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IAS quota for disabled

New Delhi, Jan. 22: The Centre has decided to introduce 3 per cent reservation for the physically challenged in the IAS. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is expected to formally announce the policy tomorrow.

Those who are entitled to the reservation will, however, have to first pass a qualifying exam and interview, sources in the Prime Minister's Office said.

The reservation for the disabled is also likely to be extended to the IFS and allied services. Singh has asked the ministries of home, foreign affairs and environment to submit their proposals so that a policy can be formulated.

This is the first time that such a policy has been initiated. Nothing concrete has been done so far despite pressure from non-government organisations and disabled rights activists to legislate a policy that would give the physically challenged some sort of a level-playing field with the others.

The PMO sources said this was Singh's own initiative, which has come out of his dealings with cases relating to physically challenged persons who qualified for the central services but were not inducted.

The UPA's common minimum programme and the Congress' poll manifesto are silent on this.

The sources said a few months ago, Singh handled three such cases. One was of two persons who made it to the IAS but were not taken in until he intervened. In another, a Dalit, who qualified for the Indian Revenue Service, was not allocated a posting because of his physical disability. Again, the Prime Minister had to step in and ask the department of personnel to consider his case as a 'special' one.

'The Prime Minister decided that rather than having a piecemeal, case-by-case approach, there should be a policy which would facilitate the induction of disabled persons,' a source said.

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