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Appointment of Manoj Kumar as C.C.P.D, bolt from the blue for the disability sector

D.N.I.S. News Network – The appointment of Manoj Kumar, who was earlier rejected by the Cabinet Committee on Appointments (A.C.C.) and opposed by the Disabled Rights Group (D.R.G.), as the Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities (C.C.P.D.) comes as a cruel joke for India’s disability sector.

This also clearly re-asserts the fact that the Ministry has failed to take note of and in fact managed to systematically undermine the prospects of the candidate first selected by A.C.C. The appointment of Dr. H. C. Goel, a senior doctor at the Safdarjung Hospital and a person with disability was widely welcomed by the Indian disability sector. However, administrative reasons were cited and Dr. Goel could not join the office as C. C. P. D. despite being the first choice.

The tenure of the previous C.C.P.D. Dr. Uma Tuli had ended in April 2004. She was given a three months extension till July 2004, which was further extended by another three months till October 2004. In the meanwhile, in December 2004, an advertisement was given in the ‘employment’ sections of the newspapers to invite ‘applications’ for the post of the C.C.P.D..

D.R.G. immediately wrote to Meira Kumar, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, drawing her attention to the fact that C.C.P.D. being such an important position should not be reduced to a mere ‘post’. Moreover, the appointee should be a person with disability. She/he should be a person who is experienced, competent and a true representative of the disability sector. Therefore, advertising the ‘post’ in newspapers and that too in the ‘employment’ section will not serve the purpose; it will only bring down the dignity of the office. Very few senior disabled leaders would apply for the post on their own.

Despite all this, the Ministry went ahead with the process and shortlisted a nondescript individual from Bihar, a certain Manoj Kumar, as the next C.C.P.D.

D.R.G. took a serious note of the fact that despite a united opinion of the disability sector, the Ministry had ignored the basic demand for appointing a person with disability. They wrote to the Chairperson of United Progressive Alliance (U.P.A.) Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Concerns of the disability sector had an immediate affect. The A.C.C., taking note of the disability sector’s sentiment, rejected the Ministry’s first choice and instead selected Dr. Goel as the C.C.P.D. This was sometime in March 2005.

However, the Ministry could not stomach this turndown. They created all sorts of administrative hurdles and effectively Dr. Goel from taking over as the new C.C.P.D. This stalemate continued for almost five months. Finally, Dr. Goel gave up.

Now Miera Kumar has gone ahead with what she wanted to do in the first place, that is to appoint Manoj Kumar to the post of C.C.P.D.