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Kerala government reserves 4% jobs for disabled people in government-aided educational institutions

When it comes to providing opportunities for disabled people, the government of Kerala has always been a step ahead. Be it disability pension, educational scholarships, marriage assistance or unemployment allowance, most of their schemes are implemented well.

In another major move, the state government has now decided to reserve 4% jobs for disabled people in government-aided educational institutions.

K K Shailaja, Minister for Social Justice, Women and Child Development, has confirmed this to the media.

According to The Persons of Disabilities Act, 1995, there was a 3% quota in government sector jobs for disabled people. There was no mention of the types of disabilities eligible and this was creating confusion. Only seven types of were highlighted in the Act.

The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 has expanded the scope with 21 types of disabilities. Authorities in Kerala are looking into the posts to which disabled people, according to their disabilities and physical functioning, can be appointed.

So what is a government-aided institution? These are institutions owned by private management, but are supported by the government. Any institution that gets this aid must provide job opportunities. Currently, there are 290 such institutions in Kerala.

We are trying to implement this as soon as possible after identifying what all jobs can be provided according to a disabled person's functional abilities and physical requirements. This new step from Kerala government is going to open doors for more people with disabilities. This is truly a historical move. The works are already on and we will be monitoring it as well- Dr Mohammed Asheel, Executive Director, Kerala Social Security Mission.

Even though the RPWD Act, 2016 says that 5% jobs in the private sector are to be earmarked for people with disabilities, this is not enforced. This leaves it to the discretion of every employer.

"In most of the aided schools, visually impaired people are hired in as teachers. In fact, it is quite rare that a wheelchair user gets a job as a teacher. There are many factors to it. One of the main reasons is lack of accessibility in schools. When a wheelchair user is hired as a teacher, the campus must be disabled friendly. Most of the times, schools do not have that kind of infrastructure. Hence, they need to start from the basics to make sure that disabled people are provided equal opportunities", says Jomy Joseph, a leading disability rights activist from Kerala.

ALSO READ: Sign language interpreters at job interviews plays a crucial role. Here is why.

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