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Support for children

Editorial CAITLYN SAMPLEY AGGIE


The government of India last week announced a number of measures to support children impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. The decisions were taken at a high-level review meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to discuss and deliberate on steps which can be taken to support children who have lost their parents due to Covid-19. The PM said that children represent the future of the country and the country will do everything possible to support and protect the children so that they develop as strong citizens and have a bright future. The Prime Minister said that in such trying times it is our duty, as a society, to care for our children and instil hope for a bright future. According to the new measures, all children who have lost both parents or surviving parent or legal guardian, adoptive parents due to Covid 19 will be supported under ‘PM-CARES for Children’ scheme. Among the measures, a “PM CARES For Children” scheme was launched for support and empowerment of Covid affected children. Its other benefits include: Children to get a monthly stipend once they turn 18 and a fund of Rs 10 lakh when they turn 23 from PM CARES. Free education to be ensured for children who lost their parents to Covid. The children will be assisted to get an education loan for higher education and PM CARES will pay interest on the loan. The children will get free health insurance of Rs 5 lakh under Ayushman Bharat till 18 years and premium will be paid by PM CARES. PM CARES will contribute through a specially designed scheme to create a corpus of Rs 10 lakh for each child when he or she reaches 18 years of age. This corpus will be used to give a monthly financial support, 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 and on reaching the age of 23 years, he or she will get the corpus amount as one lump-sum for personal and professional use. Children under 10 years will be given admission in the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya or in a private school as a day scholar. If the child is admitted in a private school, the fees as per the RTE norms will be given from the PM CARES. PM-CARES will also pay for expenditure on uniform, text books and notebooks. The child will be assisted in obtaining education loans for professional courses, higher education in India as per the existing Education Loan norms. The interest on this loan will be paid by the PM CARES. As an alternative, scholarship equivalent to the tuition fees, course fees for undergraduate, vocational courses as per Government norms will be provided to such children under Central or State Government Schemes. For children who are not eligible under the existing scholarship schemes, PM CARES will provide an equivalent scholarship. Besides education, all children will be enrolled as a beneficiary under Ayushman Bharat Scheme (PM-JAY) with a health insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakhs. The premium amount for these children till the age of 18 years will be paid by PM CARES. The measures have come as a major relief for scores of children who have lost their parents or guardians to this pandemic. One hopes that the scheme would be implemented properly so that it covers all those children impacted by this global catastrophe.