Special Correspondent

Small groups taken care of

CHENNAI: The budget for 2008-09 did not forget the small and marginalised groups that normally do not find a place when the State talks issue at a macro level.

For instance, the government has decided to form a Rs.5 crore trust for children who had lost either or both parents to AIDS. “The government will provide monthly assistance through this trust to those NGOs or relatives who take care of these children in the form of allowances for their maintenance, education and health care,” said Finance Minister K. Anbazhagan.

Having set up a welfare board for transgenders, the government has now decided to impart vocational training to them.

This will be done both for individuals and transgender self-help groups. The government will extend financial assistance to establish a transit home for transgenders in transition through NGOs.”

Welfare board

It has also decided to set up a separate welfare board for Narikkuravas to provide them education, alternative livelihood and various other benefits.

D. Ravikumar, MLA, who requested the government to set up a board for them in the last session, said the move would go a long way in helping the community, and thanked the government.

Another very small group of persons in exceedingly difficult circumstances is those afflicted with muscular dystrophy. “As the plight of persons affected with muscular dystrophy is similar to that of disabled persons, they will also be provided with monthly assistance of Rs.500 as in the case of other disabled persons,” Mr. Anbazhagan said.

There are early intervention centres for the hearing impaired in 10 districts. Similar centres will be established in the remaining 21 districts through Non Governmental Organisations.

Sewer workers

The government did not forget the sewer workers. “Deeply concerned about their welfare, this government will provide protective gear to those engaged in clearing the blocks in sewer lines…Sanitary and sewer workers will be provided health insurance and annual medical check-up free of cost,” Mr. Anbazhagan said. The government will also purchase machinery to avoid the need for the workers to go down a drain.

In another announcement, the government has decided to write off the loans amounting to Rs.5.5 crore availed by Adi Dravidar farmers from TAHDCO.