[AI] Chennai: Visually impaired people in dark of government schemes

avinash shahi shahi88avinash at gmail.com
Tue Jul 7 23:10:48 PDT 2015

This report again raises question why people living in the countryside
are not informed about the schemes meant for them. I hardly hear any
advertisement aired onn All India Radio or DD informing disabled about
the several schemes. This report also gives big NGO an opportunity to
expand their reach. However what are other local NGOs doing there?
literature suggest that the Tamil Nadu has a vibrant SHGs movement and
NGOs function efficiently. Moreover this report has factual and
spelling errors but who to blame TOI is runned by corporates...
>From early intervention centres to scholarships; readers' allowance to
magnifiers; unemployment allowance to social security pension -the
state has been rolling out a number of welfare schemes for the
visually impaired. But due to lack of awareness, some people, like K
Lakshmi of Aminjikarai, remain in the dark unless friends or
neighbours tip them off about these schemes.

 The mother of four dropped in at the commisionerate of the
differently abled in K K Nagar to check if her 25-year-old daughter, A
Sangeetha, could get an identity card and pass book to avail the
benefits of welfare schemes. "I couldn't afford to send my daughter to
school and was clueless about the government schemes available. A
friend directed me to this office recently," said Lakshmi. Sangeetha
doesn't have goggles, folding sticks or Braille watches, all of which
comes free of cost from the government.

 An effective intervention in the early years of children will help
develop skills. Currently, Tamil Nadu has nine early intervention
centres. The number of students fell to 163 from 176 last year. The
irony is that centres in Tirunelveli and Virudhunagar were shut down
for want of students this academic year.

 Interestingly, Tamil Nadu bagged the best state award for welfare
schemes for the disabled last year. Government sources told TOI that
needs of the intended population are being addressed with the setting
up of an exclusive department and set of officials in each district.
"The budgetary al location for the disabled shot up to `361.96 crore
this fiscal, from `202 crore in 2012-13. We have issued ID cards to
94% of the disabled population as enumerated in the census," said a
senior official.

 "Cumbersome procedures involved in availing state and
Centre-sponsored schemes are keeping off the targeted population,"
said R K Rungta, the first visually impaired person to be designated
senior advocate in Delhi high court. For instance, Tamil Nadu has
introduced a scheme, wherein the government will foot 25% of the pay
given to a blind employee, but the move is yet to pick up sources say
. Social security pen sion by the revenue department offers `1,000 per
month for the disabled, while the commissioner ate of welfare of the
differently abled offers `1,500 per month for severe disabilities.

 The allegations of not adher ing to the 3% reservation in gov ernment
recruitment are surfac ing more than ever before. Though Tamil Nadu
Public Service Com mission managed to fill up the posts to an extent,
sources say that they couldn't fill up the rest due to a lack of
qualified candidates.

Avinash Shahi
Doctoral student at Centre for Law and Governance JNU

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