Tamil Nadu government’s 10 crore package for disabled people gets mixed responses
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami recently announced setting aside funds for various development projects of people with mental disabilities, muscular dystrophy and hearing impairment. Disability rights groups in the state welcomes this latest move. But they also point out that there is a long way to go when it comes to creating an inclusive environment.
Amidst all the Coronavirus scare, here is some good news for people with disabilities in Tamil Nadu. The state government, under the leadership of Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, has announced a huge amount to be set aside for schemes for development of disabled people.
On Monday, Palaniswami announced that Rs 10 crore will allotted for treatment of people with mental disabilities, those with muscular dystrophy and hearing impaired as well. Funds are allotted from the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Medical Insurance Scheme. Disability rights groups in the state have mixed reviews about this latest announcement.
Reaching out to the disabled community
Palaniswami further added that the state government will allot 1.31 acres of land to construct a high-school for hearing-impaired children in the state. An amount of over Rs 6 crore will be set aside for this.
A new differently-abled women and children compensation scheme will be introduced for welfare of disabled women and children who are sexual assault survivors.
He further added that Rs 24.25 crore will be set aside for construction of modern classrooms, community halls, vocational training centres, hostels for women and purchase of computers and other technology. The latest initiative is indeed remarkable. But the disabled community will have to wait and see how well this is going to be implemented.
Reactions from disability rights experts
TMN Deepak, Founder, 3 December Movement in Tamil Nadu says that there is still a long way to go when it comes to applying such schemes.
“It is a welcome move from the government. But we must see its implementation. The benefits from this are yet to be known. If the corpus is only Rs 10 crore, we have to see what quantum of relief this would grant. This is the first step of the government towards the right direction”, says Deepak.
Smita Sadasivan is a prominent disability rights activist from Tamil Nadu.
“Good to know about the extension of medical insurance scheme for the deaf, people with mental and social disabilities and those with muscular dystrophy. But this still sounds to be incomplete as it does not cover all the 21 disabilities, especially the newly added ones. High school for children with hearing impairment might be more effective if it turns into a model inclusive school with teachers trained in sign language. I appreciate the intention and willingness of the chief minister. It will be great if he conducts a stake holder’s consultation and look into what it really means for inclusive development of people with disabilities”.
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