Thursday, December 31, 2015

Bullet trains are desirable but disabled-friendly trains are NECESSITY

Hon'ble Minister of Railways, Executive Director (Public Grievances) and Divisional railways manager, Delhi division of Northern Railway

Thank you for conducting the enquiry in my case but I do not agree with few of the actions taken:

a) Non-availability of battery operated cars
My complaint was that two of the Railway employees lied to me that the battery car services has been stopped since one and half month. Your enquiry also confirms that these were functional so why these two lied to me and why your office did not take any action? Moreover, one of the driver of the battery car himself told me last month that IRCTC has three golf carts (1 at Nizamuddin & 2 at New Delhi). Why are these stationed and are not being used?

b) Availability of wheelchairs on payment basis
Your statement "it is not desirable that wheelchairs are operated by passengers themselves" shows the patriarchal attitude towards people with disabilities. Rather than worrying about us, please make your railway stations fully accessible first. A person on a wheelchair can move independently if the place is accessible, we don’t need ‘divine’ powers for that.

c) Availability of lifts for connectivity of platform
I am glad that the Railways accepted that they DO NOT have lifts for elderly and disabled to connect platforms at Delhi Sataion. Isn’t it ironical that the existing lift serves only railway employees & non-disabled people. It seems disabled have to again rely on their ‘divine’ powers to fly and reach platforms. Your report further states that ‘low booking counter have been already provided’. Please check again. No wheelchair user can reach out to the help desk on PF1 and ticket counter on PF16. Report also states that ‘subject to financial constraints these will be provided in near future’. Dear Sir, let me remind you that our PM launched Accessible India Campaign on 3rd Dec 2015. As mentioned in the strategy document, by July 2016, you have to convert 25% of railway stations into fully accessible. Delhi being capital should be the priority. I do not know whether you are aware or not but how will you do this by July 2016?

d) Inappropriate behavior of Sh Pawan Kumar TE
Thank you for issuing penalty charge sheet to the offending employee but I complained against the person at helpdesk who laughed at me (surely he can’t be TE) and the Station Supdtt Sh SS Goyal. Please double check that you have not targeted the wrong person just to do the formality. I did not complain against any TE.

e) Change in PF of Kashi Vishwanath Express
Glad you mentioned that I was correct but you rectified the mistake only after my complaint. For 20 full days, the display board was showing WRONG information and imagine how many elderly, disabled would have suffered because of this negligence.

Please also change your terminology from ‘differently-abled’ to ‘persons with disabilities’. Let me again reaffirm that we donot have any divya ang (divine body part) or extra ability by which we can fly. Accessibility is our basic human right and it is the right of the Govt to provide that to its citizens with disability. Bullet trains are desirable but disabled-friendly trains are NECESSITY. Period!

‪#‎Disability‬ ‪#‎LeaveNoManBehind‬ ‪#‎Inclusion‬ ‪#‎AccessibleIndiaCampaign‬ #SayNoToTermDivyang

This post is follow up of my earlier complaint:
Doctor with disability harassed at station (Hindu)

Storify: Insensitive Indian Railways

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Disabled doctor harassed by Railway authorities

Doctor with disability harassed at station

The Hindu, NEW DELHI, November 1, 2015

A senior government doctor with 70 per cent orthopaedic disability was allegedly harassed and put to inconvenience at the New Delhi railway station early this week. The physician complained that his journey turned into a nightmare because of the highly insensitive behaviour of railway officials there.

“On October 27, I reached the New Delhi railway station to catch my train Kashi Vishwanath from New Delhi to Bareilly,’’ said Dr. Satendra Singh. “From platform 1, I had to reach platform 8; so I asked for a battery-operated car stating I am a disabled person. The man at the counter told me that the service had stopped.

Wheelchair facility was a paid service. Besides, the lift available was not connected to the platform that I wanted to go to,” said Dr. Singh.

Later, a railway official on duty explained that there is a payment issue of the battery car operators. Hence this facility has stopped for the past one-and-a-half months.

“I made a written complaint (number 34) and got a receipt. With great difficulty, I climbed steps and reached platform 8, where I saw a battery-operated car ferrying passengers to platform 10. I clicked a few photographs. This means both the railways officials deliberately gave me false information despite seeing me in crutches. Their signed letter is the testimony,” said Dr. Singh.

He was also misinformed about the platform on which his train had come in. “I managed to catch my train just in time from another platform,” he said.

Meanwhile, responding to Dr. Singh’s official complaint, Anant Swarup, executive director (Public Grievances), Ministry of Railways, said, “A complaint has been received from our valued passenger regarding harassment and misbehaviour by railway staff. Please enquire into the matter immediately and send a report at the earliest.”

Source: The Hindu (1 Nov 15)

Success: IITs to take back disability pic order

IITs can no longer ask students with disabilities applying for the JEE (Advanced) test to submit a photograph showing their disability. The order was issued on a complaint filed by a Delhi University Professor who had earlier forced the UPSC to withdraw a "discriminatory" form.

IITs asked to stop using disability photos in applications
Hindustan Times, new Delhi, 3rd Nov 2015

NEW DELHI: The court of the chief commissioner of persons with disability (CCPD) has asked IITs to stop making physically-challenged applicants of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) JEE-Advanced fill forms and attach a picture of their disability as it amounts to discrimination. The CCPD wrote to IIT-Bombay on October 28.

Around 1.5 lakh students, who qualify the JEE Mains, are eligible to sit for the JEE Advance. Of the total seats, 3% is reserved for students with disability.

“IITs should stop using the form and adhere to the format of disability certificate as provided in the People with Disability Amendment Rules 2009,” reads the letter from the commissioner.

The CCPD has also said that the candidature of the candidates should not be cancelled on the basis of a different format of the disability certificate.
The CCPD also asked the IITs to provide the details of action taken within 30 days from the receipt of the letter. The matter was highlighted after Professor Satendra Singh, co-ordinator of the enabling unit of the University College of Medical Sciences (University of Delhi), filed a complaint with the court of commissioner.

“In July this year, I received an email from a student about IIT using a different disability performa. Earlier too, I had raised a similar issue with the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) form. Since it is a violation of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Amendment Rules, 2009, which clearly states that a photograph of the face is required in the disability certificate, I wrote to the commissioner,” said Singh.

Earlier too, on Singh’s complaint, the court of CCPD had directed the UPSC to withdraw similar performa asking candidates to attach photo ‘showing’ disability. So in November 2014, the UPSC complied with the commissioner’s letter and discontinued the discriminatory performa.

Students who have gone through this process think it was not required.

“When a disability certificate from a doctor was being submitted, why was there a need to show one’s disability? Such discriminatory rules need to be abandoned all together and authorities need to be more sensitive towards people with disability,” said a first-year computer science student at IIT-Khargapur.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

‘Make hospital websites disabled-friendly’

Health care and disability rights activists have demanded that the Delhi government speed-up the process of making the websites of its hospitals disabled-friendly.

Disability rights activist Dr. Satendra Singh said: “Last October, I filed a petition in the Court of Commissioner, Persons with Disabilities (GNCTD), that the websites of hospitals of the Delhi government are not disabled-friendly. Hearings were then held with officials of the Health and IT departments.”

Dr. Singh added that the Court had passed an order with instructions to the Secretary, IT and Health, to submit a final action taken report in three months.

The order states that not just websites of hospitals, but those of all departments, and local and autonomous bodies under the Delhi government be made disabled-friendly. “We showed them how the ‘web accessibility evaluation tool’ of the Delhi government website had 110 errors, while the website of the Department of Disability Affairs showed no errors, and that of the Commissioner (Disability) had two. Web accessibility not only helps the disabled, but also the elderly, those with low vision, seizures, dyslexia, colour blind, slow internet connections and those with dexterity problems,” noted Dr. Singh.

Tthe online registration form is not accessible to many due to the image CAPTCHA (see image and type characters). After a long struggle IRCTC agreed to provide an alternative to this. They now provide a one time password on mobile phone which has to be entered in the website. Without such kind of option, this is totally inaccessible to visually impaired users.

Dr Satendra Singh (Petitioner) and Prashant Ranjan Verma (Joint Secretary, National Association for the Blind) conducted a sensitization workshop also for the officials of IT Dept and Health at Delhi Secretariat on 16 Oct 2015.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Success: Delhi Govt starts drafting policy for disabled

My RTI earlier highlighted the lack of State Policy on Disability in the capital. Action has now been taken on my complaint to CM office.

Govt starts drafting policy for disabled

NEW DELHI: The department of social welfare has written to the deputy director (disabilities) after the latter wrote an action taken letter following TOI's July 12 report on how even 20 years after passing of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995, there is no state policy on disability in the capital. 

The department informed the drafting of the policy is under process and the matter of a separate department on disability will also be taken up with the higher authorities on Friday. 

Acting on the grievances of Dr Satendra Singh, coordinator of the enabling unit of the University College of Medical Sciences, Delhi University, the department in its letter dated July 24 stated, "With reference to the grievance of Dr Satendra Singh with respect to news published in TOI dated July 12, 2015, as well as from the CAG performance audit ... drafting of state policy for Delhi is under process. The file has been moved for the reconstitution of state coordination committee and state executive committee and the matter of separate department on disability will be put up for views of higher authority." 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

एक आदमी के धर्मयुद्ध ने विकलांग डॉकटरो के लिए खोली​ ​सीएचएस​ ​की नौकरियाँ

एक हजार से अधिक केंद्रीय स्वास्थ्य सेवा (सीएचएस) की नौकरियों से विकलांग डॉक्टरों को बाहर रखने के बाद स्वास्थ्य मंत्रालय ने सीएचएस के शिक्षण, गैर-शिक्षण और सार्वजनिक स्वास्थ्य विशेषज्ञ काडरों को विकलांग  डॉक्टरों
​ ​
​ ​
खोलने का फैसला किया है।
​ ​यह
न्याय के लिए एक विकलांग
​ ​
डॉक्टर की चार साल से अधिक
​ ​
अथक लड़ाई का परिणाम है।

यह सब 2011में शुरू हुआ जब डॉ सतेन्द्र सिंह, जो यूनिवर्सिटी कॉलेज ऑफ मेडिकल साइंसेज और
​ ​
गुरु तेग बहादुर अस्पताल
​2008 ​से 
शरीर विज्ञान
​ ​
(फिजियोलॉजी) के सहायक प्रोफेसर है, ने संघ लोक सेवा आयोग (यूपीएससी) के माध्यम से सीएचएस के
​ ​
शिक्षण विशेषज्ञ सहायक प्रोफेसर (शरीर क्रिया विज्ञान) के पद के लिए आवेदन किया। वह इसी पद पर कार्यरत थे पर उन्हें साक्षात्कार के लिए नहीं बुलाया गया।

डॉ सिंह, जिनका दाहिना पैर पोलियो से प्रभावित है, 70% विकलांगता से
​ ​
प्रमाणित है। मेडिकल काउंसिल ऑफ इंडिया मेडिकल कॉलेज प्रवेश
​ ​
, केवल निचले अंग की
​ ​
40% और 70% के बीच विकलांगता वाले व्यक्तियों के लिए 3% आरक्षण देता है। तथापि, ऐसी कई छात्रों को, जिन्होंने एमबीबीएस और पोस्ट-स्नातक स्तर की पढ़ाई पूरी कर ली को संघ लोक सेवा आयोग के माध्यम से भर्ती की जाने वाली विशेषज्ञ सेवाओं से बाहर रखा गया। '
उन्हें कभी नहीं बताया जाता है की
​ ​
संघ लोक सेवा आयोग
​ ​
ने उनका आवेदन क्यों ख़ारिज किया । मैं एक स्थायी नौकरी
​ ​
  हूँ। मैं दिल्ली में हूँ। अस्वीकार कर दिए गए कितने विकलांग डॉक्टर अदालत में या यहां तक कि संघ लोक सेवा आयोग
​ ​
में जाते हैं?'
 डॉ सिंह, जो दिल्ली मेडिकल काउंसिल
​ ​
भी एक सदस्य
​ हैं,​
 ने कहा।

 डॉ सिंह के 
मुताबिक उन्होंने उन्होंने अपनी विकलांगता का उल्लेख इसीलिए किया क्योंकि यह आवेदन पत्र की मांग की थी
​ ​
ना की विकलांग कोटा का फायदा उठाने के लिए (इस पोस्ट पर वैसे भी विकलांग कोटा नहीं है)
​  साक्षात्कार ​
कॉल नहीं आने पर मैंने संघ लोक सेवा आयोग में पता किया जिस पर उन्होंने मुझे बताया की विकलांग होने के कारण मुझे उपयुक्त नहीं पाया गया है
​ ​यह 
इस तथ्य के बावजूद कि मैं केंद्र सरकार
​ ​
 के अधीन एक मेडिकल कॉलेज
​ ​
में स्थायी पद पर सहायक प्रोफेसर के रूप में कार्य कर रहां हूँ, डा.सिंह ने कहा

तत्पश्चात् उन्होंने केन्द्रीय प्रशासनिक न्यायाधिकरण में केस किया
​ ​
जिसके बाद
​ ​
संघ लोक सेवा आयोग
​ ​ने उन्हें 
 साक्षात्कार के लिए के लिए बुलाया पर चयनित नहीं किया। 2013 में में उन्होंने इसी पद के लिए दुबारा से फिर आवेदन किया ताकि पता चले की इन लोग का रवैय्या विकलांग प्रार्थियों के लिए बदला है या नहीं। ऑनलाइन पंजीकरण
​ ​
में जब उन्होंने विकलांगता, प्रकार और प्रतिशत के बक्से भरे तो उन्हें
​ ​
जवाब मिला  "क्षमा करें, आप इस पद के लिए योग्य नहीं हैं।" इन वर्षो में फिर से कुछ भी नहीं बदला था। 

डॉ सिंह ने
​ ​
अनुमति प्राप्त करने के लिए
​ ​
न्यायालय मुख्य आयुक्त
​ ​
निशक्तजन की अदालत का द
रवाजा खटखटाया और
​ ​
स्वास्थ्य मंत्रालय
​ ​
को भी लिखा उन्हें तुरंत अनुमति मिल गयी पर संघ लोक सेवा आयोग ने कुछ अज्ञात कारणों से शरीर विज्ञान में हो रहे सभी साक्षात्कार को रद्द कर दिया
​ ​
"मुझे आवेदन की अनुमति दी गयी पर मेरे जैसे अन्य
​ ​
विकलांग  उम्मीदवारों के बारे में क्या? मैं चाहता हूँ यह नीति सभी विकलांग अभ्यर्थियों के लिए बदली जाये ना सिर्फ मेरे लिए और इसलिए मैंने 
इस मुद्दे को उठाने का फैसला किया," डॉ सिंह ने कहा।

एक आरटीआई आवेदन के माध्यम से, डॉ सिंह को पता चला कि सीएचएस के तहत
​ ​
सभी विशेषज्ञ 
पद​ (शिक्षण, गैर-शिक्षण या सार्वजनिक स्वास्थ्य
, विकलांग व्यक्तियों के लिए उपयुक्त नहीं पाये गए हैं।
​ ​
"एक एमबीबीएस या एमडी / एमएस (स्नातकोत्तर) की डिग्री
के लिए
 सभी विकलांग मेडिकल छात्रों को इंटर्नशिप के दौरान आपरेशन थिएटर, ओपीडी और आपातकालीन पोस्टिंग में पूर्णता भाग 
लेना​ ​
होता है। इन सब को करने के बावजूद वे कैसे हमें अनुपयुक्त कह सकते हैं?
​ ​
यह तो चौंकाने वाला था
​ ​
 इसीलिए दिसंबर 2014 में, मैंने  सीएचएस के तहत सभी विशेषज्ञ पदों को विकलांग डॉक्टरों के लिए
​ ​
जाने का अनुरोध स्वास्थ्य मंत्री को पत्र लिख कर किया "डॉ सिंह ने कहा।

​ ​
​ ​
​ ​
कार्यवाही की पर बार-बार मंत्रालय के अधिकारियों
​ ​
​ ​
अनुस्मारक भेजने के बाद
​ ​
व बार बार फ़ोन करने के पश्चात ही डॉ सिंह
​ ​
को बताया गया की 
सभी सीएचएस पदों को
​ ​
विकलांग व्यक्तियों के लिए  डॉक्टरों के लिए
​ ​
जाने का अनुरोध
​ ​
मान लिया गया है
 तथापि, उन्हें आदेश की प्रति नहीं दी गयी।
​ ​
अंत में 6 जून को एक 
आरटीआई आवेदन
से उन्होंने यह 
प्रतिलिपि प्राप्त की

डॉ सिंह के हठ के लिए धन्यवाद, शिक्षण विशेषज्ञ उप संवर्ग में 756 पदों, गैर-शिक्षण विशेषज्ञ उप संवर्ग में 770 पदों और सार्वजनिक स्वास्थ्य विशेषज्ञ उप संवर्ग में 78 पदों को विकलांग डॉक्टरों के लिए खोल दिया गया है।

"प्रधानमंत्री मोदी
​ ​
​ ​
विश्व विकलांगता दिवस के अवसर पर ट्वीट
​ ​
कर हम विकलांग लोगों को 'हीरोज'
​ ​
दुर्भाग्यवश इन नायकों को
​ ​
अपने अधिकारों के लिए अदालतों के चक्कर काटने पड़ते हैं और एक सरकारी डॉक्टर को एक सरकारी आदेश प्राप्त करने के लिए एक आरटीआई दायर करने पर विवश होना पड़ता है
डॉ सिंह ने कहा।

Thursday, July 16, 2015

No State Policy on Disability in the Capital even after 20 years of PwD Act

Delhi lacks policy to look after disabled

Manash Pratim Gohain,TNN | Jul 12, 2015

NEW DELHI: Nearly 2% of the population of Delhi falls in the persons with disability category. However, 20 years after passing of the Persons with Disabilities Act 1995, there is no state policy on disability in place in the national capital. 

The Act was notified by the Delhi government in 2001, but successive governments have done little beyond that. While it took three years to just constitute the State Coordination Committee and State Executive Committee—to be reconstituted every three years—RTI replies have revealed that no meetings of the committees had taken place since 2012. 

This sorry state of affairs was highlighted even by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India in 2014 and yet, barring the process of reconstitution of SCC and SEC being initiated, no action has been taken even by the new government in office since February. 

According to Section 13 of Disabilities Act, every state government shall, by notification, constitute SCC and SEC. Going by census 2011, Delhi has a population of 2.35 lakh disabled people. "This figure is underreported. The real number is likely to be around 2%," said Dr Satendra Singh, coordinator, enabling unit, University College of Medical Sciences. It is Singh who had filed the RTI. 

Even today there is no comprehensive state policy on disability. Chhattisgarh was the first state in the country to have formulated a state policy in 2006, while the latest is Kerala in 2014. The CAG audit of the department of social welfare, the nodal office for implementation of the Act, has highlighted that the department did not conduct any independent door-to-door survey to create a comprehensive database of disabled residing in Delhi and "it did not develop the state disability policy to address the issues of persons with disability". 

CAG reported that "government buildings and public spaces lacked facilities for disabled" and "Asha Kiran Complex, meant for mentally challenged persons, is over-burdened with 970 inmates against its capacity of 350; it has only 215 caring staff against a requirement of 502". "Though SCC and SEC were supposed to have met 20 and 40 times, respectively, they have met just five times. There has been no meeting since 2012, as seen in the replies," Singh said. 

The latest RTI application revealed that the AAP government has initiated the process of reconstitution of both SCC and SEC, but there are no record available on advice given by the government on formulation of policies, programmes, legislation and projects related to disability. Sandeep Kumar, minister for social welfare, could not be contacted. 

"The new government has a four-point disability agenda but no task force to implement this has been formed. I brought this to the notice of Delhi Dialogue Commission," Singh said.

Source: Times of India, 12 July 2015

Friday, July 10, 2015

‘UNSPOKEN’, a monthly English magazine on disability issues launched

UNSPOKEN’-a monthly English magazine on disability issues, was launched at SSS Auditorium, JNU on 5th July 2015 by Delhi Deputy CM Mr. Manish Sisodia. The Magazine was launched in three formats-     Braille, Audio and Print. 

Mr. Manish Sisodia (Deputy CM, Delhi) the Chief Guest, Dr Satendra Singh (Asstt. Professor UCMS & disability rights activist) the guest of honour, Mr. SK Rungta (General Secretary, NFB) special guest, Professor Aditya Mukherjee (Dean SSS, JNU) chair of the proceedings and Dr Tarique Salim,the Editor in Chief can be seen unveiling the UNSPOKEN.

‘Unspoken’ is aimed at examining the different disability rights movements and also at creating the awareness among the general public that ‘disability’ is not a physical barrier but a social and cultural one. This English monthly deals with the disability issues and awareness. The team behind this magazine is already working in the field of disability awareness in the form of ‘Max Relief Trust (Regd.)’ for a last few years.

First issue of UNSPOKEN is out in stands. Grab your copy now, of the first monthly on disability issues. For your copy contact nearby book store or contact at +91-9958796885 or . Articles are invited for the next issue and can be mailed at E-mail:

Monday, June 29, 2015

Doctors with disability: Surgical jobs still denied

If the health ministry and the Medical Council of India (MCI) had had their way, Dr Suresh H Advani, the haemato-oncologist who performed the first successful bone marrow transplant in India, would never have become a doctor. 

Advani's legs were afflicted by polio and he uses a wheelchair. By the health ministry's classification, he would be certified as being more than 70% disabled and hence not fit to study medicine. For decades, policy makers, mostly 'non-disabled', have decided what persons with disabilities are capable of. That is why, a double amputee or even a mid-thigh amputee, who would be classified as having 85% or more of locomotor disability, would not be allowed to study medicine. "How can some people sitting at the top decide what people are capable of, in a blanket fashion? If people can prove they're able to do a certain job, without asking for too many concessions, they ought to pose no hurdles," said Advani, who was initially denied permission to study medicine. He then obtained a special permit from the then state health minister to study in Grant Medical College, Mumbai, and completed his MBBS in 1969.

Medical colleges have been opened up to people with locomotor disabilities, thanks to the 1995 Disability Act. But until very recently, these doctors were kept out of all central health service (CHS) jobs. It took four years of RTI appeals and legal tussles by Dr Satendra Singh, a doctor with disability, to change this policy. 

Even though the health ministry has changed the policy for CHS jobs, discrimination continues in top institutions such as PGI Chandigarh, Maulana Azad Medical College in Delhi and various ESI hospitals and medical colleges across the country. TOI has scanned copies of advertisements that state jobs under non-surgical disciplines only are reserved for persons with locomotor disabilities. Ironically, several MBBS graduates with disabilities who cleared the PG entrance exam have been allotted surgical disciplines. "Why allot us surgical disciplines and train us when these jobs are not open to us?" asked a student who is currently pursuing PG in orthopaedics. 

In 2003, the MCI stipulated that only those with locomotor disability of the lower limbs between 50% and 70% can be given admissions in medical courses and the courts ensured that these persons could avail the 3% disability quota in medical colleges. Certain disciplines have also been opened for those with one arm affected. In the 12 years since, even if just 1% of those 3% MBBS seats were filled, it would amount to over a thousand doctors with locomotor disability. 

Data on physicians with disability is not readily available internationally. But since 2000, associations of such doctors have been coming up in the US, the UK and Canada. In the UK, the General Medical Council has stated that a disability need not be a bar to becoming a doctor if the student can fulfill the demands of professional fitness to practise as a newly qualified doctor. 

In India, encouraged by their increasing numbers and Dr Singh's victory, these doctors are coming together to fight for their rights. Recently, they formed a Google group called 'Doctors with Disability: Agents of Change'. "I had approached the Indian Medical Association for help; they ignored us. But our numbers are growing and we are confident that we can do this on our own," said Dr Singh.Source: Times of India 29 June 2015     

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Why are institutes still using the word “handicapped”?

The Hindu, 24 June 2015, New Delhi

A year after an advisory by the Union Ministry of Social Justices and Empowerment stating that various national institutes for persons with disabilities should discard the use of the word “handicapped” in their institute name and rename them — institutes continue to flout the recommendation and stick to “discriminatory names”.

National institutes such as National Institute for the Visually Handicapped, National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped, National Institute of Mentally Handicapped, National Institute of Visually Handicapped and National Institute for Orthopaedically Handicapped were instructed to remove the word “handicapped”, but to no avail.

“The word is simply not going away despite instructions to do away and replace it,” said disability activist Satendra Singh, Assistant Professor at University College of Medical Sciences and Guru Teg Bahadur hospitals.

“I wrote to the directors of these national institutes asking why the name hasn’t been changed so far. Nobody replied except the National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped. Even when the consultation and change was done last year, no consultation was done with disabled people organisations,” said Dr. Singh.

He filed an RTI application asking about the ban on the expression of the word “handicapped” and renaming national institutes accordingly.

“The response from the Ministry stated that that the file dealing with this issue was not readily traceable in the division. The information will be provided as and when the file is traced in the division,” said Dr. Singh.

He applied again in May and got a response stating that “a committee was set up under the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment and directors of the national institutes suggested following names in names for the establishments.’’

Boxed image: Name Game

1.      2007: India has ratified UNCRPD which makes it legally binding to harmonise all existing laws and policies in line with UNCRPD. The Convention uses the terminology ‘Persons with Disabilities’.
2012: The Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities  banned the expression “handicapped”. 
1.      2014: Deptt of Disability Affairs was renamed as Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.

Name of the Institute
Name suggested by the committee
Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Institute for the Physically Handicapped
Pt. Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Institute for the Persons with Physical Disabilities
National Institute for Orthopedically Handicapped
National Institute for Persons with Locomotor Disabilities
Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped
Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Persons with Speech & Hearing Disabilities
National Institute for Mentally Handicapped
National Institute for Persons with Intellectual Developmental Disabilities
National Institute for Visually Handicapped
National Institute for Persons with Visual Disabilities

The RTI added that the committee felt that there was no need to change the names of National Institute for Empowerment of Persons with Multiple Disabilities and Swami Vivekanand National Institute for Rehabilitation, Training and Research as they do not involve the expression handicapped.

“Negative terminology fosters attitudinal barriers. What is also shocking is the fact the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment doesn’t have the facility to provide information (circulars or RTI responses) in Braille. They told me that this information can be formatted only at the National Institute for Visually Handicapped, Dehradun,” said Dr. Singh.

While the directors of the institute refused to comment on the issue saying they were not authorised to speak to the media, a senior ministry official said the change of name was a long drawn process and takes time.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

A crusader's lone fight opens up CHS jobs for disabled doctors

After keeping out doctors with disability from over a thousand central health services (CHS) jobs for years, the health ministry has decided to open up teaching, non-teaching and public health specialist cadres of CHS to doctors with disability. The decision was the result of one doctor's relentless fight for justice over four years.

It all began in 2011, when Dr Satendra Singh, who became an assistant professor of Physiology in the University College of Medical Sciences and Guru Tegh Bahadur Hospital in Delhi in 2008, applied for the post of assistant professor (physiology) in the Teaching Specialist sub-cadre of CHS through the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). He received no interview call.

Dr Singh, whose right leg is affected by polio, is certified as having 70% locomotor disability of the lower limb. The Medical Council of India has extended 3% reservation for persons with disability in medical college admissions, open only to students with locomotor disability of the lower limb between 40% and 70%. However, many such students who completed their MBBS and post-graduation were being kept out of services for which recruitment is done through the UPSC. "They are never told why they are rejected. I have a permanent job. I am in Delhi. How many doctors with disability who were rejected by UPSC can go to court or even approach the UPSC?" said Dr Singh, who is also a member of the Delhi Medical Council.

According to Dr Singh, he mentioned his disability in the application form because it demanded the information and not because he wanted to be selected under the disability quota. "On getting no interview call, I enquired at the UPSC recruitment cell and was told I am not fit to apply as I was disabled. This, despite the fact that I was already working as an assistant professor in a medical college under a central university," said Dr Singh.

He then approached the Central Administrative Tribunal, which asked the UPSC to call him for interview. He was called, but did not get selected. In 2013, seeing an ad for the same post, he applied just to find out if things had changed for disabled candidates. In the online form, when he filled the boxes on disability, type and percentage, the registration flashed, "sorry, you are not eligible for the post." Nothing had changed.

Dr Singh approached the court of the Chief Commissioner for persons with disability and the health ministry and got permission to apply for the posts, but UPSC cancelled all interviews in physiology, for reasons not known. "I was allowed to apply, but what about other candidates like me? I wanted the policy changed for all candidates with disability and not just for me and so I decided to follow up the issue," said Dr Singh.

Through an RTI application, Dr Singh found out that all specialist jobs under CHS, whether teaching, non-teaching or public health, were deemed not suitable for persons with disabilities. "To be granted an MBBS or MD/MS (post-graduation) degree, all disabled medical students attend clinical postings, operation theatres, OPDs and emergency postings during internship. How could they say we are not suitable? It was shocking. So, in December 2014, I wrote to the health minister requesting that all specialist posts under CHS be opened for doctors with disabilities," said Dr Singh.

Though the minister sought action, it was only after repeated reminders and phone calls to ministry officials that Dr Singh was finally told that all CHS posts were open to persons with disabilities. However, they did not give him a copy of the order. It took an RTI application for him to eventually get a copy on June 6.

Thanks to Dr Singh's persistence, 756 posts in the teaching specialist sub-cadre, 770 posts in non-teaching specialist sub-cadre and 78 posts in public health specialist sub-cadre have been thrown open to doctors with disabilities.

"PM Modi tweeted on World Disability Day that we, the people with disabilities, are 'heroes'. Unfortunately, these heroes have to go to courts for their rights and a government doctor has to file an RTI to get a government order," lamented Dr Singh.

Source: Times of India, 14 June 2015

Sunday, June 7, 2015

'Hindu' highlights the Color Blind CSE aspirants issue

‘Consider colour-blind CSE aspirants for non-technical posts’

Yesterday, I highlighted the issue on  this blog here. The leading daily 'The Hindu' has picked up the story today. Here is the report:

Disability rights activists have written to the Secretary (Personnel), Department of Personnel and Training, pointing to the apparent oversight that they say is discriminating against candidates with colour blindness when it comes to their right to earn a livelihood.

In his letter, Dr. Satendra Singh, Coordinator of the Enabling Unit (for persons with disabilities), UCMS and GTB Hospital, said: “High-grade colour vision is required for IPS, RPF and other police services. Low-grade colour vision is acceptable for the other services under Civil Services Examination (CSE).”

He said the criteria does not mention candidates with lower grade colour perception, who are unable to identify all colours. “If such candidates are found fit in all other respects, it is unfair to declare them ‘unfit for all posts’ as is being done. They should be declared ‘unfit for technical posts’ on account of low-grade colour perception,’’ said Dr. Singh.

Civil Services Examination Rules notified by the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Government of India, state that a candidate must be in good mental and bodily health and free from any physical defect likely to interfere with discharge of his duties as an officer of the service.
The Central government had constituted Central Standing Medical Boards (CSMB) in seven hospitals across Delhi for conducting medical examinations for candidates appearing for the CSE. Among these are Safdarjung Hospital, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, Sucheta Kriplani Hospital, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital and B.R. Ambedkar Hospital.

Dr. Singh said when total colour blindness is caused due to rod monochromism, the vision is poor. This condition renders a candidate unfit for technical posts. They may, however, be fit for non-technical posts.

He has now demanded that as colour blindness is just an impairment, candidates with this condition, who are fit otherwise, should be considered for non-technical posts.

Also, Dr. Singh has asked for candidates who have been declared “unfit for all posts” to be re-examined and placed under “fit for non- technical” category.

Dr. Satendra Singh has asked for candidates who have been declared “unfit for all posts” to be re-examined and placed under “fit for non- technical” category


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Are we rejecting Color Blind Civil Services candidates because of an oversight?

Civil Services Examination is conducted in terms of the provisions of Civil Services Examination (CSE) Rules notified by Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), Government of India. Rule 21 of these rules provide that a candidate must be in good mental and bodily health and free from any physical defect likely to interfere with the discharge of his duties as an officer of the service. A candidate, who after such medical examination as the Central Government or the Appointing Authority, as the case may be, may prescribe, is found not to satisfy these requirements, will not be appointed.  The Central Government constituted Central Standing Medical Boards (CSMB) in the seven designated hospitals in Delhi for conduct of medical examination of candidates in CSE.

Medical examination of these candidates are being conducted in seven designated hospitals in Delhi viz. Safdarjung Hospital, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital, Succheta Kriplani Hospital, Guru Teg Bahadur Hospital, Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital and BR Ambedkar Hospital.

However, a medical oversight in the medical examination is hampering the careers of civil service candidate with color blindness.  High grade Color Vision is required for 'Technical' posts like IPS, Other Police Services, 1RTS and RPF. Low Grade Colour Vision or in other words Color blindness is acceptable for 'Non-technical' services (rest of the services under CSE).

With respect to color vision, the point number 11(f) on page 18 of the “Appendix III Regulations relating to the physical examination of candidates” ( ) states:

11(f) Color Vision: Color Vision will be examined with the help of following two techniques:

1. Edrige Green's Lantern technique: Color perception should be graded into higher and lower grade depending upon the size of aperture in the lantern as described in the table below:-

Higher grade color perception
Lower grade color perception
Distance between the lamp and candidate
16 ft
16 ft
Size of aperture 
1.3 mm.
Time of exposure
5 seconds
5 seconds

2. Ishihara's Plates.

Earlier, Ishihara's plates were used aloe to test color perception. Now Lantern test is used to grade the color perception. The above table is the cause of controversy. Those who fail 'higher grade color perception' are color blind but subjecting them further to 'lower grade color perception' test further classify candidates into pass/fail which is immaterial as all applicant with color blindness are FIT for Non-Technical posts as per rules.

The table makes no mention of candidates with lower grade of color perception who are unable to identify all the colors when the size of the aperture is 13mm.

If such candidates are found fit in all other respects, it is unfair to declare them “UNFIT FOR ALL POSTS” as is being done at present. Instead they should be declared “UNFIT FOR TECHNICAL” on account of low grade color perception.

As per the medical experts, the table above should be modified as follows so as to remove this injustice to a section of persons with low grade color perception:

1. Edrige Green's Lantern technique: Colour perception should be graded into higher and lower grade as described in the table below:-

Distance between the lamp and candidate
16 ft
Size of aperture 
1.3 mm
Time of exposure
5 seconds
Makes no errors: High grade color perception
Makes even one error when tested twice after 15 minutes of dark adaptation: Low grade color perception*

*The possibility that persons who fail the lantern test as described above have no color vision is remote since total color blindness is extremely rare:

1. When total color blindness is due to rod monochromism, the vision is poor and there is nystagmus – rendering such a candidate unfit for techical posts. They may, however, be fit for those nontechnical posts where persons with visual disability can be employed.

2. When total color blindness is due to cone monochromism, the vision may be normal and there is no reason to believe that such people cannot hold nontechnical posts.

I wrote to Chief Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities but since 'Color Blindness' is NOT  a disability (less than 40% and otherwise) so they can not do anything. I then wrote to both Ministry of Health and Family Welfare as well as Secretary, DoPT but there has been no response so far.

I have requested them to urgently intervene in the matter and pass appropriate instructions so that:

A)  All those candidates who are found fit in all other aspects but fail to to identify all the colors (in lower grade of perception) when the size of the aperture is 13mm SHOULD NOT be declared "unfit for all posts". 

B). As color blindness is just an impairment and these candidates are fit otherwise, these should be considered for "Non-technical' posts.

C). All such candidates who have been declared "unfit for all posts" in all the 7 hospitals should be reexamined and placed under "fit for Non- technical" category.

D). An urgent notification should be issued since the medical examinations are currently going on.

I hope our Government take urgent steps so that qualified color blind civil services candidates are not unduly rejected because of an medical oversight.


'The Hindu' carried the news next day. Here is the link:

Consider color-blind CSE aspirants for non-technical posts (Hindu, 7 June 2015)