Bhajan Singh Gurjar, 32, is a postgraduate in arts but he had all but given up hope of supporting his family through a decent job. This was because he is orthopaedically disabled and comes from a small farming family that could not help him acquire any special skills.
But a fortnight ago, Gurjar’s dream came true when the resident of Ganiyari in Rajgarh district, about 140 km from Bhopal, was given a job as a survey assistant in the state department of economics and statistics (DES).
This sudden change in Gurjar’s fortune wasn't due to some stroke of luck. The administration of Rajgarh district had a major role to play in his success.
"I never thought I would get a government job. But the training gave me the confidence to take the competitive test," he said, referring to a 45-day free training course provided to several disabled people by the administration at its Star Training Centre.
Gurjar is one of eight disabled candidates from the backward district who were selected by DES for posts of enumerators and survey assistants through an open selection process and that too in general category.
A total of 42 disabled candidates, selected through screening tests conducted in blocks and districts, were specially trained between October and December 2014. Apart from the eight selected candidates, another 10 were put on a waiting list by DES.
Jagdish Prasad, 24, of Niwania in Biaora block, was selected as a survey assistant and enumerator. He said he is now so confident that he will be taking the public service commission (PSC) test for better posts.
"I was doubtful about the training and its result, but now I can only profusely thank the district administration and collector Anand Sharma who made this possible," Sanjay Dangi of Motipura Chowki, another candidate selected by DES, told HT.
Sharma drew up the training programme after he found that disabled youngsters, even if they were educated, often sought financial aid during the weekly public hearing at the collectorate. "I thought it would be better to empower these youth rather than provide temporary help," Sharma told HT.
Data from Samagra (a state-level survey of residents) was used to identify educated disabled persons in development blocks and 100 of them were selected through a preliminary screening. Another screening was done at the district-level and 42 were selected for the residential training programme that was conducted with the support of the panchayat and social justice department.
"We are of the view that such persons do not need compassion but confidence-building and support. They can then do wonders," Sharma said. As a next step, he is planning to provide free training for the five best candidates to sit for the PSC test.