One of the many things that make government jobs so popular among the Indian youth is the dynamic reservation policy that allows for the equal representation of all religions, castes and communities. The principle of equity followed for recruitment and promotion for government jobs also extends to Persons with Disabilities.
The PwD reservation quota in government jobs has been one of the highly appreciated policies that allow for recruitment and hiring of PwD candidates in suitable posts. Despite being such positive and enabling policy not many including the ones who can benefit from it are aware of the different facets of PwD Reservation Quota in Government Jobs.
Below, we have listed down some key points and facts about the PwD Reservation in Govt Jobs that will help you understand the policy and take advantage of the same.
1. Persons with Disabilities (PwD) vs Physically Handicapped
One of the most common confusion with regards to PwD reservation is terming it as Physically handicapped quota. In India, we often use these two terms interchangeably which do not only shows ignorance on the part of the person but is also derogatory in nature. Therefore, the first thing that we need to clarify as far as PwD Reservation is concerned is the difference between PwD and PH through their definitions.
Physically Handicapped: This term is defined as any physical or mental defect, congenital or acquired, preventing or restricting a person from participating in normal life or limiting their capacity to work. While technically true, but people with disability are still able to live a fulfilling life and discharge majority of duties assigned to them as part of their government jobs; therefore it is derogatory to use this term to describe PwD candidates.
Persons with Disability: Going by the definition, disability is the consequence of an impairment that may be physical, cognitive, mental, sensory, emotional, developmental, or some combination of these. A disability may be present from birth, or occur during a person's lifetime. However, that disability may or may not affect the daily functions and job requirements; therefore it is the right term to be used.
For instance; a person with hearing impairment may not be suited for a job of a sound engineer but he will be able to discharge all his official duties as a Bank Manager or a government clerk.
2. PwD Reservation Policy
The Government of India provides for PwD reservation for government jobs under the provisions of Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act 1995. Under this policy, 3% of all vacancies in government jobs in Group A, B, C and D; that are to be filled through direction recruitment are reserved for persons with disabilities. The ministry of social justice identifies the posts suitable for PwD candidates for which reservation policy may be implemented.
3. Definitions of Disabilities
The PwD category reservation extends beyond the physical disabilities and covers several other impairments. The definitions of disabilities for PwD Reservation Quota in Government Jobs is given below:
Blindness: Blindness is a condition that refers to a condition where person suffers from any of the following limitations
- Complete absence of sight
- Visual acuity not exceeding 6/60 or 20/200 in better eye with correcting lenses
- Limitation of the field of vision subtending an angle of 20 degree or worse
Low Vision: Low vision for PwD reservation is defined as impairment of visual function after treatment or standard refractive correction. However, the eye sight should be potentially capable of using vision for execution of a task with an assistive device.
Hearing Impairment: Hearing impairment is defined as loss of 60 decibels or more in the better ear in normal conversational frequency.
Locomotive disability: Locomotive disability means disability of bones, joints or muscles leading to substantial restriction of the movement of limbs.
Cerebral Palsy: Cerebral Palsy is defined as a group of non-progressive conditions of a person; it can mean abnormal motor control posture from brain damage or prenatal injuries, peri-natal or infant period of development.
Orthopedically handicapped persons: All cases of orthopedically handicapped persons are also covered under and eligible for PwD reservation.
4. Degree of Disability
Another very important aspect to keep in mind to claim PwD reservation in central government jobs is the degree of disability. The Government of India only considers people for PwD reservation who suffer from minimum 40% of relevant disability.
In simple terms, if you have low vision, it would have to be at least 40% low compared to the normal eye-sight in order for your case to be considered for PwD reservation.
5. How is reservation for PwD candidates calculated?
The calculation of reservation quota for PwD candidates is done on the basis of total number of vacancies arising out of a particular group of service. However, the reservation policy will only be valid and applicable on posts identified by the ministry of social justice of the concerned department for appointment purposes. Put simply, for calculation of reserved seats both identified and non-identified posts are taken into consideration, whereas for appointments are only made to posts identified for PwD candidates.
For instance, if there are 1000 vacancies across different posts in Group C service of the central government, then 30 seats will be deemed as reserved for PwD candidates. However, all those 30 candidates picked through PwD reservation quota will be appointed to few posts that are identified as suitable for PwD candidates to discharge their job duties.
Similarly, for calculation of PwD quota for promotion will be calculated on the basis of all vacancies that are to be fulfilled through promotion. However, only posts that are identified as suitable for PwD candidates to discharge their job duties will be filled through reservation.
6. Vertical Reservation v Horizontal Reservation
The reservation policy in India follows two distinct models i.e., vertical reservation and horizontal reservation.
Vertical Reservation policies are basically affirmative action aimed at economic and social upliftment and empowerment of backward classes of citizens. This kind of policy is followed to grant reservations for SCs, STs and OBCs.
On the other hand, Horizontal Reservation policy cuts across all these categories and is applicable to all other categories including the vertical reservations. For instance, if an SC candidate is also suffering from hearing impairment, they will be placed under the SC category.
Relaxation / Concessions offered to PwD candidates
One of the key aspects with regards to PwD Reservation policy is the relaxations / concessions offered to PwD candidates under this policy. We have discussed these in detail below:
Age limit relaxation: PwD Candidates are offered age relaxation as part of the reservation policy.
For Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ posts through direct recruitment: PwD candidates shall have an upper age limit relaxation of 10 years for general category, 13 years for OBC category and 15 years for SC/ST category.
For Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ posts through direct recruitment: PwD candidates shall have an upper age limit relaxation of 5 years for general category, 8 years for OBC category and 10 years for SC/ST category.
Relaxation in suitability standard: There are chances that sufficient number of PwD candidates does not get selected on the basis of the general standard to fill all the vacancies reserved under the PwD quota. In such cases, the suitability standards might be relaxed to fill up the vacancies reserved under the PwD quota.
Exemption from Payment of Exam fee / Application Fee: Another relaxation that PwD candidates can claim is the exemption from payment of exam or application fee. Persons with disabilities are exempt from paying application fees for competitive recruitment examination conducted by SSC or UPSC for Sarkari Naukri. However, PwD candidates willing to seek this exemption may need to submit the disability certificate as required by the exam conducting authority.
Medical Examination: All new employees to the central government jobs have to undergo a medical examination and submit a physical fitness certificate. However, if a PwD candidate is chosen for an identified post under PwD quota, then the medical examiner and board shall be informed of this fact in advance and the examination will be conducted in accordance with this.
PwD Reservation for promotion in Government Jobs
As of now, the PwD reservation policy in cases of promotions is only valid for Ground D and Group C posts. This is also limited to the posts for which direct recruitment doesn’t exceed 75%. However, On 30th June 2016 in a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court of India has asked the government to extend PwD reservation to all the posts and services under the government of India irrespective of the mode of filling such posts. Earlier, the Group A and Group B positions were filled only through promotions. This judgement is a small step and the beginning of a long journey in ensuring more participation and representation of persons with disability in the senior echelons of our central government offices.
Who can issue disability certificate?
One of the biggest concerns that PwD candidates have is about procuring the disability certificate which is a mandatory document in order to claim reservation seats offered to them. Generally, the central or state government appoints a Medical Board that has the authority to issue the disability certificate. This Medical Board would comprise of at least one specialist in the field of locomotor / cerebral / visual / hearing impairment.
Candidates will have to appear before this medical board and after a thorough examination; the board would issue a permanent disability certificate if there is no chance of any change in the degree of disability. In case, the candidate suffers from variable degree of disability, the board shall issue a certificate that is valid only for a certain time period. The Medical Board cannot refuse to issue a certificate of disability unless an opportunity is given to the applicant of being heard.
Which ministry identifies posts for PwD reservation?
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment identifies the posts valid for PwD reservation. These jobs are identified on the basis of job responsibilities and duties involved. However, the jobs / posts identified by the Ministry of Social Justice is not exhaustive; thus the concerned government departments and ministries shall have the authority to identify jobs / posts in their organization on similar lines.
Another important aspect to keep in mind with respect to identification of posts / jobs for PwD reservation would be; if a job or post has been identified to be suitable only for one category of disability, there would be no reduction in the total reserved quota. Put simply, if a job is identified suitable for visually impaired candidates; all the 3% of reserved seats will be filled in by candidates falling under that category.