Few govt, pvt offices opt for pro-disability policy
Two years after a law on rights for persons with disabilities came into effect, 1,255 state government establishments and 11 private establishments in Delhi have notified and registered their Equal Opportunity Policy (EOP).
The policy, which is meant to ensure that workplaces are accessible in every way, is mandatory under the Rights for Persons with Disabilities Act.
“For private establishments, the numbers are abysmally low. In the absence of any estimates, it is also difficult to say what the total number should ideally be,” said State Commissioner (Delhi) for Persons with Disabilities T D Dhariyal, the authority that oversees notification and registration of EOPs by government and private establishments in the state.
According to Dhariyal, there are around 1,000 state government establishments yet to notify and register the EOPs.
“We have asked the government for figures pertaining to private establishments that are associated or registered with them in any capacity, so that notices can be sent to them on time. But I fail to see why so many government departments and establishments are yet to notify and register their EOPs,” he said.
Among the 1,255 government establishments that have notified and registered their EOPs are government schools,followed by a wide range of government offices. Among the 11 private establishments, several are subsidiaries of a company that operates a popular shopping mall in the city, shows records accessed by Hindustan Times.
On May 20, the Delhi government set up an advisory committee to guide government departments and establishments on drafting EOPs other than helping them adhere to all aspects of the Rights for Persons with Disabilities Act, senior government officials said.
“The major problem is that the law makes it mandatory for government and private establishments to implement EOP but does not mention a deadline for it,” said Satendra Singh, member of the advisory committee.
According to Delhi’s social welfare minister Rajendra Pal Gautam, whose department acts as a conduit between the government and the advisory committee, there are two factors – awareness and will.
“The process has to be organic, which means establishments drafting EOPs should know why they are doing so instead of operating under pressure. Generating awareness took a long time and also there was a lack of will on part of some officials who would not prioritise the matter. Now, several departments are simultaneously working on their EOPs.”,” Gautam said.