NAB Department of Employment
Economic independence – the fundamental requirement of any individual – when fulfilled leads to higher levels of self-esteem and self-worth; and this is applicable to one and all, including the blind. NAB (India) realized this fact and started the first of its kind in the country employment and placement service for the blind – the NAB Department of Employment – almost immediately after its establishment in 1952. It was only after NAB (India) initiated this vital service did the Government of India set up special employment exchanges in various states.
Initially, NAB (India) employed several blind persons in skilled and unskilled blue-collared jobs in the industry – mainly in factories, and textile and sugar mills. This continued for a fairly long time. The educated blind were employed as telephone operators and other such jobs. Later, to enhance their employment prospects, NAB (India) started the Vending Stand Program and the Bureau of Self-employment.
The Department plays a vital role in helping visually challenged job-seekers find suitable employment, by working closely with the candidates and liaising with companies – both in public and private sector – to give the blind the opportunity to get into the work force.
The employment options are categorized in terms of Open Employment, Self-Employment and Sheltered Employment.
Through Open Employment blind persons are placed in the Government, public and private sector. Determined efforts are made to optimally utilize the 3% reservation for the disabled provided under the PwD Act (1995); secure jobs for the blind in the Government and public sector; and convince prospective employers in the private sector to employ the blind. The Department has immensely contributed to the process of identifying jobs in the open market, which could be managed by the blind.
In the early 80s, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) would allot sites to various NGOs in the disability sector, to put up telephone booths, which the NGOs allocated to disabled persons, to help them earn a livelihood. The sites given to NAB (India) were assigned to blind persons for setting up PCOs or a vending stalls, sponsored by donors. Since past few years, MCGM has stopped providing new sites. Consequently, the Department these days gives deserving blind persons only the old sites that are surrendered by blind persons who have changed their occupation or expired.
Unemployed blind persons interested in self-employment are referred to funding agencies like the Maharashtra State Handicapped Finance Development Corporation, for financial assistance by way of loans, to start their own small business.
Candidates who cannot be assisted under the two above stated categories are trained to make articles like paper bags, candles etc., at the Department’s Training Centre at NAB Rustom Alpaiwalla Complex at Cotton Green, Mumbai. They are paid Rs.75 per day as stipend.
Training and Counseling
With conventional sources of employment drying out, the Department has initiated many new training programs such as: training in making novel items, marketing consumer products, Call Centre Operation, Medical Transcription etc. Many of our trained candidates work in Call Centres and have also been employed as Medical Transcriptionists by some reputed names in the field.
The Department has partnered with some agencies that help prepare the candidates to face interviews and entrance tests for various competitive exams, thus helping them compete for jobs on an equal footing with sighted applicants. With a view to enhance their employability, job aspirants are provided communication and computer skills training. Blind individuals are also offered pre and post-employment counseling.
The Late Mrs. Piloo Dorab Khambatta Memorial Award instituted in the memory of Mrs. Piloo D. Khambatta, former Honorary Secretary of the Department, consists of three awards: Best Blind Employer (organization recruiting highest number of blind persons in a year), Best Blind Employee and Best Self-Employed Blind Entrepreneur.
The Late Dr. Burjor Dorabshah Pallonji Memorial Award comprises Best Employment Officer Award given to placement officer(s) who finds jobs for maximum number of blind persons in a year. The Award was instituted in the memory of Late Dr. B. D. Pallonji, the first Employment Officer of NAB (India).
What can you do?
Sponsor construction of a PCO booth, which costs between Rs.25,000 to Rs.30,000; donate old newspapers for making of paper bags; assist in organizing training programs to augment employability of the blind; employ suitable blind persons in your organization.