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Who will ensure execution of laws on the ground?

Twenty percent of the estimated 285 million global blind population resides in India. A majority of persons with vision impairment stay confined in their homes, with very little or no access to opportunities of education and employment.
But many organizations, individuals, families and communities are working hard to integrate them into the mainstream society. And in the current digital era, the gap becomes easier to bridge.
Smartphones, screen readers and other assistive aids have increased the awareness levels of blind people, opening up access points for them.
26-year-old Gaurav Singh lives in Sitapur, Uttar Pradesh. Currently pursuing his BA second year, Gaurav enrolled to appear for PET, an eligibility test for the Uttar Pradesh Subordinate Service Selection Commission (UPSSSC). Clearing this exam would make him eligible to apply for vacancies under UPSSSC for the next three years.
With the ambition to become financially independent, Gaurav prepared for PET and turned up at the examination centre with a scribe to assist him. But to his shock, the authorities disallowed the 18-year-old scribe, stating that their rules admitted scribes of age 15 or below. Knowing well that the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment issued guidelines put no age bar for the scribe, Gaurav argued his case. He complained that the examination body hadn’t issued clear guidelines or set a panel of scribes as per normal practice.
When the officials refused to budge, he requested them to provide him any scribe of their choice. Or at least allow him to appear for the test under close invigilation. But all pleas fell on deaf ears. When he insisted to see a copy of the official rules, he was forced out of the centre.
Desperate for help, Gaurav approached organizations and groups that could advocate for his rights. He was guided to approach the Eyeway Helpdesk. Of course, by this time he had already lost his chance of employment and would have to wait another year to apply again.
The Eyeway counsellor connected him with a local NGO representative for grievance redressal. In addition, our advocacy team reached out to the Office of the State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities in Lucknow to register an official complaint against the examination authority.
At this point, both Gaurav and Eyeway hope that the officials conducting the PET exam will be reprimanded adequately so that no students with disabilities fall victim to ignorance, apathy and shoddy implementation.
What is the point of rules and guidelines put in place to safeguard the interests of vulnerable communities, if the government representatives refuse to adhere to them?
Team Eyeway

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