Kiran Bedi bats for easy access to data about skilled people with disabilities

Retired IPS officer and Raman Magsaysay Award recipient Kiran Bedi stressed on the need for setting up an employment exchange for people with disabilities.

Speaking at the launch of the second edition of the India Inclusion Summit 2013 here on Friday, Ms. Bedi said that though there are many people with disabilities who are highly skilled and talented, there is no data available about them to assist companies interested in recruiting them. So, an employment exchange exclusively for people with disabilities can address this problem. It can act as a bridge between the employer and job aspirants, and provide easy access to data on talented people with disabilities so that they can be employed, she added.

According to the New Companies Act, at least two per cent of the companies’ income must be spent on discharging their duty towards corporate social responsibility. In that direction, skilled workers of the company can impart skills to people with disabilities so that they become employable.

V.R. Ferose, senior vice-president, globalisation services, SAP AG, said that only over a lakh people with disabilities were working in the organised sector in the country.

Siddharth Jayakumar, manager of Indusland Bank Ltd., who had autism, said that more than numbers, it was the attitude of the companies that mattered more. “Employers must look at the skills and talents of the candidate. Convincing them to hire people with disabilities is a challenging task,” he said.

Inclusivity the focus

The two-day inclusion summit that concludes on Saturday focusses on bringing together stakeholders from various fields to work towards inclusivity. Mr. Ferose said that the summit was aimed at spreading awareness so that people were sensitised toward people with disabilities and are therefore prompted to act towards inclusivity. “One of the main challenges is that there is no accurate data of the number of people with disabilities in the country,” he added.

The summit has so far raised from corporates funds to the tune of Rs. 27 lakh. It will be used for implementing EnAble India (an academy to enable the people with disabilities), Project Prayas (use of technology to aid the differently-abled) and Sampoorna Music Therapy School (music therapy for autistic children).

Ms. Bedi said that she has been emotionally connected with the summit as her late sister Rita had done tremendous research in autism. “I am carrying forward my sister’s work through this and am her ambassador in person,” she added.

Women’s rights

Ms. Bedi, who addressed students on women empowerment earlier at Jain University CMS Business School, asked them to stand up for their rights and to create an independent identity for themselves. “Empowerment begins with clarity in life,” she said, stressing on the need for students to have a clear vision in life and follow their dreams despite facing hurdles.

Ms. Bedi also spoke about sexual harassment of women at workplace and urged students to be aware of laws even as they start their careers so that it will help them fight for gender equality and justice.

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