ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Challenges of Persons with Severity of Disabilities

Evidence from the Indian Labour Market

The paper maps the present status of employment opportunities for persons with severity of disability with an emphasis on their factors of labour force participation and the likelihood of employment in public or private enterprises. The paper employs the two latest comparable databases of the National Sample Survey on disability. The findings reveal that although the Indian Constitution and legislation have provisions for equal rights, disability remains an axis of social discrimination, inequality, and exclusion from employment opportunities. The odds of employment in private enterprises are against the persons with disabilities.

The “decent work for all” has been promoted through Sustainable Development Goal 8 for inclusive and sustainable economic growth (United Nations nd). Work or employment is essential in everyone’s life, especially persons with disabilities (PwDs). It provides a sense of accomplishment as well as a source of income. It improves their quality of life socially and economically, incorporates them into the mainstream, and ensures integrity and respect in the family and community. They are often isolated from ordinary life, only to remain stereotyped, vulnerable, and marginalised. PwDs are also primarily denied access to economic resources such as job opportunities, sustainable wages, and a chance for their 4% of seats reserved for the disabled in government jobs. Article 27 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) recognises “the right of persons with disabilities to work, on an equal basis with others; this includes 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” (United Nations 2006). The disabled population constitutes 15% of the world population (WHO 2011). India has 2.68 crore PwDs, of which 1.5 crore are male and 1.18 crore were female (MoSPI 2016).

Almost all jobs can be done by those with a disability, provided there is a proper working environment. However, many studies in both developed and developing countries show that the disabled workers have considerably lower rates of jobs and much higher unemployment rates than those without disabilities (WHO 2011). Low employment rates are the result of many factors—including disability-related work limitations, lower levels of education and experience, discrimination by employers in hiring or provision of accommodations, difficulty in sustaining employment after the onset of a disability, and lack of access to necessary support services. Lower labour force participation rates are one of the main mechanisms through which disability may lead to poverty. In 2006, labour market participation of the disabled population was 38.8% against 64% of the non-disabled population (Mitra and Sambamoorthi 2006). This unemployment varies based on the sociopolitical and legal framework of the country. In countries where there is sound civil rights legislation or where there is a legal provision for the population of disabilities, the ratio of employment is twice than that of people without disabilities. And the situation is dreadful in places where there is no provision for such laws (Macias et al 2001).

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Updated On : 9th Nov, 2022
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