Employment in retail boosts economic growth for persons with disabilities

With the Indian economy growing leaps and bounds, a major challenge for India is to achieve inclusive development.

One of the primary facets of inclusive development is to ensure that a significant number of persons with disabilities have the opportunity to be active and productive members of society.

As per the Census carried out in 2011, India has about 2.68 crore people with disabilities. That is almost 2.2% of the population. The World Health Organisation (WHO) believes the figure is much higher at 7%. 64% of this disabled population is non-working, as compared to an average 9% unemployment rate for the non-disabled population.

It is widely understood that employment offers various benefits to people. However, in the case of people with disabilities (PwDs), there can be a significant positive impact.

Pankh - Wings of Destiny is an initiative by Trust for Retailers & Retail Associates of India (TRRAIN). It was created to train Persons with Disabilities( PwD), provide them employment opportunities in the retail industry, and help them live a life of dignity. The initiative seeks to promote inclusive growth in retail by training and placing 10,000 youth every year, by 2020.

The program has successfully trained more than 7,500 persons with disabilities in India. Interactions with hearing, speech, vision ,and orthopedically impaired employees in different job roles from service associates to cashiers have led to both sensitization and appreciation from customers as well.

Accenture in association with TRRAIN, conducted a comprehensive assessment to study the holistic impact of Pankh on the PwD ecosystem. This included PwD trainees, families, NGO partners, retail employers, and customers.

A comprehensive framework was developed and findings were gathered from several stakeholders using an appropriate mode of survey administration.

  • Persons with Disabilities witnessed a more than triple increase in their salaries post the Pankh training
  • 69% of students also observed a 42% increase in their family income and jumped their income brackets
  • 52% candidates witnessed an increase in their socio-economic class (SEC).
  • 66% candidates have shifted from becoming non-salaried to earning members of society.
  • 79% increase in employment generation post-Pankh.

Increasing the employment rate among disabled people will help promote social inclusion and reduce negative attitudes from others. PwD candidates offer employers a unique advantage, by helping them strengthen, sensitize, and diversify their workplace. They bring in creativity, innovation, commitment, and varied perspectives on how to confront challenges.

They are also immensely loyal to their employers, and thereby help employers reduce costs related to hiring and training. Initiatives like disability employment are also known to improve the productivity, morale, and engagement levels of their colleagues.

If you are a person with disability seeking a career in retail, write to - info@trrain.org.

NGOs and organizations looking to empower persons with disabilities can also contact - info@trrain.org.

ALSO READ: Hiring disabled people makes good business sense say India's top companies at the 2018 Retail Inclusion Summit

To read the PANKH report Click Here