Is a schizophrenic person suitable for a government job? Or, for that matter, a person suffering from epilepsy or bipolar disorder? Two ministries of the NDA government have different views about it.
The ministry of social justice and empowerment has proposed that under the Right of Persons with Disabilities Bill, 2014, mentally ill and mentally challenged people should be provided one per cent reservation in employment and education. The department of personnel and training (DoPT) of the personnel ministry has, however, objected to the proposal questioning how suitability of posts could be determined for such candidates.
The social justice ministry does not agree with the DoPT’s views and has taken up the issue with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The ministry’s proposal is part of its recommendation to increase reservation for the disabled from 3 to 5% under the draft bill that would replace the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995.
Incidentally, the Prime Minister also holds charge of the ministry of personnel, public grievances and pensions. Social justice ministry officials recently gave a presentation on the bill to the Prime Minister.
The draft bill proposes to increase the categories of disabilities from 7 to 19, to include cerebral palsy, dwarfism, and autism, among others. Mental illness is defined as mental disorder other than being mentally challenged and includes diseases like epilepsy, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
The bill also seeks to treat acid attack victims as disabled persons and proposes reservation for them in government jobs and education institutions. Presently, there is 3% reservation for the disabled, 1% each for the physically, visually and hearing-impaired persons.
There are about 27 million people with disabilities in the country. The proposed bill is aimed at securing and enhancing their rights and entitlements, including friendly access to public buildings, hospitals and modes of transport.
“The DoPT has red-flagged our proposal. We have sent its views to the PMO,” an official of the department of empowerment of persons with disabilities (DEPWD) told Hindustan Times.
In January, the Prime Minister had set up a group of ministers headed by home minister Rajnath Singh to examine the provisions of the proposed legislation that will replace the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995. The recommendations of the GoM have been sent to the PMO for consultations.