WCD ministry asks states to provide details of children who lost parents to Covid-19

NEW DELHI, 25 Jul: The women & child development ministry has requested the states and UTs to direct their district magistrates to identify the children who have lost their parents to the Covid-19 pandemic for receiving support under the ‘PM CARES for Children’ scheme and submit their details on a portal established to enable prompt assistance to them.

In a letter to all states and UTs, chief secretaries, WCD Ministry Secretary Indevar Pandey said a web-based portal, pmcaresforchildren.in, has been launched to facilitate submission of applications, identification of children eligible to receive support under the scheme and processing of applications for securing benefits to them.

“I would request you to direct the district magistrates in your state to identify the children eligible for receiving

support under the ‘PM CARES for Children’ scheme and populate the pmcaresforchildren.in portal with the details of eligible children, to enable prompt assistance to them. This task may be completed within the next 15 days,” he said in the letter issued on 22 July.

The ministry further said that a dedicated help desk has been set up for the same.

Detailing the process that has to be followed, the ministry official asked the district magistrates to conduct a drive for identification of these children, with the assistance of police, DCPU, Childline and civil society organizations.

Children who have lost both their parents to Covid and requiring support under the scheme may be produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) by Childline (1098), district child protection unit (DCPU) or any other agency or individual within 24 hours of noticing the child, excluding the journey time, he said.

Application form for seeking support under the scheme may be filled up by the child or caregiver or any other agency producing child before the CWC.

The CWC, with the help of the DCPU, shall gather the facts regarding the child who has lost both parents, including details of deceased parents, home address, school, contact details, credentials and annual income of extended family members, relatives or kith and kin.

In June, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) informed the Supreme Court that as many as 30,071 children were orphaned, lost a parent or abandoned mostly due to the Covid-19 pandemic, citing data submitted by different states till 5 June.

The government on 22 July told Parliament that a total of 645 children lost their parents to Covid-19 from April to 28 May this year during the second wave.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 29 May announced a number of welfare measures for children who lost their parents to Covid-19, including ensuring a corpus of Rs 10 lakhs when they turn 23 years of age and providing for their education.

This corpus will be used to give monthly financial support or stipend from 18 years of age for the next five years to take care of his or her personal requirements during the period of higher education.

On reaching the age of 23 years, they will get the corpus amount as one lump sum for personal and professional use.

It was also announced that those between 11 and 18 years of age will be given admission in any central government residential school such as sainik school and Navodaya Vidyalaya. (PTI)