1980s, as an alternative to disabled, handicapped etc. mainly to give a positive expression and not to discriminate towards people with disabilities. “We are not disabled, we are differently abled”—says one expression. Globally, the word “disabled” is still being used more than “differently abled”. But “physically handicapped” is no longer in use in any decent discourse. So, how could the government continue to use a globally redundant nomenclature –“physically handicapped” in its formal policy.
Between June and October, the government transferred four IAS officers, Girisha PS of 2012 batch to Andhra Pradesh, Anand Sharma of 2013 batch to Bihar cadre, Ms Monika Gupta of 2014 batch to Haryana cadre, and Ravi Prakash Gupta of 2007 batch, also to Haryana cadre – all on the basis of the so called PH (Physically Handicapped) Policy.
It’s high time, the Central government change the nomenclature to the Policy of Differently Abled (PDA), or something more polite and accepted.
In fact, in July this year, IRA Singhal made history by becoming the first differently abled person to top civil services examinations. Before becoming an IAS officer, she was selected for Indian Revenue Service (Customs and Central Excise), but she was denied by the government to join, as the service (IRS-C and CE) is not identified “for both the arms affected persons”. But Ms Singhal fought the case in Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) and lifted 10 kg of weight in one hand in a medical re-examination in New Delhi’s Safdarjang hospital. Then, she was allowed to join IRS (C and CE). For IAS, however, such a tough medical examination is not required for the differently abled candidates.
Dear cabinet secretary, when we posted Ira Singhal’s story in July this year, we described her not even “differently abled”, but as “more abled”. Should you allow the government to describe Ms Singhal as “physically handicapped”?
Readers, do post your views and appeals to make government an equal workplace for all – abled and differently abled.