Over 9,800 children orphaned since April last year during COVID-19, NCPCR tells SC

New Delhi, Dec 13 (PTI) Over 9,800 children have been orphaned, 508 abandoned and 1.32 lakh have lost either of their parents between April last year to December 7 this year during the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has told the Supreme Court.

The child rights’ body has given the crucial information in an affidavit to the apex court which is hearing a suo motu case about children who have been adversely affected by the pandemic, by losing either one or both their parents.

The NCPCR, referring to the data uploaded on the Baal Swaraj Portal-COVID care, said that from April, 2020 onwards and up to December 7, 2021, 9,855 children have been orphaned, 1,32,113 children have lost either of their parents and 508 children have been abandoned.

“A total of 7,499 letters to district authorities for completion of incomplete data for removing discrepancies of the portal of the children. The commission, in the said letters, based on the individual child care plan of the child, had made its recommendations to district authorities for linking the child and his/her family with schemes/benefits as well so that timely financial assistance is also provided to the child and the family,” the affidavit said.

A bench headed by Justice L Nageswara Rao on Monday said the process of identifying “children in street situations”, adversely hit by the pandemic, is at a “very slow pace” and directed the states and union territories (UTs) to take immediate steps to identify such children and rehabilitate them without waiting for its directions.

The bench, also comprising Justice B R Gavai, said that there might be “lakhs of children in street situation” in the country.