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Government jobs open to people with learning disabilities, autism, acid attack victims

In a major step, government jobs in India have now been opened to people with learning disabilities, autism and victims of acid attacks.

Experts call this a major shift in attitude towards disabled

Nine months after the Right of Persons with Disabilities Act was enacted, the central government has spelt out the rules for employing the disabled. It has increased the reservation from 3% to 4% and reserved government jobs for persons with autism, Down syndrome, intellectual disabilities, specific learning disabilities and acid attack victims.

The department of personnel and training (DoPT) has also framed rules for reserving, advertising and filling up of government vacancies across all groups. It has directed all ministries to follow them starting this year.

The memorandum specifies 1% reservation for people with low vision and blindness, 1% for the deaf and hard of hearing, 1% for locomotor disability including cerebral palsy, people cured of leprosy,dwarfism, acid attack victims and muscular dystrophy, and 1% for autism, intellectual disability, specific learning disability and mental illness. If a person has multiple disabilities, he would compete with persons in the third category with intellectual disabilities.

Activists have called it a landmark move. Leading disability rights activist Javed Abidi has called it a paradigm shift for India as for the first time the country has gone beyond the traditional definition of disability.

The employment rules also specify a procedure to exempt an establishment from reservation for the disabled. If a ministry wants to exempt any cadre fully or partly from the provisions of reservation, it will have to refer to the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD).

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