Increase monthly aid for the disabled in Tamil Nadu, say activists

Stating that many persons were dependent on this assistance, P. Simmachandran, of the Tamil Nadu Differently Abled Federation Charitable Trust, said with their medical needs as well as the prices of essentials, even ₹3,000 would not be enough.

Published - February 10, 2022 01:10 am IST - CHENNAI

Following a question raised in the Rajya Sabha about the disbursal of assistance for disabled persons across States, disability rights activists in Tamil Nadu have reiterated the need to increase the amount given as monthly assistance.

At present, a monthly assistance of ₹1,000 is given to 3.49 lakh persons with disabilities in Tamil Nadu. The data provided for States and Union Territories indicated that this is lower than Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Puducherry, and Delhi. This amount is disbursed through the revenue departments across districts.

The monthly assistance given to around 2.06 lakh persons with severe and multiple disabilities, muscular dystrophy, intellectual disabilities and disabilities caused by leprosy however, was increased to ₹2,000 from ₹1,500 earlier this year by Chief Minister M.K. Stalin. This is disbursed by the department for the welfare of persons with disabilities.

“It has been our long-standing demand that the monthly assistance given to over 3.49 lakh persons with disabilities in the State be increased. With a much bigger population of persons with disabilities, States such as Andhra Pradesh are able to disburse ₹3,000 per month as their monthly assistance. Puducherry has fixed this at anywhere between ₹2,000 to ₹ 3,800 as well,” said S. Namburajan, State general secretary, the Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC). He also highlighted that persons with disabilities below the age of 18 are still facing difficulties in procuring this assistance.

Over the last few years, TARATDAC members have organized protests, calling for the monthly assistance to be increased to a minimum of ₹3,000. They had also highlighted the effect that the pandemic had on persons with disabilities, with several having faced loss of livelihood and health problems.

Stating that many persons were dependent on this assistance, P. Simmachandran, of the Tamil Nadu Differently Abled Federation Charitable Trust, said with their medical needs as well as the prices of essentials, even ₹3,000 would not be enough.

“As a person with a disability, I end up spending for calipers as well as other assistive devices every year, and if the assistance is raised to ₹3,000, it will only cover my medical and other expenses with regard to this,” he said. While the State provides free assistive devices for persons with disabilities once every five years, Mr. Simmachandran said given the nature of their jobs as well as everyday use, they are forced to replace it every year.

He said the State government should consider a minimum monthly assistance of ₹5,000.

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