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Times of India
20 July 2011
By R Vasundara
Chennai, India

The state government is now trying to take a count of the number of differently abled people employed in the government departments in Tamil Nadu. The move comes after several complaints by activists that the 3% quota in government jobs given for the disabled is not being filled up completely.

According to officials, inter-departmental memos have been circulated to over 80 government departments, requesting a count on the number of disabled people employed in that department. “It is being suspected that the number of people employed may not form 3% of the total personnel,“ said an official. “That is why we have received these memos. We have to file a reply before August 15 and a review meeting will be held after that to take stock of the situation.“

But even as the government is slowly waking up to the idea that its 3% quota may not have been filled completely yet, the final draft of the new Disability Act, 2011, which was published recently, states that the reservation quota for employment of the disabled in government agencies and departments has been increased to 7%.

But ensuring that the 3% reservation is fully realised is only the beginning, say activists. “There is still the issue of discrimination by recruiters on the various types of disabilities,“ said Deepak Thanumalaya, vice-president of Tamil Nadu Handicapped Federation Charitable Trust. “ Majority of the differently abled people recruited for government jobs are those with limb disabilities. There are very few government personnel who are visually challenged or with hearing or speech disability.

And any recruitment for the mentally challenged is non-existent now. However, under the current disability act, everybody, irrespective of the type of disability, is entitled to stake claim for jobs under the quota. ”

Nevertheless, the stock taking procedure is just a beginning. The new government already has a slew of welfare measures in the pipeline, which will be unveiled in the next few months.

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