DNIS News Network - A one-day meeting to review the 'Draft Incentives Policy to promote employment opportunities for disabled people in corporate sector in India' was held on August 11 in New Delhi.
Organised by National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People (NCPEDP) the day brought together disability activists from around the country. It was funded with support from the European Community.
Talking on prevalence of inter-related employment and welfare systems in European countries, Ms Alana Officer, country director, Handicap International outlined its sharp contrast with the standards and policies that exist in India. Quoting example she said, "In United Kingdom, the employer is paid £75 per week, to employ a disabled person for more than six months. And in Germany, the wages of disabled people are subsidized by the government, up to 80 per cent for a maximum three years."
Javed Abidi, executive director, NCPEDP said, "the Disability Act was passed eight years ago and the incentives for the private sector to encourage them to add the differently able to their workforce have not been announced. Under Section 41 of the Disability Act 1995, incentives have to be provided to the public and private sector to ensure that at least five per cent of their workforce is composed of persons with disabilities. So after extensive discussion with various stakeholders, we have prepared a draft incentive policy that we would be sharing with the Government. It is unbelievable that less than one per cent of the disabled population in India is employed, while in China, 70 per cent of the disabled population is part of the workforce."
Abidi said, "We did not want a quota system that would compromise merit. We are asking for a level playing field. Many a time people have been rejected on the basis of their disability and not because of they are not good enough."
Agreeing to the urgency to implement the draft incentives policy, the delegates felt their next move should be to mobilized disability organisations throughout India and lobby with the different authorities, in order to promote employment for disabled amongst corporate and other establishments.