News

Volume 2 Issue 12 - June 15, 2004

Finance minister meets disability group

DNIS News Network - A high-level delegation from the disability sector met Finance Minister P.Chdambaram, who has assured them of looking into how the private sector could be encouraged to employ more disabled people.

Picture of Javed Abidi going to meet P. Chidambaram.

The new Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram met with delegates from a high-level think-tank on June 9. The delegation included National Centre for the Promotion of Employment for Disabled People executive director Javed Abidi, think-tank chair Mr P.M. Sinha (ex head of Pepsi and current director of ICICI Bank and Wipro) and co-chair Prof Bibek Debroy (director of the Rajiv Gandhi Institute for Contemporary Studies).

The group presented the minister with a list of nine draft incentives, which had been drawn up to show how the private sector could be encouraged to employ more disabled people.

Despite a very hectic schedule, only a few weeks into his new job in the new government, and with the Budget less than a month away, the minister showed a real interest in the issues put before him.

Abidi reiterated that he did not want incentives to be awarded "just for the sake of it". He asked the minister to: "Give us something in the budget that is concrete and useful to the corporate sector and for disabled people at large."

In reply Chidambaram assured the delegation that he would have his office look at the details of the draft policy, and invited them to return at a later date to discuss the proposals further.

After the meeting, think-tank chair Sinha said it had been extremely positive. He felt that the fact the meeting had taken place at all showed a definite improvement in attitude from previous governments.

"The minister has given time to the issue of disability," Sinha said, adding Chidambaram had been very positive in his thinking and had been "genuinely interested". He felt that there was real hope for progress for the first time since the Disability Act was passed in 1995.

Co-chair Debroy pointed out that despite the minister's obvious hectic schedule he had listened carefully to the points made and had promised to do his best to provide a workable solution to the issue.

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