Soon, the country’s estimated 40 million people with disabilities will be able to track job opportunities at the click of a mouse.
www.jobability.org will be launched tomorrow at a national conference on livelihood for persons with disability held by business chamber Ficci. The site is designed to be friendly for the disabled and will be exclusively for use by such people. The portal, the first such initiative in South Asia that will see top companies sign up to offer jobs, will have resumes of people from across the country who suffer from any disabilities.
“The idea of the portal is to encourage corporates to sign up and offer jobs to people with disabilities. It will be a live portal where big companies can identify people with skills who can be employed for specific services. The disabled can upload their CVs online and they will be screened by officials before they are connected with the jobs available. The plan is to give an equal opportunity to people with disabilities,” said Aqueel Merchant, senior vice-president of Accenture, which is launching the portal in collaboration with the UK-based Leonard Cheshire Disability International.
Leonard is working in India for inclusive workplace and livelihood options for people with disabilities.
A 2008 report of the World Bank found that in India, 85 per cent of the women with disabilities are unemployed; it was 44 per cent for men. At present, there is a 3 per cent reservation for the disabled in government jobs, which many have said is not enough.
“The problem is that government posts have been identified for the disabled quota. This doesn’t mean that they cannot be hired on merit in posts that haven’t been reserved. People need to be made aware that the disabled can compete for any job long as they meet the criteria for that particular job. This reservation doesn’t mean that the disabled can only apply and qualify for only those posts,” said Prasanna Kumar Pincha, chief commissioner for persons with disabilities in the ministry of social justice and empowerment.
The World Bank report, which prodded activists to push for the formation of the portal along with Accenture as part of the firm’s corporate social responsibility, has found that people with disabilities were among the most excluded in Indian society. Low literacy and employment rates and widespread social stigma have left the disabled behind.
“Employment of people with disabilities fell from 43 per cent in 1991 to 38 per cent in 2002, despite the country’s economic growth. In the public sector, despite 3 percent reservation since 2003, only 10 per cent of the posts have been identified as suitable. Also, the quota policy covers just three types of disabilities — loco motor (movement), hearing and visual,” said Mahesh Chandrashekhar, international policy and campaign manager at Leonard.
“The situation is far worse in the private sector. In the late 1990s, the employment of people with disabilities in large private firms was only 0.3 per cent of the workforce,” he said, adding that it was imperative that a big corporate take up the reigns of the portal as it will be more accountable.
The World Bank data also said that among multinational companies, employment of the disabled was a mere 0.05 per cent.