From the current academic session, all visually impaired students of Class IX and X in Odisha will be provided free Braille textbooks.Earlier, the Odisha Primary Education Programme Authority was providing free Braille textbooks to all visually impaired students studying in Class I to VIII in government-managed schools. From this year, this measure has been extended to Class IX and X students as well.Odisha’s only Braille press in Berhampur is busy printing the textbooks so that the students can get them by July. The Braille press manager, Prakash Narayan Rath, said earlier they were printing limited number of textbooks for Class IX and X students.“Each school was getting three sets of Braille textbooks and the students had to share them,” he said.Former principal of Red Cross School for the Blind, Ambapua, Nabin Narayan Satapathy said as the Braille textbooks were few, they used to make some more copies of the books in their school to ease the problems of Class IX and X students. He welcomed the move of the State government to provide free Braille textbooks to all visually impaired students of Class IX and X saying it will surely improve the performance of the students.This year, around 420 visually impaired students of Class IX and X in Odisha will get free Braille textbooks. Each student will get a set of 14 books. “Around 75% of printing of these textbooks is complete and the work would be finished in a week or two,” said Mr. Rath.Increased printingThe Braille press is currently printing textbooks for around 2,800 visually impaired students of Class I to X. The total number of Braille textbooks for school students is over 40,000. Last year, the Braille press had printed 22,228 textbooks. Two new appointments have been made at the press to expedite the printing of the books.The Braille press in Berhampur was established in 1986 as a Red Cross Society initiative. It gets grant-in-aid for maintenance from the Women and Child Development Department of the Odisha government. In 2013, two new computerised Braille printing units, imported from Belgium at a cost of ₹1.7 crore, were added to this press, making it a major modern computerised Braille press of the country.