Employment Scenario of Disabled
While the dismal economy scenario of India makes it tough for many people to get employment, for persons with disabilities, it becomes tougher.
Livelihood Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, a report brought out by the UNDP and Planning Commission reveals work participation rates for males and females with disabilities in the country are much lower than for the general population. The percentage of general population (males) participating in the work force stands at 51.7 per cent and for females it stands at 25.6 per cent whereas the comparative work participatiOn rates for the disabled population stands at a dismal 25.8 per cent for males (almost half that of general population) and at 8.7 per cent for females.
The report further says work participation rate is)ow among women as compared to males and in urban areas as compared to rural areas.
It was pointed that high work participation rate in rural areas is due to the fact that agriculture, which is the main occupation in rural areas, has a capacity to absorb large chunk of disabled both educated and uneducated. Lowest work Participation rate is observed among urban disabled women.
The report also reviewed government employment schemes like Swamjayanti Gram Swarozgar Yojana (SGSY), Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (SGRY), MGNREGA etc. and the impact of 3 per cent reservation for differently-abled persons as mandated under law.
Persons with disabilities face serious barriers in getting jobs. Unequal access to education and training programmes is a major challenge. Hence, the report suggests, they need to be able to learn about and obtain jobs, which they can physically access and work at despite their disability. They, also face social and psychological barriers – ignorance, myths, prejudice, stereotyping and misconceptions about their capacities, acceptance by fellow workers, and low self-esteem, fear and over-protective families. Bringing about changes to existing infrastructure is a key need to improving access for the physically disabled, with employers also often reluctant to provide accessibility and supportive facilities.
According to official figures, 2.13 per cent of the population is suffering from some kind of disability. Of the total disabled persons about 75 per cent reside in rural areas while remaining 25 per cent reside in urban areas.
In India, it is a presumption that PwDs are not seen as a human resource who could contribute and participate in nation building. Their talentiskills and potential mostly remain untapped, under-utilized or under developed, the report says.
The study has drawn up a set of recommendations on possible ways of livelihood improvement for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) which will be useful for policy makers, agencies and practitioners. All women and men with disabilities can and want to be productive members of society.
In both developed and developing countries, promoting inclusive societies and employment opportunities for PwDs require improved access to basic education, vocational training relevant to labour market needs and jobs suited to their skills, interests and abilities, with adaptations as needed.
The findings are based on data collected from ten States (Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal) through primary and second.ary sources and field visits.