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Retail Industry Can Be Ambassador Of Employment For Person With Disabilities(PwD)

Hiring of PwD in the retail sector has gone up by 53 percent between 2011-18

Photo Credit : Reuters


Trust for Retailers & Retail Associates of India (TRRAIN), in association with HSBC, has announced the release of their report on disability employment titled ‘Disability Employment: Indian Retail Changing Equations’. This report makes a strong case for the retail industry to be the flag bearer of employment for PwDs.

According to the India census 2011, the number of Persons with Disabilities (PwD) in India is 26.8 million or 2.21 percent of the total population. The report brings to light some startling statistics pertaining to the PwD population in India.  It states that the actual number of PwD in India is between 5-10 percent of the total population, as against the 2.21 percent put forth in the 2011 census. Interestingly, around 50 percent of PwD population in India is in the employable age group. 

However, lack of education is a hindrance to employability as around 46 percent of the PwD population in India is uneducated. While 36 percent of India’s PwD are employed, they are mostly (around 90 percent) employed in the unorganized sector. Furthermore, the report finds that mainstreaming PwD can add around 5-7 percent to India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). It is encouraging that hiring of PwD in the retail sector has gone up by 53 percent between 2011-18. However, there is an enhanced scope for the retail industry in India to employ and mainstream PwD as the report establishes a positive correlation between customers and stores manned by PWD 

Given that around 80 percent of jobs in the retail sector are customer facing, employing PwD serves the dual purpose of providing employment to them, sensitizing the larger society about the challenges faced by PwD.

Importantly, it underscores how PwD can contribute to economic growth as well as societal development if provided the right opportunities. With this in mind, the ‘Disability Employment:

Indian Retail Changing Equations’ report provides a consolidated list of strategies and recommendations for the government and retail companies to train and employ persons with disabilities. 

“We know that ‘inclusive development’ and accessibility is a genuine challenge. 64 percent of the persons with disability are unemployed, as compared to an average 9 percent unemployment rate for the rest of the population,” said BS Nagesh, Founder TRRAIN, offering perspective on the challenge at hand. 

Commenting on the report, Surendra Rosha, CEO, HSBC, said, “Since 2016, we have supported 13 organisations working with PwDs that have trained over 1,800 youth and placed 1,130 of them. However, we will not stop here. Our partners have highlighted the need for an ecosystem building approach and have conveyed the urgency of investing in data, insights and frameworks that will enable a greater number of employers to hire PwD’s. The partnership with TRRAIN, a leading organisation in skilling PwD’s in the retail sector, is therefore an important one. With this report, it is our endeavour to bring skills development and placements for PwDs to the forefront of the employability agenda.”

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