I had researched and written an article on employemnt opportunities for disabled persons in our country. The Article has just been published in Infochange Agenda. Here is a brief excerpt with a link to the full published article.
Today it is an accepted fact that provided a supportive environment to learn and grow, Persons With Disability (PWDs) have the capacity to work efficiently and earn a living with dignity. Indeed, they can be a valuable addition to the skilled workforce. Says Hema Ravichandar, Strategic HR Advisor, "With the talent shortage and war for talent, institutional initiatives to encourage diversity and more importantly, the mindset of inclusivity, it is no longer just a nice to do thing but is actually a business imperative. It widens the available talent pool, while encouraging merit worthy yet differently-abled individuals to make a mark and be productive. Most mature organisations today are sensitive to this talent pool, but only some have initiatives to harness their potential in a structured and planned manner."
The Government and Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) have taken the lead in providing employment and other opportunities to the disabled. Several ministries departments of the Government of India and State Governments provide various concessions such as subsidized rail and air travel, special conveyance allowances to disabled employees, and Income Tax concessions. Award of dealerships by public sector oil companies and economic assistance by nationalized banks at Differential Rates of Interest (4%) to the disabled empowers them to set up their own income generating business ventures. Public Sector Banks also offer concessional loans and donations to organisations working for the welfare of the handicapped.
The prosperity of a business enterprise and of the community in which the business operates, are interdependent on each other. While business enterprises generate income and commerce, they can exhaust natural resources, dispossess original residents of the area of their land, or pollute the environment. What do these enterprises do to compensate the community apart from paying fees, taxes, or one-time compensation to affected people? Today along with the rest of corporate India, IT and ITES companies are waking up to this concept of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), and realising that it comes with its own advantages. Extending the opportunity for employment and upgradation of skills to PWD is one major thrust of CSR initiatives. Indeed, corporates who train and employ PWD stand to gain workers with valuable talents. ‘Nowadays, I find that many corporates perform only 10% under CSR and hype becomes 90%. This phenomenon is good neither for the society nor the company,” says Prof. Y S Rajan. (1) Ideally, CSR has to happen naturally as part of the company’s vision to gain respect and cooperation of the community, and not as short term publicity measure. CSR not only boosts a company’s image, it has several long term positive results. Employees feel more motivated to work for a company with a social conscience. Enhanced productivity and profit is an indirect outcome. CSR is not charity, but a company’s return to the community, which is helping it to grow and sustain profits.
read the full article here