By Arun Kumar P
With the onset of globalization of economy in 1991, Public Sector started occupying a key position in the growing Indian economy. Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India, a ‘MINI RATNA’ CPSE, popularly known as ALIMCO, is one such organisation working with Not for Profit motive, tirelessly to light up the lives of the Persons with Disabilities by empowering them by providing quality assistive aids and appliances and creating an opportunity for them to be the part of main stream society.
Disability is a crucial segment of social development sector, not effectively addressed in the past. Availability of artificial limbs and assistive aids & devices plays important role in improving the productivity of persons with disabilities. According to Census 2011, there are 2.68 crore persons with disabilities in India (who constitute 2.21 percent of the total population). Out of the total persons with disabilities, about 1.50 crore are male and 1.18 crore females. Out of these 0.82 crore live in urban areas and 1.86 Crore live in rural areas. These include persons with visual, hearing, speech and loco-motor disabilities, mental illness, mental retardation, multiple disabilities and other disabilities.
Factory Floor of ALIMCO
The National Policy for Persons with Disabilities, 2006 recognizes that persons with disabilities are a valuable human resource for the country and seeks to create an environment that provides them equal opportunities, protection of their rights and full participation in society. It recognizes the fact that majority of persons with disabilities can lead a better quality of life if they are given equal opportunities and effective access to rehabilitation measures.
The Government has launched and implemented various disability centric welfare schemes. ADIP (Assistance to Disabled Person) is one of the most popular scheme which aims to purchase and fitting of assistive aids and appliances to persons with disability and ALIMCO is the largest implementing agency of ADIP Scheme.
In the last two years, more than 1.58 lakh beneficiaries have been served by ALIMCO exclusively under ADIP scheme by conducting 766 distribution camps throughout the country. The historic city of Varanasi witnessed one of the biggest ever distribution camp organized by ALIMCO and was presided by the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi.
ALIMCO manufactures a wide range of assistive devices for Orthopedically, Visually, Hearing and Mentally Impaired, under one roof in mass scale and majority of products bear ISI Marking. So far, about 4.5 million beneficiaries have received aids & appliances manufactured by ALIMCO across the length and breadth of the country.
Last two years in the journey of ALIMCO can be described as golden years as the corporation achieved an unprecedented growth. The turnover during first six months of financial year 2014-15 was just Rs. 47.00 crores and after NDA Government came to power, it achieved a turnover of Rs. 162.70 Crores, with a surplus of 31.65 Crores. During the Financial year 2015-16, the overall turnover increased to Rs. 190.23 Crore with a surplus of Rs. 40 Crores. After NDA Government coming to power, Rs. 286.00 Crores has been sanctioned for modernization of ALIMCO.
To cope up with the technological advancement at global level in the field of rehabilitation, ALIMCO has taken initiative and collaborated with the international firms for manufacturing new products in the country at affordable price.
Technology transfer will enable ALIMCO to produce and provide cost effective and affordable lower limbs prosthetic system to Persons with disabilities through its wide spread national network across the country. Production of technologically advanced prosthetic system will improve the independence and mobility of lower limbs amputees from all section of society in the country. This will help in contributing towards ‘Make In India’ drive of Hon’ble Prime Minister of India.
Artificial Limbs Manufacturing Corporation of India (ALIMCO) signed an MoU with Motivation U.K for developing adjustable Wheelchairs and CP Chairs in compliance with WHO guidelines. The MoU will lead to Transfer of technology from Motivation, UK to ALIMCO, India for manufacturing new generation Wheelchair for rough terrains, CP chairs and adjustable Wheel chairs. Production of technologically advanced Wheel chairs will improve the independence and mobility of Persons with disabilities through wheeled mobility devices from all sections of society in the country.
ALIMCO took up diversification of product range to cover all categories of persons with disabilities. Quite a few new products like ADL Kit for Leprosy cases, Smart cane, Smart phone and Tablet etc. for Visually Impaired were added to ALIMCO’s Product range. Through in-house R&D, Motorized Tricycle (Battery Operated), Joystick operated Battery Driven Motorized Wheelchair, detachable manual tricycle, a disabled friendly petrol driven scooter which can be driven in Hilly Terrains were developed and improvements were made in the existing products also.
ALIMCO is in the process of business tie up with various international companies to make available advanced high end products for persons with disabilities in India and identification of export market for ALIMCO products in South Asia, South East Asia and Africa with the help of Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. The marketing department has been bifurcated into two divisions i.e. for sale under ADIP Scheme & other Government Schemes and sale in the open market with an objective to make the Corporation self-sustaining.
ALIMCO provides aids and assistive devices to the persons with disabilities below poverty line free of cost. The distribution of these devices is done in the form of Camps. The request of conducting a camp in a particular town comes from the ministry, local representatives or district authorities. Upon receiving the request, ALIMCO conducts publicity in the area proposed by the district authorities, so maximum beneficiaries turn up for the assessment camp.
A Prosthetic & Orthotic Officer deputed by ALIMCO conducts the assessment and prepares the list of beneficiaries who needs the devices. The date & venue of the distribution camp is fixed by the district authorities and are intimated to the beneficiaries through bulk SMS.
CSR and ALIMCO
Despite best efforts, it is strongly felt that Government schemes alone cannot cater to huge population of Persons with disabilities in the country. Determined to empowerment of Persons with disabilities of our country, ALIMCO approached Corporates, particularly CPSEs to join hands with ALIMCO under their CSR Programmes to provide Aids & Assistive Devices to Persons with disabilities. The Corporates, particularly CPSEs are therefore requested to reach out the unreached, and pay back to the society specially the under privileged Persons with disabilities for their inclusive growth and empowerment.
ALIMCO is the only CPSE which has mandate to produce and distribute Aids & Assistive Devices to Persons with disabilities across the country. Being a central Public Sector any Corporate joining hands with ALIMCO for their CSR Programme finds all the operations and transactions to be transparent and hassle free. It is expected that more & more Corporate will come forward and get associated with ALIMCO under their CSR Programmes and help in empowering the deprived Persons with disabilities of our country by providing them suitable Aids & Assistive Devices.
(The writer is an Officer of PIB.)