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Growing applications at Kochi special employment stock exchange no reason to cheer

June 28, 2019

A new report points out that the number of people who have applied with the special employment stock exchange in Kochi has increased drastically in the last one year. This is no reason to cheer unless there is a growth in government projects and greater awareness about giving opportunities to people with disabilities, point out experts.

People with disabilities are no longer confining themselves to their homes but are actively seeking opportunities to be a part of the workforce. This is evident from a report in Kochi, Kerala which says that the number of disabled people enrolled with the special employment stock exchange has risen drastically in the last one year.

While the change in mindset is good news it is soon to celebrate. Data shows that the number of disabled people who enrolled for jobs in June 2018 was 6,366 and this rose to 7,194 by April 2019. This includes wheelchair users, people with orthopaedic and multiple disabilities as well as youth with autism. There are more men than women in this number.

Dr Mohammed Asheel, Executive Director, Kerala Social Security Mission calls this a welcome move.

More people with disabilities are ready to take up jobs and come out of their homes. The government had increased the job quota for disabled people to 4% in the RPWD Act, 2016 which is also in their favour. There is a rise in opportunities provided to disabled people. Their skills sets are being developed so they can contribute to the economy. People with disabilities who are getting an education and becoming qualified for different jobs is increasing, at least in Kerala. -Dr Mohammed Asheel, Executive Director, Kerala Social Security Mission.

But experts from the disability sector say this is not the complete picture. They point to the fact that the rise in applications from disabled people began after the launch of the state government’s Kaivalya Project in 2017. However, the project, which aims to provide self-employment opportunities to people with disabilities never took off successfully. Many eligible applicants still waiting for the many promises made to be fulfilled.

Under Kaivalya, the government is to provide a certain amount of funds for applicants to start their own businesses. They also need to enrol in the special employment stock exchange which explains the drastic rise in applications.

“I know many people who enrolled for the project but never got any benefits from the government", says disability rights activist Jomy Joseph. "Disabled people are to be trained and given a certain amount to start their own businesses but the people who have registered with the employment stock exchange are yet to receive the benefits. Obviously the applications are going to pile up and numbers will increase.

NGOs, counsellors and government officials are working towards creating awareness about workplace inclusion and this is showing results with many restaurant chains and private companies responding positively. What can't be ignored is the huge backlog of applications that need to be cleared so government-supported projects for disabled people can take off.

ALSO READ: Disabled entrepreneurs in Kerala raise concerns, demand inclusion & support



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