No equal opportunities for PwDs in Odisha government offices yet

No government department except the Social Security & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) has notified an equal opportunity policy for PwDs.
Every department has to appoint a liaison officer to look after the recruitment of PwDs at block, district and state-levels.
Every department has to appoint a liaison officer to look after the recruitment of PwDs at block, district and state-levels. Photo | EPS

BHUBANESWAR: Eight years back when the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) Act was brought into effect, it mandated all government establishments to notify an equal opportunity policy for PwDs. But in Odisha, no government department except the Social Security & Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) has notified any such policy.

The policy is aimed at providing employment to PwDs as per their eligibility by identifying positions suitable for them, amenities to be provided to help them discharge their duties effectively, training and promotion, provision of assistive devices and barrier-free accessibility among other things. The law also requires the government establishment to register the policy with the state commissioner for PwDs. Every department has to appoint a liaison officer to look after the recruitment of PwDs at block, district and state-levels.

However, following a recent review meeting, the SSEPD department revealed that except it, no other government department has notified an equal opportunity cell since the Rights of the Persons with Disabilities Act was promulgated.

It has asked all the departments for formulation of the policy and its registration with the commission. Further, under Rule 8 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Rules, 2017, the departments have been asked to publish the policy on their websites and display them prominently on their premises.

Earlier this year, the Orissa High Court had asked the state government to ensure that the existing PwD employees in government offices are given four per cent reservation in promotions as per the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. However, this has also not been implemented, alleged members of Odisha Vikalanga Manch.

Manch president Niranjan Behera said after the high court, they had moved the chief minister’s office thrice over the four per cent reservation in promotion for PwD government employees. “But the file was returned. We met SSEPD Minister Nityananda Gond recently over the issue. Hopefully, it will be implemented now,” he added.

SSEPD Minister Nityananda Gond said the issues related to PwD employment will be reviewed soon and necessary steps taken to do the needful.

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