Due to the Covid-19 Pandemic, many University of Delhi (DU) applicants have complained about difficulties in getting Persons’ With Benchmark Disabilities (PwBD) certificates made or renewed for availing benefits in the university for the same.
DU offers a reservation of 5% seats or more in every college for Persons with Benchmark Disabilities as per the provisions of The Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016.
“Person with benchmark disability means a person with not less than forty percent (40%) of a specified disability where specified disability has not been defined in measurable terms and includes a person with a disability where specified disability has been defined in measurable terms, as certified by the certifying authority,” explained the university in its admission bulletin.
Accordingly, PwBD applicants are given a relaxation in the course-specific eligibility in the qualifying examinations. This is also done for the admission entrance tests to the extent of 5%, till seats are filled. Apart from this, there are also other benefits that are accorded to those who fall under this category, like fee waivers, concessions, etc.
In order to avail of these benefits for getting admitted to the university, it is mandatory that the applicants submit their disability certificate along with their university registration form online. However, the university only accepts the disability certificates issued by government hospitals as per the provisions of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (RPWD) Act 2016. These state that disability certificates issued by private hospitals are not acceptable. As a result, many applicants are facing in obtaining the certificates due to the pandemic which has compelled many major government hospitals to shut their OPDs.
“This year’s PWBD applicants are facing many difficulties in renewing or getting a new PWBD certificate made since most of the government hospitals are busy dealing with the pandemic, due to which appointments aren’t being given to applicants and OPDs in many hospitals have been shut.”Kunwar Jaisurya, a first- year PWBD student from St. Stephen’s college.
The admission department of the university has started conducting online webinars to address and solve difficulties faced by the applicants and guide them through the admission process. Webinars have taken the place of the Open- house sessions that the university used to conduct in previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation. In a webinar the university conducted a few days ago, PwBD aspirants had brought the varsity’s attention to the difficulties faced by them in context obtaining the certificates. However, the university stood its ground and declared that it would only accept certificates issued by government hospitals. The university officials further mentioned that in case any student does not have a new certificate, they can submit an older one to complete the registration process.
Dr. Abha Dev Habib, the Treasurer at Delhi University Teachers Association (DUTA) called it a “bureaucratic approach”.
“Yes, rules are important but the government and institutions should redefine them for these difficult times. Who wants to be near hospitals today or travel to get a certificate? This means the system is creating more hurdles for these sections,”Dr. Abha Dev Habib, Treasurer at DUTA, as reported by the Millennium Post.
Amidst this situation, the varsity’s decision to extend the registration deadline comes as a saving grace to applicants who have not been able to obtain the required certificates. These applicants now have time till 18th July 2020 to fill the registration forms.
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