The Centre plans to give a minimum stipend of Rs 26,000 to every disabled person from rural areas who gets a job through the government’s skill development programme, an incentive aimed at helping a section that faces widespread discrimination in employment.
“Be it the private sector or a government job, a disabled candidate will get these benefits,” said rural development secretary Amarjit Sinha.
This is the latest in a slew of recent moves by the government and judiciary to reach out to the disabled, who form 2.1% of India’s population. This is a one-of-its-kind scheme where a salaried person will continue to draw a government allowance.
With these incentives, the government hopes it will encourage rural disabled people to join skill development courses that hope to turn a vast majority of unskilled and unemployed Indians into productive people with jobs.
The incentives include an accommodation allowance of Rs 3000 for two to six months and a one-time uniform allowance of Rs 3000 because the government says disabled people have a higher chances of soiling their clothes. Other than that, Rs 5000 will be given to buy wheel chairs or calipers and Rs 2000 for teaching aids such as reading software. An additional Rs 5,000 will be allocated for attending job melas or outreach programmes and Rs 5,000 as one-time travel cost.
India has more than 21 million disabled people but hostile social attitudes and poor implementation of legal benefits has meant persons with disabilities struggle to access public spaces and are rarely seen in senior professional positions.
The rural ministry submitted its proposals to the common norms committee of the skill development ministry to take the final call. “We have also identified areas where disabled people can work easily and deliver best results. If given proper training, they can get better jobs and earn more money,” said Sinha.
This comes months after Parliament enacted a law on persons with disabilities that conferred several rights and entitlements to the community. “Department of empowered persons with disabilities may kindly explore the feasibility for providing for the provisions as part of any skill development provisions,” says a note of the rural development ministry.
Earlier this year, the Supreme Court also held that disabled people were entitled to reservations in promotions for government jobs.
The government has also asked different departments to make offices and training centres more disabled-friendly.