Employment for DisabledEven though people with disability constitute a significant 5 to 6 percent of the population of India, their needs for employment remain unsatisfied, in spite of the implementation of the People with Disabilities Act, which reserves 3% of all categories of jobs in the Government sector for persons with disability. Of the approximately 70 million people with disabilities in India, only about 0.1 million have succeeded in finding employment in the industries till now.
This study was conducted by the National Center for Promotion of Employment for people with disability, an organization working as an interface between the Government, industry, non–governmental organizations and international agencies, to promote employment opportunities for people with disabilities in India. The aim of the study was to identify the current practices of Indian industry with regard to the employment of people with disability, three years after the People With Disabilities Act was passed. This Act, as mentioned earlier reserves three per cent of all categories of jobs in the public sector industries for persons with disability, and incentives for public and private sector companies, that have at least 5% of their workforce comprising persons with disability.
For this study, a sample of 150 corporate houses was chosen, by including in the sample all the corporate houses listed in the ‘Super 100 ranking of the corporate sector’ by Business India, the leading business magazine of India. The listing was carried out by the magazine by ranking Indian industry on four parameters, such as sales, profits, assets and market capitalization for the financial year 1997–98. Twenty companies in this sample were public sector companies, while 65 were private sector Indian companies and 15 were multinational companies. A questionnaire which elicited the total number of employees of the company, the number of persons with disability who were employed and the types of disabilities found in them, was mailed to all the 100 companies in the sample, in January 1999. The responses were collected by the end of March 1999.
Employment for DisabledResults
Of the 100 companies to whom the questions were sent, only 70 responded. The total number of employees in these companies was 7,96,363 of which 3,160 were persons with disability including the visually impaired – 9.87%, those suffering from loco–motor impairment – 70.57%, speech and hearing impaired – 8.26%, the mentally retarded – 0.66%, those with other disabilities – 1.87%, consisting of 0.4% of the employees. Among the companies who responded, 50 (71.43%) companies had employed persons with disability.
Employment for DisabledIn the sample of companies selected for the study, the rate of employment of persons with disability was only 0.4% of the total workforce, only 13% of what the People With Disabilities Act prescribes as desirable. Out of the 70 respondent companies, 20 do not employ any persons with disability at all, while in 40 companies the percentage of the workforce with disabilities ranges between 0.01% to 0.99%, and in only 10 companies they were above 1%. Many public sector companies also do not employ persons with disability, even though it is legally binding on them to fill 3% in all categories of jobs with people with disability. No company in the sample employed persons with disability above the 2% level, way below the 5% level to claim the incentives guaranteed to them if they employed persons with disability. People with Disability with loco–motor disability were the group most commonly employed, probably because they are less severely disabled, and people with mental retardation are rarely employed.
This study provides the evidence that even after three years of implementing a policy of job reservation for persons with disability through a law, the targets achieved fall short grossly, to 13% of the desirable level. Even this level of achievement is only fulfilled through the employment of people with a relatively mild degree of disability.
- Government of India. The Persons With Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection Of Rights And Full Participation) Act. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, New Delhi, 1995.
- Super 100 Ranking of the Corporate Sector, Business India, Mumbai 1998, November 16: 97–98.