Infants and children with mental disability, visual impairment, and hearing impairment, take part in special camp
It was a camp organised by the Revenue Department for selecting eligible persons with disabilities (PWD) for the monthly pension scheme of the State Government. But all those who attended the camp at the Coimbatore Collectorate on Friday were children, because it was a special camp to select eligible ones from among them for the pension scheme.
Infants and children with mental disability, visual impairment, and hearing impairment, took part in the camp.
The scheme, which initially catered only to PWDs above the age of 45, was later relaxed to 18 years. Since there was a demand from many stakeholders to include children too in the scheme, the Government recently set up an ‘Age Relaxation Committee’, which identifies eligible children through such camps to become beneficiaries.
The second camp of this kind that was held here on Friday saw nearly 90 children become provisional beneficiaries of the pension scheme. The official confirmation will be sent to them once the Collector, who is the chairman of the Age Relaxation Committee, releases it as an order. This will ensure that the child gets a monthly assistance of Rs. 1,000 in the form of a money order. The first camp was held in January this year.
The Age Relaxation Committee also includes the District Differently-Abled Rehabilitation Officer, medical officers from Coimbatore Medical College Hospital (CMCH) who certify the disability of the children, and Tahsildars from the Revenue Department.
“Awareness about this new scheme is spread through the Village Administrative Officers (VAO). The applications submitted to the Tahsildars through the VAOs are forwarded to the Committee. When a considerable number is collected, a camp is held. Doctors from the specialities of ophthalmology, orthopaedics, neurology, ENT, and psychiatry, inspect the children and certify them based on the percentage of disability. Those not meeting the eligibility criteria are rejected,” C. Jasmine, District Differently-Abled Rehabilitation Officer, said.
Tahsildars from the Revenue Department said they had called 182 applicants for the camp. But only 95 attended, because of distance and other constraints.
Four children were found ineligible. The youngest beneficiary was a one-and-a-half year old boy with mental disability from Kempatti Colony.
“Though there are children with various categories of disabilities, the maximum number which attended is those with mental disability. We get mild to severe cases of disability. In the last camp, the Collector approved pension for four girl children of the same family. There are more than 10,000 persons with disability receiving pension in Coimbatore district and it is increasing every month. These camps will make more persons eligible,” K.K. Malathi, Special Tahsildar, Social Security Scheme, Revenue Department, Coimbatore South, said.
Ms. Jasmine added that all those who were not able to attend this camp, could make use of the next camp. She hoped that the awareness about the scheme would spread and there would be many more beneficiaries.
The parents who brought the children to the camp believed that the pension would bring some relief.
Those whose children had physical disability and mild mental disability were advised to make use of other schemes and Government facilities to educate the children to make them as independent as possible.