- India is sitting on a huge PwD talent pool: Gaurav Vasu, UnearthInsight
- 'We need to work towards raising employability rates among PwD population'
- NGO EnAble India works towards economic independence for PwD
New Delhi: There are an estimated one billion persons with disabilities globally, with about 80 per cent of them living in developing countries. According to the United Nations, in developing countries, 10 per cent to 90 per cent of persons with disabilities (PwD) of working age are unemployed. Though there has been a lot of improvement, greater awareness and change in the last 40 years, society is still the biggest barrier for people with disabilities. Stereotyping, stigma, and discrimination – these are all enduring challenges that have resulted in underemployment, inadequate job quality and marginalisation. PwD face significant obstacles to equal opportunities in the world of work, ranging from attitudinal and physical to informational barriers. Consequently, the right of people with disabilities to work and employment is frequently denied.
According to a report released last year by Market Intelligence Firm, UnearthInsight, India has almost 3 crore people with disability (PwD) of whom around 1.3 crore are employable. However, only 34 lakh have been employed across organised, unorganised sectors, government-led schemes or are self-employed. Founder and CEO Gaurav Vasu, UnearthInsight said,
Contemporary business strategy towards the expansion of the talent pool is focused on realising the ideals of diversity and inclusion at the workplaces and it is a well-established fact that the PwD workforce is more resilient and committed. There is a long way to go, as India is sitting on a huge PwD talent pool that can play an important role. With the right policy and strategy shift, there is a real chance that we work towards raising employability rates among the PwD population.
There are substantial costs to individuals and to society associated with these poor employment outcomes for people with disabilities. When persons with disabilities have access to decent work, it brings considerable economic advantages. Globally, the World Bank considers that leaving people with disability outside the economy translates into a foregone GDP of about 5 per cent to 7 per cent. To ensure the principle of “Leaving No One Behind” of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and also makes important contributions to economic development.
The International Labour Organization (ILO) also suggests that including persons with disability in the workforce can have a positive impact of about 3-7 per cent of the GDP. Esteban Tromel, Senior Disability Specialist, International Labour Organisation said,
A few years back we did a study to assess the impact it would have if persons with disability would have the same employment levels as non-disabled population and we came up with an increase of 3- 7 per cent of the GDP.
The International Labour Organization’s approach to the inclusion of persons with disabilities is grounded in both assuring the rights of persons with disabilities as well as recognising the economic benefits of inclusion.
I think it is important that policymakers and other stakeholders stop thinking about the investments that are required for PwD to be able to fully take part in society in terms of assistive technology and personal assistance. We need to think about these supports that are not only a right for PwD to get them according to the United Nations convention but also see them as an investment to turn from passive recipients to active citizens and taxpayers, added Mr Tromel.
Given the fact that disability is known to be under-estimated in enumeration exercises, this number could in fact be much higher. Further, employers across the world increasingly recognise the benefits of diverse workforces and employing persons with disabilities.
For us inclusion began with having pity, taking care of someone from a sympathy perspective but over the last 10 years when we started working with PwD, our definition has changed. Now inclusion means good business sense, innovation and embracing that large part of the society which has been excluded, shared Pravin Chand Tatavarti, CEO and MD, Allegis Global Solutions, Global Workforce Management.
There are organisations like EnAble India, that work towards economic independence for people living with disabilities, is stepping in to fill the gap and has placed over 50,000 people directly to the job sector and touched the lives of over 2 million but a lot more has to be done. As a nation, are we forcing millions of young people with disabilities to be dependent on social security or their own families and caregivers? Are we disabling them? We must ask ourselves what is it that we want for millions of people with disabilities – a lifetime of dependence or inclusion, dignity, employment and equal rights because only an inclusive India can be a prosperous India.
NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ population, indigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, that is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.