A digital platform called 'MahaSharad' that will help persons with disabilities, or 'divyangjan', get free assistive devices will be launched on Saturday to coincide with NCP chief Sharad Pawar's 80th birthday, Maharashtra minister Dhananjay Munde said on Friday. According to an official statement, the portal http://www.mahasharad.in will be launched on Saturday while the platform will be made available as mobile application by the end of March next year.
Munde, the state's Social Justice and Special Assistance minister, said his department aims to help 29 lakh persons with disabilities through 'Maharashtra System for Health and Rehabilitation Assistance' or MahaSharad platform. "Modern equipment, devices help divyang lead life like normal individuals in a big way. Equipment like Braille kit, hearing machines, prosthetic limbs and battery-operated wheelchairs are available in the market, but not everybody can afford them," he said.
"Several people, organisations, private companies, industrialists and others are willing to make available such equipment for divyang. The MahaSharad platform will help such donors meet (online) needy divyang. Those in need can start registering on the portal from Saturday. Information will be classified based on the kind of equipment they require," the minister added. He said e-Barti, a mobile application, will also be launched on Saturday, and this will give people information about welfare schemes being implemented under the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Research and Training Institute (BARTI).
The Pune-based BARTI is an autonomous organisation of the state Social Justice and Special Assistance department. It aims to attain equality and social justice through scientific research, evaluation of schemes meant for socially disadvantaged sections, policy advocacy, training, skills development etc.