interested in having their rights guaranteed than getting welfare measures, says Surya Nagappan of Caliber, an organisation for persons with disabilities.

“If Central and State Governments enact and enforce legislations protecting the rights of differently-abled, there will be no necessity for welfare measures because they will be able to fend for themselves,” he argues. That is the crux of the demands the organisation has submitted to the State Government.

To underscore his point, he refers to the “poor implementation” of three per cent reservation rule for employment of persons with disabilities in State Government and its organisations.

“The Government has been doing more or less a good job as far as appointing visually challenged persons as teachers, but it has failed in extending the same to the hearing impaired and physically challenged. In many cases it has not issued proper guidelines and that impedes appointment,” he alleges.

Referring to the regularisation of persons who were temporarily appointed during the previous regime, he says, “When the Government took in people on a temporary basis, recruiters neither followed the seniority list nor gave preferential treatment to the differently-abled. Later, when they were appointed on a permanent basis the challenged people lost out.”

Keeping in mind the same, Caliber has urged the State Government to guarantee that three per cent vacant posts in all departments be given to persons with disabilities, as mentioned in the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995. The next is the implementation of guidelines mentioned in United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. One of the issues therein is the creation of a barrier-free environment.

“Most schools, particularly private institutions, refuse to admit differently-abled children because they do not have the necessary infrastructure. They also do not want to appoint special teachers,” he says. If the Government issues an order implementing the UNCRPD, the differently-abled will have access to not only schools but also ATM centres, banks and other places.

Mr. Nagappan says the Government's identity card for challenged people is of very little use because its acceptability is very less. “Not even a SIM card can be bought by using it. The Government must issue orders to make sure that the card is one of the accepted identity cards, like ration card or voters' identity card.”

S. Ravi, also from Caliber, says the Central Government must first give the national Unique Identity Card to differently-abled.

The organisation has asked the Governments to reserve three per cent seats in State Assemblies and Parliament for the differently-abled persons.

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