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Govt opens up jobs for people with mental illness, learning disabilities, autism & acid attack victims

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New Delhi: The Centre has reserved government jobs for people with learning disabilities, autism and victims of acid attacks, four years after it decided to extend benefit of reservation to new categories. The government has identified jobs, including Group A and B posts, for the new category of differently-abled. The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD) has notified new government posts earmarking for the first time certain posts for autistic persons and those suffering from learning disabilities.

The enactment of Right of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016, had increased reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for disabled from 3 to 4% and the number of benchmark disabilities from seven to 21. An expert committee under DEPwD secretary was formed to review the government posts which could be opened up for the new categories of differently-abled. The expert committee finalised its report in November 2019. The government has approved it and has now notified the new jobs which would be opened up. While acid attack victims would be able to hold any Group A, B, C and D posts, specific posts have been opened up for those identified as suffering with mild autism spectrum disorder.

These include laboratory-based posts like senior scientists in animal nutrition, veterinary, fish pathology museum curator, plant protection officer, associate director (e-governance), lecturers and associate professors. Jobs have also been opened for those suffering with mental illnesses. These include senior Group A and B posts like professors, assistant professors, senior marketing officers, dean of colleges and scientists. There are specific job descriptions that include performing the work in well-lit rooms and provision of aids and assistive devices so that the differently-abled can perform their work effectively. The government has identified more jobs after seven years. The last such exercise was done in 2013. “This is the first time that jobs have been identified for new categories of disabilities, which were included in 2016,” said a senior government official.

India had started reserving government jobs for differently-abled in 1977. However, they were eligible for only Group C and D posts and not top posts till 1995 when the number of disabilities was increased from 3 to 7 and the reservation was extended to groups A, B, C and D. It is only now that the government has moved to open jobs to other disabilities. With the identification, this would be the first time that India would open jobs for differently-abled with mental illness, autism, Down’s syndrome, specific learning disabilities and intellectual disabilities.

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