Disability rights activists in Tamil Nadu have demanded reservation in private sector firms in the state. In a letter to the Chief Minister, the Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC) said, “As of 2017, over 1,05,000 educated persons with disabilities are waiting after registering at employment exchange offices. Over five lakh youths with disabilities, unregistered with employment exchanges, are also waiting for jobs. The United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNRPD) has said that employment opportunities are necessary for a life of dignity and self-respect for persons with disabilities.”
Their demand comes even as a PIL was admitted at the Madras High Court on Thursday which sought 3% reservation for persons with disabilities in elections at all levels, including parliamentary, state and local body polls.
The TARATDAC pointed out that India was the seventh country to sign and ratify the UNCRPD in 2007. TARATDAC points to Article 27 of the Convention, which states, “States Parties shall safeguard and promote the realization of the right to work, including for those who acquire a disability during the course of employment, by taking appropriate steps, including through legislation,”, adding, “h) Promote the employment of persons with disabilities in the private sector through appropriate policies and measures, which may include affirmative action programmes, incentives and other measures;”
The rights group says that on account of India's international obligations, their implementation in India must be legalised through passage of a law.
In January 2018, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami raised reservations for persons with disabilities from 3% to 4% in the government sector. 1% of the four was set aside for persons with disabilities including those with visual and hearing disabilities or those on the autism spectrum and mental illnesses.