The Directorate for the Welfare of Differently Abled instructed the district level officials to provide 60 per cent of the smartphones to visually and hearing impaired persons, 20 per cent to those who are self-employed, 15 per cent for unemployed graduates and 5 per cent for women applicants.
According to activists, there are about 10,000 visually and hearing impaired persons in each district, but only around 200 phones have been allocated to each district. As a result, many applicants have not been given the gadgets, leading to protests in many districts.
“Additional funds should be allocated to ensure all the applicants receive smartphones. Also, all persons with disabilities should benefitted from the scheme,” said S Namburajan, general secretary of Tamil Nadu Association for the Rights of All Types of Differently Abled and Caregivers (TARATDAC).
V Smitha, another disability rights activist, said the scheme should be publicised widely. “The scheme should benefit all,” she said.
Johnny Tom Varghese, Director of Welfare of Differently Abled, said that the allocated fund of Rs 10 crore for smartphones and accessories such as flip covers was already used up for 8,000 persons. This is an annual scheme that would be proposed next year too, he said. “We hope that the government will consider it,” added the official.