The Maharashtra government will provide free spectacles for all school students aged between 6-18 years, an official said in Mumbai on Wednesday. The project will cost Rs 20 crore plus a recurring expenditure of around Rs 5 crore per annum. The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray.
The official said that as per the central government's Rashtriya Bal Swasthaya Programme, all school students undergo a health checkup every year.
This year, 1,195 medical teams on the job found that the incidence of visual problems has increased significantly among the school students, the official said.
Around 8 percent of the 1.22 crore school students in the state suffer from visual problems and providing them with free eye-glasses would help improve their academics.
The government plans to provide spectacles, estimated to cost around Rs 200 each to affected students, of which 25 percent would need higher power glasses after a year.
The state Health Department plans to deliver the spectacles to the students either at school or their homes from the funds made available, said the official.
Besides Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu provides free spectacles to school kids in the age group of 6-12 in certain districts.