Saturday, 1 February 2014

Bag of hot air from west to east

The USA and India have been referred to, usualy by themselves, as the two greatest dedmocracies in the world. They are both parties to the UNCRPD (the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities), whose Article 27.1 says about `Work and Employment' says:

States Parties recognize the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others; this includes the right to the opportunity to gain a living by work freely chosen or accepted in a labour market and work environment that is open, inclusive and accessible to persons with disabilities. States Parties shall safeguard and promote the realization of the right to work, including for those who acquire a disability during the course of employment, by taking appropriate steps, including through legislation, ...

And here is what they have done towards this end:

USA: According to a report in Facebook on President Obama's State of the Union address, he said that he will issue an executive order mandating that federal contractors pay their workers no less than $10.10 per hour, while the plan apparently excludes people with disabilities who currently earn less than the federal minimum of $7.25 per hour. Employers — including many with federal government contracts — can obtain special permission from the U.S. Department of Labor to pay those with disabilities less than minimum wage under a provision that’s been in place since the 1930s.

India: A draft (circa 2011) in circulation of the so-caled Rights of Persons with Disabilities, 3% of Government jobs would be reserved for PWD, while apparently only 0.21% of the jobs have actually been given to PWD. And there is a new draft of RPD (version that saw light of day in late December 2013) which now promises 5% reservation of posts to PWD - but you should understand the way this formula is to be applied: some `higher wisdom' has identified which manner of jobs can be given to people with what kind of disability) and for each of those disabilities (exactly 5 of which have been identified), 1% of the identified jobs can be given to PWD - so will this `new improved' draft result in an improvement of the old 0.21% figure.


  1. Prof. Sunder
    This is not related to your above post or may be it is. but I want to know how do disabled people operate bank accounts? I ask because my relative suddenly afflicted with disability, was no longer able to sign. Even after verifying the thumb impression, the bank refused to honour cheques. So twice a year or so, we have to take the patient to the bank and request a demand draft (not without going through the usual "system not working, come tomorrow" routine). Net banking, and ATM cards are denied by the branch manager – because of the thumb impression. The patient is not illiterate and is now able to sign again – but the bank will not let them sign because now the thumb impression is being used. And for this thumb impression the branch manager demands personal presence of the patient every time.

    The account cannot be converted to joint because the branch manager says that pension cannot go to a joint account. I do not know how much of this is upheld by rules and laws. Asking around friends has not yielded much information.

    So if a fully capable and educated person becomes disabled and their pension is the only source of income, then they practically cannot claim it, since the bank cites rules which they are unable to show in writing. God forbid if any one is hospitalized or needs money urgently, how does one ensure personal presence of that person at the bank? I am wondering how do other people operate their accounts?

    1. How about if you start a separate joint account with him, and have him go through a thumb-print ritual during one of your rare visits to the bank in signing a letter saying he wants x number of rupees transfarred on, say, the 5th of every month, from his account to the joint account? And maybe they will accept a regular signature on papers pertaining to the joint account. Meanwhile I am asking my friends in the disability sector to put their heads to the problems mentioned by you. Meanwhile, why don't you send me an email to so I'll know where to write if I have some more sound suggestions from my friends to communicate to you.

  2. I have emailed you. Look forward to suggestions