Time to pitch for a level playing field

Time to pitch for a level playing field

A voice imbued with confidence and cheerfulness receives the call on the other end. “I have been wondering myself, why do we need to dedicate a day to disability?” says Monika, a visually impaired voice trainer at a private company in Gurgaon, “We are at par with the world at large. If one really observes this day, it should be dedicated to mainstreaming physically challenged people without any social and economic means,” she adds.

Relating her experience, she says, “While I usually travel by office cab, I miss it on purpose on some days to commute by Metro on my own. It may take longer for me to reach, but once you train yourself, it is a very easy affair.”

Ahead of World Disability Day, a landmark judgement by the Supreme Court in October ruled in favour of a minimum three per cent reservation for the physically challenged in all Central and State Government jobs. But a polio-afflicted doctor at University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS) and GTB Hospital, calls it an eyewash.

“Going by my own experience, I sense a huge discrimination against people with
disabilities when it comes to applying for the posts under UPSC (Union Public Service Commission). In an online application for the advertised job this year, my application was rejected and a message popped up saying, ‘Sorry you are not suitable for this post,’” rues Dr Satender Singh.

Though he was later allowed to participate in the interviews, owing to an  intervention by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Singh says, “The requirement of posting a photograph in these applications for showing one’s disability enrages me. It should be completely done away with as it is a discriminatory practice. All eligible disabled candidates deserve a fair chance.”

Afflicted with locomotive disability, Abha Khetrapal, president of Cross the Hurdles, says that attaining all her degrees was a gargantuan task as she could only do so through correspondence after completing her schooling. “There is a need for barrier-free environs in all our universities and hospitals, at least”, she says, adding, “For instance, when a power wheelchair-bound person needs a constant push on the city roads, and most of our cinema halls do not offer ramps, then the concept of independent living gets shattered. We need to address these basic concerns.”Abha plans to pledge for personal goals and celebrate the World Disability  Day subtly rather than join in any celebration.

Comments (+)