Nearly 60,000 persons with disabilities are to be covered under the State government's scheme of providing unemployment allowance. This will cost the exchequer an additional Rs.23.5 crore every year.

An order to this effect was issued by the Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme Department.

As part of the scheme, an amount of Rs. 300 a month is given to students up to standard X, ; Rs. 375 to those who have completed higher secondary and Rs. 450 to graduates.

Originally, the scheme was implemented only in the case of persons with visual handicap. Though the government issued an order in August 2008 to provide the allowance to all categories of persons with disabilities, its earlier estimate of total beneficiaries was less.

A senior government official explains that when the government subsequently carried out a detailed study, it found that the number of beneficiaries was much higher. In view of the consequent rise in the financial commitment several times, the government has now issued another order. Those who had been covered under the Labour and Employment Department's unemployment assistance scheme have been excluded from this scheme and transferred to the scheme meant for the persons with disabilities.

According to the Department's Budget Estimates for 2009-2010, a sum of Rs. 42 lakh was provided for the allowance to the persons with visual handicap and about Rs. 1.14 crore for the allowance to other categories of persons with disabilities. After the study, the total commitment will now be approximately Rs.23.9 crore, of which about Rs. 0.46 crore will be used for the persons with visual handicap and Rs. 23.5 crore for others.

Of the revised number of beneficiaries, the hearing- and speech-impaired account for 5,247; visually handicapped – 1,134 and the rest – 53,046.

Among those who studied standard X or below are 3,623 persons belong to the category of the hearing and speech-impaired; 743 – visually handicapped and 33,912 – others.

Of those who finished higher secondary, 1,131 persons belong to the category of the hearing and speech impaired; 236 – visually handicapped and 12,717 – others.

In the case of graduates, 493 persons belong to the category of the hearing and speech impaired; 155 – visually handicapped and 6,417 – others.