A person’s capability to work is not dependant on his ability to see. If he cannot see, it does not automatically follow that he cannot excel at what he does.
Take Ved Mehta, for instance, or David Blunkett. The former is a successful Indian author; the latter was England’s Home Secretary. Both are visually impaired. It is important for us to note that it is the mind that drives a person to higher levels of performance.
When we talk of inclusiveness, opportunity, equity, then is job identification really justified? Shouldn’t all jobs be open to everybody on the basis of merit? And, how does one become an expert in deciding who can do what?
While reservations are being done, the employer needs to ensure that its blind employees have the necessary infrastructure to perform well. Employed, disabled people are the best ambassadors for the entire sector -- it is their performance which will open avenues in other organisations and in the corporate world. Success stories must be showcased; they must be held up as benchmarks.
Reservations may not work in the private sector; incentives might. Incentives are, however, not long-term solutions -- they are socialistic, philanthropic in nature. We have to move away from this ‘welfare’ concept.
Ten years have gone by since the Disability Act was passed in 1995. Though there have been gains, the pace of implementation has been slow and far from being satisfactory. (Dr) Justice A.S. Anand, Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission, said while speaking at a national conference on disability in Delhi, “[The Act]…has compiled provisions concerning barrier-free… environments… However, implementation of these arrangements has been lopsided…” Every minute lost, then and now, has been a loss for every blind citizen and for the economy of the nation.
In the words of Henry Viscardi Jr.: “There is nothing which can substitute for human rights; no honours, no pensions, no praise, no subsidy can replace a wish to work with dignity.”