Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy said orders had been issued towards disbursement of loans to the extent of Rs.600 crore by March this year for self help groups formed by the physically-challenged across the State. This is against the Rs.200 crore loans disbursed last year to the groups, he said at a meeting to celebrate the 204 birth anniversary of Louis Braille here on Friday.
The Chief Minister spoke at the Louis Braille Park near Nalgonda Crossroads, after inaugurating the ‘Disabled Welfare Building’, a corporate office-cum-training centre for the disabled under the Disabled Welfare Department.
Listing out the government measures for the physically-challenged in the State, He said Rs.39 crore had been released for building ramps to improve access for the disabled. Another Rs.37 crore was released for disabled-friendly toilets in about 7,000 schools across the State. Over 5,000 physically-challenged persons will benefit from surgeries organised at an expenditure of Rs.40 crore, while ‘SADAREM’ camps will help identify the physically-challenged persons and provide them aids and appliances.
A decision about raising the pension amount will be taken after due consideration. Mr. Reddy promised that those with less than 40 per cent disability too would be taken into consideration for pension. He distributed laptops to two disabled students on the occasion.
Minister for the Disabled Welfare Sunitha Lakshma Reddy said vocational training would be offered in 12 courses in the newly-constructed building. with corporate features. The building has been constructed by GHMC with an expenditure of Rs.4.5 crore, and will house a Study Circle for the disabled, she informed.
Member of Rajya Sabha V.Hanumantha Rao donated Rs. 1 lakh from Periyar Award for the welfare of the physically-challenged persons.
The meeting witnessed mild tension when visually-challenged men raised slogans demanding that the one per cent quota for the visually-challenged women within the 33 per cent women’s quota in jobs should be brought under ‘visually handicapped -general’ category.
However, the Chief Minister said he would seek guidance from the Legal department before taking a decision.