Nipun Malhotra (social entrepreneur)

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Nipun Malhotra (social entrepreneur)
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Born (1987-09-01) September 1, 1987 (age 36)
Mumbai, Maharashtra
Alma mater
  • St. Stephen's College
  • Delhi University
  • Delhi School of Economics
  • Indian School of Business
OrganizationNipman Foundation
Known forDisability activism
  • Priyanka Malhotra (mother)

Nipun Malhotra (born 1 September 1987) is an Indian social entrepreneur and disability rights activist. He was born in Mumbai, Maharashtra, with arthrogryposis. In 2012, he started a disability rights advocacy organization based in Delhi called Nipman Foundation. Malhotra is the Founder Chair of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry's (FICCI) Diversity & Inclusion Working Group on Empowering Persons with Disability.[1]


Malhotra studied economics at St. Stephen's College, Delhi University and Delhi School of Economics.[2] He later attended the Indian School of Business.

Advocacy work

Delhi Odd-Even rule exemption

Malhotra filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court in December 2015 seeking exemption of private vehicles of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) from the Odd-Even rule.[3] Under this rule, vehicles with registration numbers ending in odd numbers are allowed on the roads on only odd days and even-numbered vehicles are allowed on the roads on only even days. The rule was announced to be introduced in Delhi in 2016 to reduce pollution and smog. However, the private vehicles of PwDs are generally retrofitted to meet their needs and due to lack of accessible infrastructure and accessible public transport, PwDs could only have moved out on alternate days. His petition led to an exception being carved out for PwDs and a status check on disability audit of Government buildings and the infrastructure retrofitting done by the Government to check how accessible Delhi was for Persons with Disabilities.[4]

Low-floor accessible buses

As a result of Malhotra's writ petition in the Supreme Court of India, the Government of Delhi was directed to only buy low-floor buses in Delhi.[5] The government had taken a decision on 1 September 2017 to induct 2,000 standard-floor buses. The petition challenged Delhi government and the Delhi Transport Corporation's (DTC) decision to buy 2,000 standard-floor buses instead of low-floor buses for the national capital.[6] On 5 August 2019, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of mandating low-floor buses in Delhi.

GST on disability aids and assistive devices

The Goods and Services Tax (GST) on Braille typewriters and papers, carriages for the disabled, wheelchairs and other assistive devices was fixed at rates of 5–18%. This was claimed by some to be equivalent to a tax on walking or seeing.[7] The GST rate on all mobility and disability aids across India has now been reduced from 18% to 5% after the 16th GST council meeting. However, the petition aims for a zero-rated GST, with a special refund scheme for input tax credit. This means that the entire value chain of the supply should be exempt from tax. Under this regime, not only is the final output exempt from payment of tax, the input for making/providing the output supply is exempted too.[8]

Indian sign language (ISL) recognition

In order to recognize Indian Sign Language as the 23rd official language of India, Malhotra filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court.[9][10] ISL gives an identity to the deaf community and is the only language they use to communicate. The issue was submitted for the consideration of the central government and they took notice of the matter. The quest to formalise Indian Sign Language gained momentum after this petition.[11] The government in power committed to spend more resources on the Indian Sign Language Research and Training Centre. For the first time ever, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) released a 12-minute video explaining the highlights of the party’s manifesto in sign language for the 2019 Indian general election[12] and the largest opposition party in India, Indian National Congress, promised to recognize Indian Sign Language in their national election manifesto.[13]

Zomato's disabled-friendly filter

There were not too many restaurants in Delhi and other Indian cities that advertised themselves as disabled-friendly.[14] Malhotra was denied entry at Keya, located in DLF Promenade Mall in Vasant Kunj in March 2015 because "as a 'policy', the restaurant did not allow entry to disabled persons".[15] Protests by disability-rights groups forced the Aam Aadmi Party government to order a magisterial inquiry into the incident. Malhotra contacted executives at the Zomato restaurant review and delivery website in August 2015 and suggested introducing a feature that could filter "disabled-friendly" restaurants. The idea was welcomed by them. The filter was added to the Zomato app in six metropolitan areas – Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Chennai.[16][17]

X-ray scanning in airport security

After being harassed and mocked by the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) officer on duty at the Bangalore Airport on 30 November 2016,[18] Malhotra, along with some other disability activists, lobbied with CISF to ease security procedures for PwDs at airports. There had been multiple similar reported instances from across the country. On 11 October 2017, the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) allowed using X-ray scanning for prosthetics and orthotics only as a measure of last resort. It was decided that checking of PwDs with a hand-held explosives trace detector (ETD) device would suffice and X-ray screening would only be used in cases of "sufficient doubt." Instructions were also issued to make wheelchair users get up from their wheelchairs only in exceptional cases for security checks.[19][20]

Nipman foundation microsoft equal opportunity awards

The Equal Opportunity Awards were instituted in 2014 to recognize organizations and individuals making significant contributions to people with disabilities in their workspace and lifestyles.[21]

The reason for starting the Awards was to encourage more companies to hire persons with disabilities.[22] In 2016, Microsoft came on board as the title partner for the Awards. In the sixth edition of the Nipman Foundation Microsoft Equal Opportunity Awards in 2019, awards were given in seven categories: Technological Innovations Empowering PwDs, Non-technological Innovations Empowering PwDs, Companies Hiring PwDs, Inclusive and Integrated Schools, Physical Accessibility Promoting Universal Design, Entrepreneur with a Disability, and Professional with a Disability[23].

In the media



  1. "Corporates join hands to promote diversity and inclusivity". Times of India. TNN. 3 January 2020. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  2. Kattakayam, Jiby J (17 December 2016). "Man who travels on wheels is opening doors of hope for many". DNA. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  3. Dehadrai, Jai Anant (27 December 2015). "After Kejriwal's Odd-Even Formula Forgot About The Specially-Abled, This Man Successfully Fought For It". India Times. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  4. Jha, Durgesh Nandan (13 January 2016). "Odd-even: Last petitioner standing wants disability audit". Times of India. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  5. Mahapatra, Dhananjay (16 February 2019). "After PIL, SC seeks Delhi government's response on buying only low-floor buses". Times of India. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  6. Singh, Pritam Pal (13 June 2018). "Delhi High Court halts move to add standard-floor buses". The Indian Express. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  7. "Schoolboy bats for removal of GST on equipment for divyang". The Free Press Journal. 11 April 2019. Retrieved 21 May 2020.
  8. "GST levy on equipment for disabled; SC seeks Centre's reply". Business Standard. PTI. 22 August 2017. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  9. Wangchuk, Rinchen Norbu (21 September 2018). "Meet the Delhi Man Fighting To Get Indian Sign Language Officially Recognised". The Better India. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  10. Sharma, Aasheesh (25 September 2018). "Breach the wall of silence: Give State recognition to Indian Sign Language". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  11. Dhillon, Dilsher (7 November 2018). "The quest to formalise Indian Sign Language is gaining momentum". Business Insider India. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  12. "CPI(M) releases video explaining manifesto in sign language". The Hindu. 6 April 2019. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  13. "SWABHIMAAN Self-Esteem For The Deprived - Persons with Disabilities". Indian National Congress. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  14. Pandey, Vikas (18 December 2015). "Making restaurant visits 'a pleasure' for India's disabled". BBC News, Delhi. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  15. Pareek, Shreya (11 August 2015). "After Being Denied Entry in a Restaurant, This Man Got Zomato to Add a Disabled Friendly Filter". The Better India. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  16. Gulati, Sumegha (6 October 2015). "Thanks Nipun! Zomato Will Now List 'Disabled-friendly' Restaurants". the quint. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  17. Bose, Adrija (10 August 2015). "This 27-Year-Old Got Zomato To List 'Disabled-Friendly' Restaurants". Huffington Post. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  18. Shakil, Sana (10 December 2016). "Wheelchair-bound passenger 'humiliated' at Bangalore airport". DNA India. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  19. Bhatnagar, Gaurav Vivek (13 October 2017). "Bureau of Civil Aviation and Security Allows for X-Ray Scanning for PwDs as Measure of Last Resort". The Wire. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  20. Gandhiok, Jasjeev (14 October 2017). "No X-ray screening for disabled at airports". The Times of India. Retrieved 22 May 2020.
  21. "Nipman Foundation presented first edition of the Equal Opportunity Awards in Delhi". The Times of India. 2 September 2014. Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  22. Singh, Nandita (29 November 2017). "With Nipman awards, we want to motivate companies to hire people with disabilities". Retrieved 15 May 2020.
  23. Sirur, Simrin (14 November 2019). "Being disability friendly a lesson in business & economics: Amitabh Kant". The Print. Retrieved 25 May 2020.

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