People with disabilities protest against reduction of quota in civil service

2019-03-05

The Kathmandu Post


- PRITHVI MAN SHRESTHA KATHMANDU, - People with disabilities have expressed displeasure over a provision in the Bill on Federal Civil Service Act that has reduced their reservation quota in civil service.

The bill, registered in Parliament Secretariat, has slashed the quota allocated for the group to 3 percent from the existing 5 percent to accommodate the people from the Tharu and Muslim communities.

The reservation seats for indigenous nationalities and the Madhesi community have also been trimmed to make room for the Tharu and Muslim communities. 

According to the bill, Tharus and Muslims have been allocated 4 percent and 3 percent quotas respectively. For this, the indigenous quota has been reduced to 24 percent from 27 percent, and the quota for the Madhesi community has been brought down to 20 percent from 22 percent. 

This, however, does not put the indigenous and Madhesi groups at a disadvantage because they are already adjusting the Tharu and Muslim communities in their respective reservation quotas as decreed by the existing Civil Service Act.     

Photo Courtesy: The Kathmandu Post

It is the disabled people who have been affected by the paring-down of reservation quotas, according to the National Federation of the Disabled-Nepal. “The provision is an injustice to the people living with disabilities,” said Sudarshan Subedi, president of the federation. 

The federation recently issued a statement warning of street protest if the existing reservation quota for the disabled people is reduced. The government has maintained that the proposed quota will ensure reservation seats to those people with severe limitations due to disabilities. 

“Currently, even those having minor problems are entitled to the facility under the disability quota. If we deny them the reservation, the number people having severe or modest disability is not so high ,” said Dinesh Thapaliya, secretary at the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration.

According to the Population Census 2011, 1.94 percent of the country’s population are living with disabilities. But, the rights activities working in the field of disability dispute the government’s data. “The census data is misguided because it recognised people having only four types of problems as disabled—physical disability,  hearing disability,  intellectual disability and visual impairment,” said Subedi. 

But the Act on the Rights of the People with Disability-2017 has categorised disability into 10 types. Besides the aforementioned four types of disabilities, other categories are: people with hearing problem in addition to visually impaired,  people with problem related to voice and speech, mental and psycho-social disability, hemophilia, autism and multiple disabilities. 

“If we consider all these disabilities, the population of disabled people must be not less than 10 percent,” said Subedi.

In terms of severity of disability, the Act on the Rights of the People with Disability-2017 has separated disability in four categories—complete disability, severe disability, medium scale disability and normal disability. The bill has proposed providing the reservation quota to only first three groups. This, according to Thapaliya, is that people with normal disability should not get the facility.

One who feels discomfort to do daily activities even by taking support from other people fall under the first category, according to the law.  

Those who can work by taking support from other people are second type of disabled people. Those who can do their routine works by taking or without taking support from others, provided necessary physical facility, education and training are the third type of disabled people.

People who can work without any support from other people if social environment is conducive are the fourth  type of  disabled people. A number of amendments to the bill has been registered at the Parliament Secretariat. One of the lawmakers to register an amendment proposal is Nepali Congress lawmaker Prakash Rasaili.

He told the Post that they have registered an amendment proposal stating that there should be no change in the existing reservation seat allocations. “Our stance is that the existing quota allocation is more scientific and it should remain so,” he said.

As per the bill, 45 percent seats in civil service will be fulfilled under the quota system. The quota will be shared among different eight groups by terming 45 percent seats as 100 percent.