The tax-free State budget 2010-2011, presented by Finance Minister K. Anbazhagan in the recently inaugurated Assembly-Secretariat complex on Friday, contained a slew of policy measures for the differently abled.
Apart from announcing the creation of a department under the “direct supervision” of the Chief Minister, Mr. Anbazhagan conveyed the State government’s appeal to the Union government to amend the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 in consonance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
“This government would take all necessary steps for enabling the differently abled persons to lead their lives getting their due share in all livelihood rights such as education, health facilities, employment and with equal rights and opportunities in the society, in accordance with this Convention,” he said, pointing out that India was seventh among the countries that had adopted and signed the Convention.
When Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi entered the Assembly Hall, he was greeted by thumping of desks by members of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Congress. Even as the Finance Minister rose to present the budget, members of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam who came to the House in black attire staged a walkout, shouting slogans against the government.
Mr. Anbazhagan said the income ceiling prescribed for the differently abled availing assistance under various welfare schemes of the government would be removed. After having exempted such persons from payment of tuition fee, the government would exempt them from payment of special fees in the coming academic year.
A monthly assistance of Rs. 200 towards food to students staying in homes for the differently abled run by the Government and voluntary organisations would be enhanced to Rs. 450. The Minister said expenditure on the welfare of differently abled was fixed at Rs. 176 crore in the coming financial year as against Rs. 49 crore in 2005-2006.