Persons with physical disability are now entitled for jobs in railway technical services for the first time.
At Railways Minister Mamata Banerjee’s initiative, the railways have given up the exemption it had sought from the Persons with Disabilities (equal opportunities, protection of rights and full participation) Act 1995. The act requires government departments to reserve 3 percent job vacancies for disabled person.
Except for the Railways Protection Force, disabled candidates have now become eligible for jobs in the technical services including those of loco pilots, guards and station masters.
Candidates are now eligible for direct recruitment through the Union Public Service Commission for all class-I jobs in the technical services.
“Restrictions on jobs for non-gazetted technical posts remain, but it is significant that the entry doors for such candidates have been opened for the first time for disabled candidates”, a ministry official said.
Banerjee’s initiatives in the matter have, ironically, raised the hackles of another set of handicapped persons: The 10,000-odd individuals who run Public Call Outlet across the country’s railway stations.
“The minister can’t have two sets of standards on the same issue. A benevolent attitude for recruitment of disabled in railway jobs and an indifferent approach towards handicapped PCO owners”, said Vineet Sharma, Viklang PCO association.