In a major boost for employment of persons with intellectual disabilities and mental illness, the Central Government has published a comprehensive list of jobs in the public sector that are identified as suitable for them. Now, whenever Central and State Governments and public sector enterprises advertise jobs on this list, it is legally mandatory for them to make reservations for this category of persons. The Government has taken a progressive view, as the list of identified posts extends from the executive level “Group A and B” jobs in administrative, scientific, academic and technical domains, to clerical / secretarial “Group C” jobs, to the manual skill “Group D” jobs, such as peons, office assistants, bell men and cleaners. This crucial and long-awaited step will go a long way in mainstreaming of persons with autism, learning disabilities, developmental disabilities and mental illness. Here are some samples of the jobs identified.
The Central Government’s action is in compliance with the requirement of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016. Section 33 of the Act provides that the Central and State Governments shall identify posts in all departments and autonomous establishments which can be reserved for the various categories of persons with disabilities. This exercise is to be done every three years. The Central Government had last done this in 2013, albeit only for physical disabilities. However, the 2016 Act for the first time included intellectual disabilities and mental illness within the ambit of job reservation. On 4th Jan 2021, in a watershed moment for this category of persons, the Government’s Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities issued a fresh notification identifying a large number of public sector posts to be reserved for them.
A perusal of the list of identified posts points to the progressive view taken by the Government. There appears to be recognition that there are no cognitive limitations in persons with mental illness, as almost all of the several thousand Group A, B, C and D posts have been identified for them with the exception of some posts of a sensitive nature. For persons with learning disabilities and autism in the mild range, a large number of Group A and B administrative, scientific, technical and academic posts have been identified. Again, a large number of Group C clerical/secretarial posts and almost all Group D manual skill posts have been identified for persons with autism in the mild to moderate range, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. This would result in a large number and range of public sector jobs opening up for such persons.