6th Pay Commission Recommendations)
Persons with disabilities in Central Government
4.8.1 Government of India has given various incentives for employing persons with disabilities. Three percent reservation is given to persons suffering from:-
Blindness or low vision;
Locomotor Disability or cerebral palsy;
Persons with minimum disability of 40% or higher are eligible. The 3% reservation in Group C & D is with reference to total strength of the cadre and in Group A & B, it is with reference to identified posts in the cadre. Existing percentage of persons with disabilities in various grades in the Government is as under: -
Group A 3.07%
Group B 4.41%
Group C 3.76%
Group D 3.18%
Facilities currently available
4.8.2 Apart from reservation in the initial appointment, other facilities are also available for these employees. These facilities apply during in-service employment and are briefly enumerated as under:-
(i) Relaxation in upper age limit of upto 10 years when recruitment is made through open competitive examinations and of 5 years when recruitment is made otherwise through competitive examination.
(ii) As far as possible, they are to be posted near their native region.
(iii) Exemption from typing test in case of clerical post.
(iv) Transport allowance at double the normal rates.
(v) An employee who acquires a disability during his service cannot be dispensed with or reduced in rank.
(vi) Promotion cannot be denied to a person merely on the ground of his/her disability.
(vii) Employees who are disabled or incapacitated on account of causes attributable to or aggravated by
Government service are eligible for special benefits under the CCS (Extraordinary) Pension Rules. Similar
provisions also exist for Defense Forces personnel.
4.8.3 Associations of employees with disabilities projected the following demands before the Commission:-
(i) Provision of necessary facilities in place of work so as to enable them to discharge their functions efficiently.
(ii) Making available the best prosthetics which would increase their efficiency.
(iii) Grant of liberal conveyance loans as vehicles have to be specifically modified in their case and are, therefore, costlier.
(iv) Better facilities for transportation.
4.8.4 Proper facilities for employees with disabilities are essential. Vide Notification dated 1st January, 1996, the Government has also notified guidelines for equal opportunities to the persons with disabilities. National Policy for Persons with Disabilities (enunciated in February, 2006) lists out various measures to be taken by the Government for providing gainful employment to persons with disabilities. United Nation’s
Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (61st Session held in December, 2006) also stresses the protection of the rights of these persons to just and favorable conditions of work and safe and healthy working conditions. Provisions for the benefit of persons with disabilities are, therefore, not only justified but also mandatory.
4.8.5 A package of benefits over and above the facilities currently available is, therefore, desirable for persons with disabilities working in the Central Government/UTs. The Commission has made recommendations giving special dispensation to this category in various Chapters of the Report. These recommendations are being recounted here. Additionally, some other benefits are also being recommended for persons with disabilities which should be implemented at the earliest :-
(i) Number of Casual Leave available for employees with disabilities should be 12 days as against 8 days for other employees.
(ii) Aids and appliances like dictaphones, braille writing equipments, CD player/tape recorder, low vision aids and other learning equipments that will enable the employees with disabilities to is charge their official functions better should invariably be made available free of charge.
(iii) The office environment should be made user friendly for employees with disabilities. This is also in accordance with the guidelines prescribed in the National Policy for Persons with Disabilities which provide for modifications in the designs of machinery work station and work environment necessary for the persons with disabilities to operate without barriers in the office. Specifically, the guidelines direct the Government to ensure that industrial establishments and offices provide disabled friendly work place for their employees with adequate safety standards being developed and strictly enforced. All Government offices have to follow these guidelines. Article 9 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities also enjoins upon the States to ensure accessible work place for these persons. These guidelines are contained in paras 50 and 51 of the National Policy of persons with disabilities and have been reproduced in Annex 4.8.1 of the Report. These guidelines should invariably be observed in all Government offices.
(iv) A higher interest subsidy (4%) has been recommended for automobile loans for employees with disabilities in the relevant chapter.
(v) Liberal flexi hours should be allowed for these employees. Concept of flexi week should be introduced in their case wherein these employees will need to put in the stipulated hours of duty every week which can be calculated with reference to their time of arrival and departure in the office and the number of days they actually attend the office. This is necessary because these employees face difficulties in commuting and also are susceptible to higher medical problems necessitating frequent hospital visits. As such, maintaining regular working hours in their case poses many problems that can be alleviated by liberal flexi hours. This will not have any adverse effect on their output or productivity as they will still need to put in the stipulated weekly hours of duty prescribed.
(vi) Women with disabilities have to face even higher problems while looking after their children. National
Policy for Persons with Disabilities mandates the Government to take up a programme to provide financial support to women with disabilities so that they may hire services to look after their children. Article 6 of the UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities also recognizes the multiple discriminations faced by women and girls with disabilities and provides that all States shall take appropriate measures in this regard. The Government, as a model employer, therefore, has a duty to provide for extra benefits to the women employees with disabilities especially when they have young children. In view of this, an extra allowance of Rs.1000 p.m. (to be called Special Allowance for Child Care) is recommended for women with disabilities. The allowance shall be payable from the time of child’s birth till the child is two years old. It will be payable for a maximum of two children. This allowance will go up by 25% every time the DA crosses 50%. Education allowance for disabled children of Government employees shall be payable at double the normal rates prescribed.
(vii) Higher Transport allowance at double the rates subject to a minimum of Rs.1000 p.m. for persons with disabilities employed in the Government has been proposed in the Chapter on Allowances other than Dearness Allowance.
(viii) Government of India has been assisting persons with disabilities in procuring modern prosthetic aids and appliances that reduce the effect of disabilities. National Policy for Persons with Disabilities provides for extension of the availability of these devices further with financial support being provided by the public sector banks for enterprises involved in the manufacture of high-tech assistive devices for persons with disabilities. Government has to ensure that all such employees are able to obtain the most modern devices available that will enhance their productivity by reducing the effect of disability. Medical Rules may need to be amended so as to allow the best possible prosthetic aids to the physically handicapped employees. Modification of the extant provisions to provide for Government bearing 50% of the cost exceeding the prescribed limit in case the employee with disabilities opts for a better quality prosthetic aid/appliances whose value exceeds the prescribed limit is, accordingly, being recommended.
(ix) A proper grievance redressal machinery for looking into the interest and welfare of persons with disabilities employed in the Government should be put in place in every office where one or more such employees are posted.
The aforesaid measures along with the extant provisions should go a long way in alleviating the problems faced by persons with disabilities employed in the Government.