Only 10 States attend a meet of Social Justice Department

The Centre’s first conference of State Ministers and Principal Secretaries of the Social Justice department to review disability affairs on Saturday received a rather lukewarm response with barely ten States sending Ministers and half that number of Secretaries.

Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot who presided over the review of his department which began on Friday, hoped for a better response the next time round and gave many instant decisions based on the demands by States. Major policy issues raised was the simplification of procedure for issuing the Disability certificate and only 39.29 per cent of Persons with Disabilities have been given these certificates till March this year.

According to Census data of 2011, there are 2.68 crore Persons with Disabilities who make up 2.21 per cent of the population.

As per the Supreme Court’s order of October 2013, 3 per cent government jobs have to be earmarked for Persons with Disabilities but the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment has observed that a number of posts to be filled by Persons with Disabilities are lying vacant.

However, official sources said some states like Madhya Pradesh have hiked the quota to six per cent and States like Kerala had created supernumerary positions to accommodate those with disabilities according to the Minister M.K. Muneer. He said 2677 positions were created for Persons with Disabilities and another 1188 were employed in the government.

Manipur too reported employing at least 100 Persons with Disabilities and many of them in the government’s Braille Press, according to Health Minister A.K. Mirabai.

Mr. Gehlot said he had received a number of complaints about the NGOs in Manipur working on the issue of disability and asked the Minister to examine them and report to him.

The West Bengal government is in the process of identifying posts which are suitable for Persons with Disabilities, according to the State Minister Shashi Panja. She said that it has to be a disabled-friendly post and while there is no government directive on this, there is a need to identify jobs which are suitable.

States also have to formulate disability policies and so far only seven have a policy while 15 don’t and nine states are working on it.

According to the 2011 Census, there are 2.68 crore Persons with Disabilities who make up 2.21 per cent of the population