Thiruvananthapuram: The Central government will invest Rs 1,700 crore to transform NISH as the National University for Rehabilitation Sciences and Disability Studies for the benefit of the differently abled people, Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thawar Chand Gehlot announced here Saturday.
“It is provisioned to spend Rs 390 crore for the first five years of expansion of the University which will have infrastructure as well as operational components. The rest of the amount will be granted in the next phases which will span another five years,” he said, addressing a gathering at National Institute of Speech and Hearing (NISH).
Thawar praised the state government’s initiative to build such an institute as NISH which provides high quality services for the population with disabilities.
The minister, who made a round of the NISH campus, was accompanied by officials from the Department for Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, including its Secretary Luv Varma and Joint Secretary Awanish K Awasthi.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked us to implement different yojanas or strategies for the differently abled people and we are working on these strategies. We are planning to set up an institution for the sign language and the hearing impaired people which will be registered in March,” Thawar said.
The Central government’s aim is to have a country with people with no disabilities and if at all there are such people, the government will provide necessary support and education for them and equip them with instruments, devices and other facilities to help them fully included in the mainstream life, he pointed out.
The government will also provide support for the blind with the Braille language books and equipment and teach sign language for the people with hearing and speech impairment. The government will provide help to perform cochlear implantations for the children below six years who are having hearing and speech impairment.
“We will provide Rs six lakh for each cochlear implant; we have already done this implantation for 300 children, after which they were given the necessary therapy so that they could hear and speak gradually”, he said.
The minister also wished all success to the university which is projected to have more than 4000 students by the time the full project is implemented.
These will be in two streams – higher education for those with disabilities and professionals who will work in the field of disability and rehabilitation.
The students of the Early Intervention Programme for Deaf, Autism Intervention Programme and Degree Programme put up various performances on the occasion.
The national anthem was sung in a unique way at the end of the function. The deaf and hearing students signed and sang together.
NISH Director G Vijayaraghavan, Executive Director Dr Samuel N Mathew, and Special Secretary, Social Justice Department, Government of Kerala, A Shajahan were among those present on the occasion.