Special Correspondent

Will give information on diagnosis, etc.

NEW DELHI: Union Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Meira Kumar on Thursday inaugurated an Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) here to provide people information on disabilities and enable them to avail themselves of the services in their neighbourhood.

The 24-hour service in the Delhi telecom circle will give information on diagnosis, treatment, counselling, education, employment, government schemes and other facilities.

The information is available in Hindi and English and can be accessed by dialling 29825094, 29825095 or 29825096.

Felicitating the Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for the Hearing Handicapped for taking the initiative to set up the service, Ms. Kumar called for extending the facility to rural areas.

The Disability Line is the second such facility in the country after the one set up by the Maharashtra-Goa Telecom Circle, which became operational in September 2005. The Ministry proposes to set up similar helplines in all telecom circles soon with information available in Hindi and local languages.

As per the 2001 census, 2.19 crore people, constituting about 2.13 per cent of the country's population, suffer from disabilities. Seventyfive per cent of the people with disabilities live in rural areas.

About 49 per cent are illiterate and only 34 per cent are employed.