A special recruitment drive will be conducted to fill jobs reserved for persons with disability in the State government, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi announced on Thursday.

Making a slew of announcements for the welfare of the disabled, Mr Karunanidhi said the scheme of unemployment allowance, now implemented in the case of visually handicapped, would be extended to cover all categories of persons with disability. This would cover 59,247 persons and entail an additional expenditure of Rs. 23.93 crore.

He was addressing a function organised here by Federation of Tamil Nadu Physically Handicapped Associations.

The Chief Minister said the monthly pension of Rs. 400, being given to the physically and visually disabled, would be extended to the deaf and dumb. At present, the marriage assistance scheme was benefiting 400 persons. This year, an additional 1,100 persons would be covered. This would involve an additional expenditure of Rs. 2.2 crore.

There were 600 persons waiting for motor-fitted three wheelers. They would be given the vehicles this year and it would cost Rs. 1.2 crore additionally to the government.

Many more announcements would be made in the Budget to be presented shortly, Mr Karunanidhi said.

Referring to the statement made by one of the speakers earlier regarding the enhanced allocation for the welfare of the disabled, he said his government was ready to set apart not just Rs. 100 crore but even Rs. 1,000 crore for the welfare of persons with disability.

He reiterated that his government would always pay attention to the issues and problems concerning persons with disability.

Mr Karunanidhi gave a detailed account of the benefits being reaped by persons with disability through various welfare measures of the government.

P. Geetha Jeevan, Social Welfare Minister, said a committee, headed by her, was constantly monitoring the implementation of three per cent reservation for persons with disability in the government. Kanimozhi, Member of Parliament, said the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government was executing numerous welfare schemes for persons with disability as it was convinced of the need and importance of such schemes, not with the intention of regarding them as a vote bank.

G. Chidambaranathan, president of the Federation, called for providing more manpower to the Social Welfare department for effective implementation of the welfare schemes.

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