Hyderabad: Contrary to popular perception that the software industry is a very humane and progressive industry, with high levels of inclusivity, which goes out of the way to set an example in terms of recruiting people with disabilities (PwDs), the number is very low.
There are only one percent of persons with disabilities placed in the IT companies across the country. Even now, most of the office spaces are not disabled-friendly. But most companies, most of the times, reject them stating lack of skills as the reason, according to experts of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom).
Nasscom claimed that the physical infrastructure, in terms of computers, chairs, rest rooms, staircases and also other aspects were also not adequate or friendly towards PwDs in the companies in the country.
Most PwDs who applied for jobs were rejected on the stated reasoning of “basis of lack of skills”, but the point that the companies don’t have the right infrastructure, or apt sensitivities and anti-bias orientation programmes in place — a fact most human resources (HR) professionals in recruitment often ignore. With increasing number of opportunities for PwDs at schools, colle-ges and management cour-ses being offered to them, it is very crucial that work-places are designed to employ them as well, the Nasscom officials argued.
PwDs form five to six per cent of India’s population. Several amongst them are highly talented and qualified, with additional virt-ues of patience, persistence and loyalty. Unfortunately, they don’t always get the right opportunity for growth, said Nasscom.
Experts also pointed out that mindset a main criteria which needs to change. Ashok Pamidi, CEO, Nasscom Foundation, said, “A major factor to achieve goal of inclusivity is to make persons with disabilities financially independent, provide accessible training environments and working spaces for them. A change in our mindset towards capabilities is crucial. We are trying to raise percentage of PwDs emplo-yed in technology sector to at least three per cent.”
To achieve this goal, Arcesium and Nasscom Fo-undation launched a capability centre at Ramnagar on Monday, which hopes that during the course of a year, it would impart technical skills to 100 PwDs and make them job ready.
“We believe that they can achieve amazing feats, if provided with the right training. We are working at our capability centre to enhancing their capabilities to become job-ready,” said Mr Sriram Sadras, Arcesium.
The Arcesium capability centre would invite applications in a series of batches and skill training would be imparted free of cost. Officials said engineering and diploma candidates would be preferred as their skills are most apt for the software industry. It said they were holding talks with IT companies for recruiting more PwDs and to make their office spaces more accessible.
Mr Jayesh Ranjan, principal secretary, industries and commerce, IT, who launched the centre said it should focus on new generation skills for the disabled and they should be made as capable as others. “Gone are the days when coding was the only main requirement to get into IT companies. Coding can be done by artificial intelligence. One needs to upgrade their skillsets in AI, cyber security and digital analytics to thrive in the future.”...