R. Narasimham, born
in Irala village , Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh and a post graduate in
Social Work from Madras School of Social Work (1963 – 65) has been providing
vocational counseling, vocational training and rehabilitation to persons with
all categories of disabilities since January 1968. Retired as Joint Director
from the Ministry of Labour, he supervised the Vocational Rehabilitation
Centres for the Handicapped (VRCs) in India. Worked all over India (New Delhi,
Kanpur, Chennai, Trivandrum, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Bangalore and New Delhi). He is
a pioneer in Vocational Rehabilitation in India and introduced several
innovative rehabilitation programs for the benefit of pwd. As supervisor for
the Vocational Rehabilitation Centres for Handicapped in the Country, he
streamlined the functioning of the VRCs by designing a Manual of Procedures and
developed “Signs for Tools” for use in training the deaf in vocational trades.
Would have seen over 50,000 persons and helped over 15000-20000 in wage paid or
self employment besides providing guidance to the rest.
He was in charge of
service delivery in the beginning and was involved in developing schemes,
policy, budgeting, inter-ministerial interaction and participation in all govt.
and Non govt. institutes for developing and designing schemes. He has been
teaching for trainees in several courses of RCI and Schools of Social
Work. Guided future professionals from
Certificate level to post graduate and doctorate level in the field through
teaching and mentoring.
He is conversant
with Telugu, (mother tongue) and English, Hindi, Tamil, Kannada, Malayalam,
Gujarati and Marathi besides fluency in sign language used by the hearing
He had his training
in Rehabilitation of the Deaf at Hotsprings Rehabilitation Center, Hotsprings,
Arkansas, USA (1969) and Computer Application in Management of Vocational
Training Institutions at the Advanced Training Center, International Labour
Organization at Turin, Italy and Paris, France.(1988)
He was decorated with the National Award
by the President of India for his services to the disabled in 1983 and by
the Lions Clubs and Rotary Clubs on several occasions.
in “Contemporary Who is Who” brought out by American Biographical
Institute, USA in 2003 for outstanding contribution to the disabled, and
the Lifetime Achievement Award from International Biographical Institute,
U.K. in 2004.
He was awarded for exemplary service as
Rehabilitation Consultant by Tamilnadu Dr. MGR Medical University, Chennai (2012)
A consultant on the
Rehabilitation Council of India for manpower development is nominated as
Chairman of the Committee constituted by RCI for developing courses on
Vocational Rehabilitation, Rehabilitation Social Work and other placement,
counseling activities. He was involved in developing course for M.A. in
Disability Studies, Diploma in Vocational Rehabilitation (Mentally Retarded)
and designed Diploma course in Vocational Rehabilitation (Across Disabilities)
He is also a Member
of National Board of Examinations in Rehabilitation constituted by the Govt. of
India and Senior Member of Professional Social Worker’s Association
His expertise is
being used by several NGOs and government departments for streamlining,
improving, evaluating and designing innovative ways of service delivery system
and livelihood programs for the disadvantaged. He also teaches in several
institutes conducting diploma, graduate and post graduate courses for future
professionals in the field of disabilities.
At present he is
consultant with RCI and guides institutions in setting up facilities for the
pwd, starting courses in rehabilitation in addition to taking up relevant
This book on “Vocational Rehabilitation of Disabled in India, Principles & Practice” is an attempt to educate the present and future rehabilitation professionals in the area of vocational rehabilitation. Vocational Rehabilitation as a concept can be traced back to the First World War (1914 -1918), wherein the entire Europe and United States of America (USA) were involved. Several war veterans were injured but were skilled and available for bringing the country’s economy to keel. The Veterans’ Rehabilitation Act of 1920 of USA was the first in the modern times to utilize the services of the war disabled in reviving the country’s economy. This has been amended in due course to include other disabilities. The Department in the government of United States of America (USA) was named Veterans Rehabilitation Administration, later changed as Social & Rehabilitation Services (SRS) Administration and now known as Rehabilitation Services Administration. Internationally, it is a young profession. Such services are available in U.K., European countries, Japan, Singapore and other African and Asian countries. In India, the introduction of the field of vocational rehabilitation was in 1967, in the form of research projects in a few hospitals and also through two Vocational Rehabilitation Centres for the Physically Handicapped under Govt. of India (in 1968), assisted by the Dept. of Social & Rehabilitation Services of the United States Administration. On completion of the term, while the Hospitals converted them into regular units, the Govt. of India set up 19 more such Centres all over the Country in different States.The Author has been in the field of vocational training and vocational rehabilitation of persons with locomotor, hearing, visual and intellectual impairments since January, 1968 starting under a Hospital setup, and then entering Vocational Rehabilitation Centres of Govt. of India. He retired after supervising and providing professional and administrative guidance to VRCs
4 Vocational Rehabilitation of Disabled in India-Principles
and Practice all over the Country and inter – ministerial interaction. Despite
the Rehabilitation Council of India, a Statutory Body, having recognized this
as a separate profession and including it in different syllabi for the different
courses in rehabilitation, the Author has observed that there is no conceptual
work based on Indian conditions in the field of vocational rehabilitation. The
Author with his wide exposure to the
different categories of disabled and having met and learnt from the pwd and
seen in person, the issues and tribulations faced by the disabled, considered
it a mission to give the experience back to the disabled, so that they can gain
from the experience of others. What better way could there be, than training
the professionals in the techniques so that millions of disabled could be
The Author has been sharing his experiences with the
professionals belonging to the fields of social work, education, management and
therapy of different disabilities. Some of those included in this effort are
those papers presented in some National and International Seminars and some are
based on the lectures prepared for interacting with the professionals/intended
While medical intervention, education and therapy are based
on disability with the family and society playing a secondary role, vocational
rehabilitation is rooted in the society with disability being one of the
variables along with several others such as poverty, gender, caste, literacy
and backwardness. Disability compounds the effect of these variables in myriad
ways towards wage earning capacities for the persons afflicted.
The Vocational Rehabilitation Worker (VRW) should understand
this shift in focus, when dealing with vocational rehabilitation and equip to
provide all vocational services judiciously and professionally. The subjects
discussed are therefore envisaged with components from diverse fields of
psychology, special education, social work and business management. Some of
these are concepts developed by the Author and theorized from the practical
experience with the pwd with different disabilities and varied cultures and
introducing innovative programs. As Head of different Vocational Rehabilitation
Centres for the Handicapped in different parts of the country, the Author had
the opportunity to experiment and succeed through these economic rehabilitation
Some of them such as Outreach programs (1974 – Delhi), Skill development (1976 – Kanpur), Training of Employment Officers in Disabilities (1978 – Chennai) Employer Oriented Training (1980 – Chennai), adjustment training (1981 – Chennai), Exhibition of Manufactured Products helped through Self Employment – 1981) Homebound Employment (1982 – Trivandrum), Community Based Vocational Training (1988 – Ahmedabad), Rojgar Mela, (Employer – Job Seeker Meet – 1990 – Mumbai), Teaching vocational subjects, to the deaf (who took the subjects in lieu of languages) (1994 – Mumbai), Development of lexicon for “Signs for Tools” (1995 – Mumbai), Worker Education for the Deaf (1995 – Mumbai), Group Employment and Self Help Groups (2003 – Bangalore) and even self employment (1976 – Kanpur) or supported employment (1976 – Kanpur), setting up cooperatives (1983 – Trivandrum) were all new concepts at the time. Now they have become part and parcel of the delivery system in vocational rehabilitation. The author organized at least two functions, including cultural and
sports activities, every year to bring in variety of leaders as part of
advocacy. Organizing and selecting a Team of locomotor disabled to represent
VRCs at the All India Cricket for the Disabled (1992 – 96) was one way of
bringing well known cricketers and exposing the abilities of locomotor
disabled. Now it is an annual affair.
It may also be seen that no mention of any particular
disability has been made in this Book – deliberately – as in vocational
rehabilitation it is the persons’ ability that counts and not any impairment or
the resultant disability, the individual may face.
Different variables in the job, work, work environment and
environment restructuring to help the pwd acquire vocational and employment
skills and techniques of delivery of vocational rehabilitation – constitute the
core component of this book.
The Author is not an Academician but a Practitioner. The Book contains Articles on different aspects of vocational rehabilitation. Almost all the techniques described in this book, have been practiced by the Author at some point or the other in his career. Some of them have failed while others have been extremely gratifying. The professional has to explore all choices in vocational rehabilitation and may be more. This is not an academic exercise but sharing of experiences, tailored to the needs of a VRW. A conscious effort was made to avoid high sounding language without compromising on the professional terminology, as – for most of the courses recognized by the Rehabilitation Council of India, School leaving certificate is the entry qualification (12 years of schooling).
Not all the measures and practices described may be required
for the vocational rehabilitation of a pwd but all alternatives are
explained to equip the VRW with different techniques to meet different needs of
different persons for successful empowerment of pwd.
There is no literature available with focus on Vocational
Rehabilitation in India. That is one of the reasons why not many specific
references on bibliography are given and that is why the list of suggested
Bibliography is limited and many are based in other countries. Acronyms,
wherever used are designed to give quick and short cuts to commit to memory.
Most of them are coined by the Author. Wherever it was by others, Bibliography
gives credit to them. It is hoped more original material on Indian conditions
are published for the benefit of the Vocational Rehabilitation Workers.
The Author hopes this small effort would help the professionals understand the concepts better and guide them to use with the different categories of disabled and help them serve the disabled through the future professionals.
As he enters his fiftieth year in the service of the
disabled, this book is one more attempt to serve the disabled. The Book is
dedicated to those thousands of persons with disabilities, who were the
motivation for the Author to learn and practice proper vocational
(Just as Fire knows the purity of the submitted gold, the
the good and bad qualities of a book.)
The Author hopes the readers will critically examine the
book and suggest
A Book on Vocational Rehabilitation in India – Principles & Concepts is coming out, giving several details and sharing of my experiences with professionals – present and future. Anybody interested may write to me for copies
Was Chief Guest on the occasion of 33rd Anniversary and release of Brochure of the VRC Cooperative Society that I started in 1983, when I was in Trivandrum. It takes up job orders in the modern technology producing components for Space Idustry and employs more than 200 pwd. It also provides training to pwd and has helped over 2000 in getting employment in different ITE based industries
Gave keynote Address on Access to Skills for WWD at National Seminar on “Constraints Faced by Women with Disabilities in their Access to Services and Education in India” by Dept of Social Work, Holy IMT, Calicut & National Council for Women, 10th June 2016
Attended a meeting convened by Rehabilitation Council of India & Min. Of Social Justice & Empowerment for designing programs for vocational empowerment of all categories of disabled 15th & 16th July 2014
Taking classes for RCI (Rehabilitation Council of India) Courses at certificate, diploma & post graduate level at Navjyothi Trust, Spastic Society of Tamilnadu, Vidyasagar etc… in Chennai on a regular basis.