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  • ID cards for Andhra’s disabled gives them access to government benefits

    The Andhra Pradesh government is planning to issue identity cards to the physically challenged, which will make it easier for them to avail of government benefits.

    Using the new identity card, a physically-challenged person will be able to get a loan, acquire assets or travel free of charge on a Road Transport Corporation bus.

    Chairman of the AP Vikalangula Cooperative Corporation, P Saibaba, and the commissioner for disabled welfare, R Sundaravadan, said they had launched the programme as a follow-up to the multi-purpose health camps being held for the handicapped. The cards will indicate the person’s exact disability and degree of disability.

    A total of 7,000 handicapped persons have been issued the cards till date.

    There are an estimated 55 lakh disabled persons in Andhra Pradesh. According to Saibaba and Sundaravadan, the programme of issuing cards was being carried out in phases. In the first phase, cards will be issued to 5 lakh persons at a cost of Rs 25 lakh. This year the authorities hope to issue 50,000 cards. Kerala is the only other state that has introduced an ID system for the disabled.

    Saibaba also announced that a complex for the disabled, with all the requisite facilities, would be constructed on a five-acre site in the heart of Hyderabad. The estimated cost of the complex is Rs 11 crore; the cost will be partly borne by the central government. The complex is expected to be ready “within two to three years”.

    Sundaravadan explained that the budget for disabled welfare was set to touch a record Rs 55 crore in this financial year. He said that 11 training-cum-production centres run by his department had received orders worth Rs 3 crore. Those working at the centres were engaged in carpentry, making tricycles and designing cane furniture.

    The commissioner has fixed September 30, 2003, as the deadline for filling all remaining vacancies for the disabled. Out of the 2,089 vacancies in this category, 1,559 have been notified and 1,050 already filled.

    Source: The Hindu

    May 8, 2003

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