R. Sakthivel, 37, of Vellamadai, is busy with his sweet and savouries business. In addition he has a grocery store. And the income has given his family a sense of security and decent living.

A few years ago, however, the differently-abled was working at a savouries shop for a paltry Rs. 300 a month. He was struggling to make both ends meet. “Those days were difficult, for mine is a family of six,” he recalls. The change has come about because of the loan he got under the Prime Minister's Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) and the assistance he received from the District Disabled Rehabilitation Office ( DDRO) to set up the unit.

“I applied for a loan under the PMEGP and received Rs. 10 lakh for purchasing machines to prepare savouries and sweets.”

In getting the loan amount released, Mr. Sakthivel had to pay five per cent of the project cost as beneficiary's contribution, which is where the DDRO came into picture. “I did not pay even my share because the State Government, through the DDRO, took care of my contribution owing to my special status.” District Disabled Rehabilitation Officer C. Jasmine says the Government pays beneficiaries' contribution.

“In the last financial year, the Coimbatore office has assisted three differently-abled entrepreneurs paying Rs. 64,000.” S. Ramakrishnan, also a beneficiary, has set up a travel agency in Pollachi. His father V.R. Sundaram says his worries about his son's future have more or less been wiped out thanks to the PMEGP loan and the DDRO assistance. The visually challenged youth offers ticketing assistance for train and air travel. He operates computers with the help of a special software called, JAWS.

The third beneficiary Sumathy of Vellakinaru has set up an areca nut plate manufacturing unit.

Ms. Jasmine says the DDRO wants to promote entrepreneurship among differently-abled persons and the Government's decision to pay the beneficiary contribution is a major step in that regard.

This one-time intervention will go a long way in helping the challenged people and also boosting their confidence, she adds.

More In: Coimbatore