Come April and private companies along with government ministries and departments will need to answer a series of questions pertaining to rights of persons with disabilities.
From now on, companies would have to answer questions like these: How many differently-abled employees do you have? Have you identified specific jobs suitable for certain types of disabilities? Do you provide them assistive devices including computers? Do they have accessible toilets and lifts?
- Every private company, institution, and government department will have to frame an equal opportunity policy specifying how it is employing differently-abled persons and providing a proper work environment to them.
- This has been made mandatory under the rules framed to operationalise the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, which was passed by Parliament in December 2016.
- The equal opportunity policy will have a list of jobs identified for persons with disabilities, the manner of selection of persons with disabilities for various posts, facilities such as special leave, residential accommodation or transfers, and appointment of a trained person to handle recruitment of differently-abled persons.
- The policy will have to be published on the website and in the annual report and records maintained by the organisation. The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DePwD) has framed the rules and will seek public comments before notifying them.
- The rules mandate a grievance redressal mechanism. In case of a complaint, a differently-abled person can approach the chief commissioner or state commissioner for persons with disabilities. The complaint will have to be disposed of within 60 days.
- Disability experts said that such a policy will have a positive impact on employment opportunities for the differently-abled. “This will directly affect employment of differently-abled, especially in the private sector,” said disability rights activist Javed Abidi. “Every company would like to portray itself as doing proactive work for the differently-abled. When a company has to publish it periodically on its website, it brings more transparency.”