Bhubaneswar: The Department of Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (SSEPD) Wednesday gave away 150 laptops equipped with text-to-speech software to bridge the digital divide.
The aim, according to officials, is to help them equipped with the required software and a laptop which can connect to the vast information available in cyberspace.
The government said that this software can help them read the contents shown on the screen which is otherwise difficult due to their low vision. “Laptops with the software were distributed to 150 blind students pursuing higher education. This will connect them to the Internet and they can access information from across the world. The corpus of Rs 50 lakh had been enhanced to Rs 2 crore per annum from this year to provide free laptops to 250 beneficiaries,” SSEPD Minister Prafulla Samal said.
The SSEPD Secretary urged the corporate bodies to work with the differently-abled and to help them. SSEPD department’s Principal Secretary Niten Chandra said, “I appeal to the corporate world to utilise at least 5 per cent of their CSR funds for empowerment of PwDs. Odisha is one of the frontline states which has a separate department and independent officer for PwDs at the block and district levels.” SSEPD Director Susanta Mohapatra said, “I appeal to students to use the assistance appropriately to become independent and contribute meaningfully to the development of the country which is very much possible with the active support of PwDs, parents, stakeholders and society at large.
The beneficiaries were given the laptops at a function held on the campus of the National Career Service Centre for the Differently-Abled (NCSDA) which provided many of them free skill development training also.
The event is a joint project of the SSEPD Department and NCSDA, Ram Kishore Sharma, Assistant Director, NCSDA said.