Relief Package For COVID Orphans: What Have States Announced?
What are Rajasthan, MP, and other states doing to ensure safety of those orphaned due to the pandemic? Read here.
As the second wave of COVID-19 continues in India, state governments like Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Haryana, and Assam have announced measures for children who have lost both parents to the virus.
Earlier this month, Ministry of Women and Child Development said 577 children across the country had been orphaned during the second wave of the pandemic.
What have the different states announced? Here’s a short primer.
Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said the state government will implement the ‘Balaseva Scheme’, as per directions of the Center. Under the scheme, people who lost both parents will be eligible for monthly monetary support of Rs 3,500.
“The money will be given to the guardians,” he said.
Now in case parents do not have guardians, the kids will be taken into Child Care Institutions. The government will ensure these children get education in government model schools, higher education or employment, the CM said.
He also added, kids will get free laptops and tablets to complete their education. Female kids above the age of 21, will be given Rs 1 lakh, which can be used for getiting employment or pursuing higher education.
When asked about the cost of the scheme, he said they were yet to ascertain it.
The scheme for this purpose in Assam is called the ‘Mukyamantri Sishu Sewa Achoni Scheme’, Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
The guardians of such orphaned kids will be given Rs 3,500 financial aid every month.
Children who are younger than 10 years, without any family support, will be provided shelter at child care institutions, where they will have access to free education.
Orphaned girls will be accommodated in government model schools to ensure they are cared for sensitively.
In the case of girls who are of marriageable age, the Assam government will provide one tola gold under the Arundhati Gold scheme and financial assistance of Rs 50,000.
The TN government announced that children who lost both parents to COVID will receive financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh as a fixed deposit, that they can withdraw in full, with the accumulated interest when they turn 18.
The government also said that education will be taken care of for such children till graduation and they will also be given priority in getting a place in government-run homes.
TN also said that children who only lost one parent, will be granted Rs 3 lakh as compensation. For those children who have been taken in by relatives or guardians, a monthly allowance of Rs 3,000 will be provided. The state said that a special team in every district will oversee the distribution of funds and implementation of the scheme.
- What Are the Measures in Madhya Pradesh?
Madhya Pradesh government will provide free education and a pension of Rs 5,000 per month to orphans who have lost their parents due to COVID, CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said.
He said the government will also stand as a guarantor for those who want interest-free loans.
“We will provide education free of cost to the children who have lost their parents. They will be provided free ration even if they are not eligible for it,” Chouhan said.
In Rajasthan, the government has said that children below the age of 18 years, who lost both parents, will be given Rs 500 per month under the 'Palanhaar Yojana'.
After this, there is also a provision to give Rs 1,000 every month to children up to the age of 18 years.
The government has started a survey of the families affected by COVID, and more clairity on the scheme is expected.
Under the ‘Chhattisgarh Mahtari Dular Yojana’ launched for children who lost parents to COVID, the government expects to motivate students to not leave their education.
Under the scheme, a stipend of Rs 500 per month will be paid to such children from Classes 1 to 8 and Rs 1,000 per month from Classes 9 to 12. Children studying in both government and private schools will be entitled to this stipend, it said.
Children will be prioritised to be admitted in state-run swami Atmanand English Medium Schools.
Haryana government has also announced a relief package for orphans, with the ‘Mukhyamantri Bal Sewa Yojana’.
“This package will be given to rehabilitate and assist children below 18 years of age who have lost both their parents, surviving parent, legal guardian, adoptive parents due to COVID-19 who are either living in Child Care Institutions or are living with their guardians,” Khattar said.
Under the scheme Rs 2,500 will be given per child every month as financial aid to those who have become legal guardians.
“This financial assistance will be given till the children turn 18 years. Further, an amount of Rs. 12,000 annually will also be deposited in the bank accounts of such children as other expenses till they reach 18 years of age and are pursuing education,” a government spokesperson said.
If a child is sent to the Child Care Institution then assistance of Rs 1,500 per child per month. For female children, free residential education will be provided in Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyallayas to ensure protection and care.
“An amount of Rs 51,000 will be credited in accounts of all these girls under Mukhya Mantri Vivah Shagun Yojana and at the time of their marriage this amount along with the interest will be given to them,” Khattar announced.
The Punjab government decided to provide Rs 1,500 as social security pension as well as free education up to graduation to orphans of the COVID pandemic.
The scheme is supposed to be implemented from 1 July.
Singh said, affected persons will also be eligible for Rs 51,000 under the Ashirwad Scheme with effect from 1 July and will be entitled to free ration under the state smart ration card scheme and coverage under the ‘Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana’.
The state government will also help the family to find a job under the ‘Ghar Ghar Rozgaar te Karobaar Mission’.
The relief will be provided to orphans till they turn 21.
The Delhi government announced how orphans of the pandemic will get Rs 2,500 per month (till they turn 25) and their education will be free of cost.
“Many children have lost both parents because of COVID... such children should not think of themselves as lonely and helpless. I stand with them all the time,” Mr Kejriwal said.
The government has also formed a committee to resolve issues faced by children.
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