Babus shun disability department

After the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment made a separate department to deal with disability-related issues on 14 May, it was expected that a new secretary will be appointed to fast-track the policy-making. But, a month has passed and no bureaucrat has shown inclination for the job. And, this situation is not likely to change in the near future.

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The current secretary of the social justice ministry K M Acharya is set to retire on Friday. Sources say that this ministry has already got his replacement in the form of Anil Goswami, who is currently serving as a special secretary in the home ministry. Still, there is no one to take over the new Department of Disability Affairs. Acharya had clearly stated in a press release on 25 May: 'A separate department for persons with disabilities has already been formed on 14 May 2012 which would be headed by secretary-rank officer and will work along with the department of social justice under the Ministry.'

Though Acharya's retirement has been a known fact for some time in the bureaucrat circles – which necessitates appointment of two secretaries in the ministry now – not much enthusiasm has been seen among the officers to lobby for the Department of Disability Affairs' post. The officers do not view this post as significant.

Speaking to Millennium Post on this issue, Javed Abidi, the director of the National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People said, 'What is happening is very unfortunate. It is the government's job to find an appropriate person for this department. It has been quite some time now since the president made the announcement regarding this department in the budget session.'

He alleged that the government is not serious about this department. He said, 'I don't know why they are dragging their feet on this issue? I was hoping by now that they would appoint a full-time secretary for this post. But, if they have not been able to do so till now, knowing that that the current secretary is going to retire, then it obviously indicates a laid-back attitude.'

Both Acharya, the outgoing secretary, and Goswami, his replacement, remained unavailable for comment on the issue.
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