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The State of Karnataka has issued numerous notifications and schemes for the benefits of persons with disabilities. This is a brief overview of all these schemes, which are described thematically under the headings of education, employment, rehabilitation, social security and others.


This chapter is an early draft. It will be reviewed and modified in future. Feedback and comments are welcome.


Education

The State of Karnataka has issued numerous notifications and schemes for the benefits of persons with disabilities. This is a brief overview of all these schemes, which are described thematically under the headings of education, employment, rehabilitation, social security and others.[1] This mandate has been extended to even private universities by the various regulations made under the University Grants Commission, 1956.[1]

Further, the new Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 has included ‘a child with disability’ within the definition of “Child belonging to disadvantaged group”.[3] This definition has been adopted even in the Karnataka Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Rules, 2012 to ensure the extension of the benefits under the RTE Act to children with disabilities.[4]

The State of Karnataka has implemented the mandate in the PWD Act by providing for the minimum 3% reservation in all educational institutions that are government run or receive any grant from the government.[5] The government has provided an additional 2%, i.e. a total of 5% reservation for persons with disabilities for Pre-University Colleges in the state that are government owned or government aided.[6]

Apart from reservation, the state government has issued various notifications that aid in removing difficulties for students with disabilities and bring them on par with other students. These provisions include various exemptions to persons with disabilities. For instance, studying the II and III language is exempted for students with Hearing Impairment, Mental Retardation, Slow Learners and Spastic students in primary school, secondary school and degree courses.[7] Other exemptions also include the option for visually impaired students in primary and secondary school to choose other subjects instead of Maths and Science.[8]

The state government also provides certain additional benefits to disabled students such as additional time in writing examinations, scribes for visually impaired students and a sound library (audio record of academic material) to blind students. The government has also issued orders directing all educational institutions (primary schools, secondary schools and colleges) to provide for classrooms and toilets in the ground floor for persons with disability.[9]One of the novel aspects of this order is that it is also extended to private institutions unlike other government orders.

Amongst financial benefits, the state of Karnataka has initiated scholarship schemes[10] for disabled students and a Prize Money Scheme for meritorious students with disability.[11] The Director of Women and Children’s Welfare, Karnataka has also initiated a grant-in-aid scheme for the benefit of educational institutions established for the disabled.[12]

The object of this scheme is to ensure the extension of and improving current facilities of education given to disabled students by way of providing a sum of money annually as grant-in-aid. Voluntary organisations that are registered and run institutions for disabled persons are eligible for such grant subject to other conditions.

Employment

In the employment sector, the state of Karnataka has issued several notifications pertaining to employment opportunities for persons with disabilities.

The PWD Act mandates that at least 3% of governmental jobs be reserved for persons with disabilities. The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) (Karnataka Amendment) Rules, 2006 provide that such jobs will be reserved in all State Government Departments, Boards, Corporations, Zilla Panchayats, Taluk Panchayats, Town Panchayats, Gram Panchayats, Municipal Councils, local Bodies, Urban Development Authorities and other Establishments and aided Institutions.

The Karnataka Civil Services (General Recruitment) Rules, 1977 identifies “persons with disabilities” as persons suffering from at least 40% of:

    • blindness
    • low vision
    • leprosy cured
    • hearing impairment
    • locomotor disability
    • mental retardation
    • mental illness

    Initially these Rules reserved only the minimum mandated 3% for persons with disabilities in Groups ‘A’ ,‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’ with a 1% sub-reservation specifically for visual impairment, hearing impairment and locomotor disability. Later in 2005, the reservations in Groups ‘C’ and ‘D’ was increased to 5% out of which 2% of the posts were reserved for the blind.

    In accordance with Section 32 of the PWD Act, the Government of Karnataka has identified the list of jobs suitable to be performed by persons with disabilities in Groups ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’. These lists are to be mandatorily reviewed every 3 years, but however, the state of Karnataka has not been reviewing these lists periodically. The list of jobs identified for ‘C’ and ‘D’ groups identified in 2002 was thereafter never reviewed. In October, 2012 the High Court of Karnataka in a public interest litigation initiated by the National Federation for the Blind directed the State of Karnataka to immediately review these lists. Consequently, the Government issued notifications adopting the identification of jobs made by the Central Government for posts in Groups ‘A’, ‘B’, ‘C’ and ‘D’. This list comes in as a relief for persons with disabilities as the Central Government identification is of a much wider ambit than the previous state government identification. The Central Government list identifies 782 posts in Group ‘A’, 254 posts in Group ‘B’, 1112 posts in Group ‘C’, and 215 posts in Group ‘D’ for persons with disabilities. These lists have subsequently been made applicable to posts even in autonomous bodies, public sector undertakings and Universities. Additionally, these notifications also mandate that aids and appliances required to carry out the job effectively must be provided. The High Court of Karnataka has also removed the problematic clause of requiring persons with disabilities to furnish a medical fitness certificate attesting their capability to perform the job performance.

    The horizontal reservation provided to persons with disabilities in Karnataka is provided on a 20-point roaster scale wherein points 4, 44 and 84 in Groups ‘A’ and ‘B’ are reserved for persons with disabilities with point 4 reserved for the visually impaired, point 44 for the hearing impaired and point 84 for persons with orthopedic and other disabilities. For Groups ‘C’ and ‘D’ reservation is provided to persons with disabilities at points 4, 24, 44, 64, and 84 with point 4 and 24 reserved for persons with Visual Impairment, point 44 for Hearing Impairment, point 64 for orthopaedically handicapped persons and point 84 for other forms of disability.

    The Karnataka government has also provided applicants with disabilities an age relaxation of 10 years over the maximum age limit prescribed for the post. Disabled Candidates writing exams conducted by the Karnataka Public Services Commission are allowed a scribe (where the candidate is visually impaired) in addition to provision of extra time to complete these exams. Apart from the above benefits provided during the recruitment stage, government employees who are disabled also receive the following benefits:

    • Conveyance allowance of Rs. 400/- a month
    • Relaxations in transfer of government employees
    • Preferential allotment in the provision of accommodation facilities
    • Flexible work timings

    All employed disabled persons are also exempt from payment of Professional Tax. The state government earlier even provided for financial aid and support to disabled persons to encourage self-employment, but this aid has been discontinued. However the state through the KIADB (Karnataka Area Industrial Development Board) continues to provide for a 3% reservation in the allotment of industrial sites for entrepreneurs with disabilities.

    Rehabilitation

    Rehabilitation efforts in the State of Karnataka mainly consist of providing shelter homes and special homes for the disabled apart from financially aiding them in accessing aid and appliances designed for the disabled.

    In an effort to aid disabled persons in the state of Karnataka to achieve mobility and creating opportunities to enhance their social and economic standing, the state has come up with a few rehabilitative schemes. The state acknowledges that there are various aids and gadgets such as tricycles (ordinary and motorized), wheel chairs, artificial limbs, crutches, hearing aids, low vision aids, etc that help disabled persons to substantially overcome their disability. However these gadgets are not affordable and accessible to majority of the disabled persons.

    The state of Karnataka has introduced a scheme of assistance to help disabled persons to purchase aids and appliances. By way of this scheme persons with disabilities who fulfill the necessary criteria are eligible for financial assistance to purchase aids and gadgets. The extent of financial assistance aid they receive will be dependent on their income levels. Persons earning more than Rs. 12,000/- per annum are not eligible under this scheme.

    With regard to setting up of homes for disabled persons, The state of Karnataka has provided for the set up of a special home ‘Manasa Kendra’ to care for mentally ill persons as per the direction of the Karnataka High Court.[13] These Homes are set up in five districts in Karnataka, namely, Bangalore, Belgaum, Bellary, Raichur and Shimoga.

    Social Security

    Social Security Schemes mainly include maintenance, reservation in housing schemes, provision of medical relief and setting up of medical boards for the benefit of persons with disability.

    Karnataka has issued various schemes providing financial assistance to physically handicapped persons. Such assistance is sanctioned by the Department of Women and Child Welfare, Karnataka. Under this scheme visually impaired persons, hearing impaired persons, and orthopedically impaired persons are eligible to apply for financial assistance to the Department.

    Apart from financial assistance, the State government since 1977 also provides for maintenance amounts to disabled persons under a specified income limit every month.  In 1977, a maintenance amount of Rs. 40/- was fixed for persons with disabilities whose income was less than Rs. 3600/- per annum. This sum has been constantly revised periodically. At present the scheme as revised in 2007 provides for Rs. 400/- per month. The provision of maintenance to physically handicapped persons was extended even to mentally ill persons in 2005 due to a direction of the High Court of Karnataka.

    Previously a maximum income limit was fixed in respect of disabled persons to availing benefits of certain welfare schemes. The limit was fixed at an income (or parent’s income) of Rs, 11,000 per annum in rural areas and Rs. 24,000/- per annum in urban areas. This limit has now been removed and there is no upper income limit to avail certain benefits such as free bus travel, scholarship and financial assistance for medical treatment of the disability.

    Apart from provision of financial support directly to physically handicapped persons, the State also provides indirect benefits to disabled persons by way of maintenance to Residential Special Schools and insurance schemes for parents and guardians of mentally retarded persons. Further the state also provides for a Grant-in-Aid scheme for voluntary institutions established for persons with disability.

    The Government further has also issued a notification entailing various benefits for physically handicapped persons such as the provision of offices in ground floor for disabled employees in corporations or municipal offices where there is no lift provided.

    In the area of housing, state of Karnataka has issue orders directing the Karnataka Housing Board to provide for a 3% reservation for persons with disabilities in all housing schemes initiated for the poor, impoverished, slum dwellers and economically weaker sections of the society. The reservation includes housing schemes such as Ashrayam, Grama Navagrama, and the Rajiv Gandhi Village Housing Scheme. The reservation in the Navagrama Scheme and Ambedkar Housing Scheme for the homeless was in 2004 increased to 5% for persons with disabilities.

    Miscellaneous

    The state of Karnataka periodically has also issued other kinds of benefits on disabled persons such as free bus passes, special disability awards and promotion of cultural activities and sports.

    With a view to make public transport accessible to persons with disabilities free bus passes are granted to blind persons in all the KSRTC and BMTC Buses. This facility was recently also extended to the Volvo buses run by the state. Persons with disability other than visual impairment are eligible to receive bus passes at a concessional rate.

    The state also provides for the issuance of an original Identity card as proof of their disability. This ID card can be utilized for obtaining:

    • Free bus pass
    • Concessional rate of train fare
    • Concessional rate of airfare
    • Income tax Exemption
    • Special Government Schemes
    • Preferential allotment under Rajiv Gandhi Swrana Rojgar Yojna, Preferential site allotment

    For the issuance of this ID card, a medical board incapable of issuing such a certificate is constituted at every District and Taluk Level.


    [1]. Section 39 of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (PWD Act).
    [2]. Section 26 of the University Grants Commission Act, 1956 read with Rule 2 of the UGC Regulations, 1985 regarding the Minimum Standards of Instruction for the Grant of the First Degree through Formal Education.
    [3]. Section2(d) of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 as amended by the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Act, 2012.
    [4]. Issued via Notification No. ED 77 YoYoKa 2010 dated 28.04.2012.
    [5]. G.O. No.: ED U.G.C. 99 dated 03.06.1999.
    [6]. G.O. No.: ED 10 STB 93, Bangalore dated 02.01.2004.
    [7]. ED 56 UBV 2004 dated 23.03.2004. See also ED 158 PMS 79 dated 17.01.1981 and SWL 4 PHP 90 dated 20.04.1990.
    [8].
    [9]. ED 17 SXM 2002 dated 12.06.2002.
    [10]. SWL 123 PHP 78 dated 02.06.1978 and WG CHW: 404: PHP: 2001 dated 04.09.2001.
    [11]. DWD/PLAN/I.AD/91-92 dated 03.05.1991.
    [12].SWL 18 PHP 82 dated 11.08.1982.

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