Showing posts with label Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities. Show all posts

Monday, December 29, 2014

An article by Avinash Shahi on the successful stint of CCPD Mr. PK Pincha

A CCPD to be emulated

- by  Avinash Shahi
Shri Prasanna Kumar Pincha, whose two year stint as the Chief Commissioner of Persons with Disabilities (CCPD) ended on December 27 2014, has left an indelible ink on the disability movement in the country. The CCPD is appointed by the Government of India as per the Section 57 of the Persons with Disability Act, 1995. Being totally blind by birth, his visionary intent and foresightedness is palpable in his groundbreaking judgments
In February 2013, His Office issued the comprehensive uniform guidelines for conducting examinations for persons with disabilities. This Office Memorandum is hailed as pathbreaking judgment by any CCPD since the establishment of the office in 2001. Stories abound that Students with disabilities are often discriminated in the entrance examinations by the exam conducting authorities. 26 February 2013 judgment is a big step forward towards putting an end to such humiliation. As a result of that ruling, the Kerala High Court directed the University Grants Commission to provide NET exam question papers in Braill to all print-disabled examinees. Following that order, UGC has been providing question papers in Braille since June 2014.
His Office also took suo-motu notice against the ministry (MSJE) under which it operates. Mr Pincha summoned MSJE official for not reviewing the list of identified posts as stipulated under the section 32 of the PWD Act. Section 32 of the PWD calls upon the State to review/update the list of identified posts after every 3 years. In the order delivered on 23 November 2012, He directed the Ministry of Social Justice and empowerment to notify the updated list of identified posts and comply within one month. Consequently, the government of India published the newly updated list in early 2013.
In the whole of February this year, disability rights activists staged a successful countrywide movement. It aimed to prevent the passage of anti-disabled RPD Bill which government of that time seemed adamant to legislate in haste without discussion. Delhi Police even batoned peaceful protesters which attracted strong condemnation from the CCPD. Unexpectedly, when the last parliament session of the UPA II government got over, it again stepped-up its efforts to bring RPD Bill through an ordinance. When the ordinance route seemed imminent, Mr Pincha, went out of the box and wrote a letter to the prime minister expressing his reservation against the unconstitutional ordinance. His avowed commitment towards ensuring non-discrimination and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities was evident from the letter which he wrote to the former prime minister Manmohan Singh.
Mr Pincha’s pioneering legacy of disability advocacy is a solid Launchpad which needs to be strengthened by the prospective CCPD. During his tenure he has galvanized the recently established department of Disability Affairs’ which is responsible for dispersing funds and overseeing its actual implementation. His unblemished track record and unflinching commitment towards espousing the rights of persons with disabilities should serve as the eye-opener for the government. And next CCPD should also be appointed who is a person with disability of high repute.
Source: icareinfo(dot)in 

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Guidelines for Comments - Facilities for Govt. Employees with Disabilities for efficient performance of duties

Dear Colleagues,

Some of you would know that the Office of Chief Commissioner - Disabilities had organised a workshop titled "Consultative Workshop for framing draft guidelines for creation of non-disabling work environment for Government Employees with Disabilities to enable them to function smoothly in Government service."  on 28 May 2013 at IIC, Delhi. 

After the day long deliberations, wherein delegates from the disability sector, NGOs, government employees, national institutes etc.  participated. I had the opportunity to compile the draft on behalf of the CCPD office which was subsequently sent to the DoPT. Click here for a copy of the said draft hereinafter called CCPD's June 2013 Draft

Now, almost after 8 months, the DoPT has come out with the final version of the document titled "Guidelines for providing certain facilities in respect of persons with disabilities who are already employed in Govt. for efficient performance of their duties" dated 14th Feb 2014 which is also uploaded on their website inviting comments from Ministries/ Departments. Click here for a copy of the said DoPT draft dt 14 Feb 14

I can with reasonable credibility, having been a participant at the CCPD's Workshop on 28 May 2013, and having contributed and compiled the CCPD's draft can safely conclude today that the draft has been diluted to a great extent. Despite that, I believe notification of the guidelines is a good step and it will not only help integrating employees with disabilities at workplace in govt but also and offer guidance to private players. However, here is a brief evaluation of the guideline.

Good things that have been accepted in the DoPT draft:
  1. Placing the employee with an experienced employee for at least a month on resuming responsibilities of a post - that will allow him to pick up required skills to perform the job and also explore the adaptations needed in individual cases.
  2. Provision of assistive devices/ aids - good quality assistive devices, special chairs, software etc to improve the efficiency has been accepted in principle with a review every three years for upgraded versions. It requires the departments to provide for the cost of equipment or its reimbursement to the employee.
  3. Special casual leave of 15 days per annum - mainly for inpatient treatment in CGHS.  I hope this is in addition to the existing sick leaves and all other leaves.
  4. Every ministry/department to arrange training in "Disability Equality and Etiquette" for their liaison officers in consultation with CCPD. 
Some glaring issues that are visible on a cursory reading in the DoPT draft are:
  1. At the outset, the document doesn't come across as a rights giving document, it looks more like a doles giving document to the employees with disabilities.
  2. There are no budgetary provisions made nor there is any system created to evaluate or assess the needs of employees with disabilities. Hence the entire "amenities" are likely to be more subjective.
  3. It is seeking comments from ministries and not from general public or associations of employees with disabilities.
  4. It gives no legal sanctity to the disabled employee unions to discuss their issues as mandated by the UNCRPD.
  5. When compared with the CCPD draft,  you will realise how 21 page draft has been reduced in to 4 pager policy. This has resulted in either things getting  left out or made so vague that it may be difficult to seek its implementation.
  6. It misses out the reasonable accommodations needed for employees with disabilities to perform to the fullest.
  7. Due to limited applicability, it is feared by some quarters that it may not help employees in Banks etc. though I feel these would be equally applicable to employees in scheduled banks as well as those working under Ministry of Finance. 
  8. Also it is not indicated as a guiding document for the State governments who may have a job identification list for persons with disabilities different from the one notified by the Union of India. 
  9. The DoPT has sought comments from the ministries and is likely to be finalised without any final involvement of the stakeholders..... which is against the basic theme of UNCRPD - "nothing about us without us". That is what the government had done even with the RPD Bill 2013 when it was quietly pushed in to parliament in utmost secrecy without involving the stakeholders.
  10. In the Identification of jobs, there is inherent bias visible in the guidelines when  it says that each ministry ..... should identify the types of jobs which could be easily performed by them specially for group B, C & D...... Why should Group A be excluded? Do they think that disabled employees are not capable of holding Group A post or performing functions of Group A posts?

I am leaving it to you to compare the two drafts available on the links above, and see for yourself how can a well meaning document be turned into a weak policy document nurtured with a charity mindset!

Here is the coverage in The Hindu on the subject today:

18 Feb 2014, AARTI DHAR

Proposals include preferences in transfers, postings and accommodation, reimbursement for assistive devices and special casual leave

The Central government has come up with a set of draft guidelines on providing certain facilities to its employees with disabilities to help them perform their duties efficiently.

The guidelines, released on Monday, include proposals such as preferences in transfers, postings and accommodation, reimbursement for assistive devices and special casual leave. Additionally, all ministries and departments, subordinate offices, PSUs, government companies, and cantonment boards would also have to identify the type of jobs that such employees may easily perform.

As far as possible, persons with disabilities will be exempted from rotational transfer and will be allowed to continue in the same job where they would have achieved the desired performance. Preference in place of posting at the time of transfer or promotion may be given to the persons with disability.

The induction training — an essential component of an employee’s service requirement — of all employees should take place together. Job-specific post-recruitment and pre- promotion training programmes are required to be organised for persons with disabilities.

The guidelines instruct ministries and departments to provide or reimburse, within a specific time frame, the cost of special assistive devices in accordance with the prices fixed by them in consultation with various national institutes specialising in disability care.