Earlier this year, the Supreme Court directed the Central and State Governments to provide three percent reservation for disabled persons in government jobs.

Referring to social barriers forcing the disabled into poverty, the Supreme Court, in its order passed during October, also directed the governments to implement the reservation within three months in all government departments, companies and institutions.

“We really wish that to happen. We hope that to happen at the earliest possible,” according to V. Balamurugan, Chairman, Indian Disabled Career Academy.

There are opportunities for higher education for the disabled students, but they study against odds in the absence of ramps and transport arrangements, said Mr. Balamurugan, who is himself orthopaedically disabled to the extent of 75 per cent.

“Unlike persons with normal physique, the already weak bones in our bodies deteriorate at a faster rate. Only with a stable job will we be able to make ourselves financially secure at old age. Life is already a misery,” said Mr. Balamurugan.

At present, disabled youths are able to find jobs in computer centres, cell phone service centres, and labelling and packaging industries.

“But, the mentality of employers, in general, is that we must be given jobs out of sympathy. In fact, we work for several hours and are paid less, ranging from Rs. 60 to Rs. 100 per day. The government provides us monthly grant of Rs. 1,000. But, in the prevailing scenario, even hand to mouth existence has become difficult,” he said, adding, “Supreme Court directive has infused hope in our lives.”

The three per cent reservation norm was, in fact, specified by the Persons With Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights, and Full Participation) Act, 1995.

Thanks to the Supreme Court order, the benefits the Act envisions would surface henceforth, according to S. Durairaj, president of Erode District Differently Abled Welfare Association.

The Office of the Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities has in the midst of a survey to evaluate the kinds of jobs for which the disabled people can be recruited.

“We expect the Supreme Court order to fructify this month,” Mr. Durairaj said further.

Survey being undertaken to determine jobs suitable for disabled people