The government is working on a scholarship programme for destitute children and orphans living in child care homes, who do well in school and wish to study further.
The scholarships will come out of the women and child development ministry-administered National Children’s Fund (NCF). “We have decided to use the National Children’s Fund that has a corpus of R1.5 crore to provide scholarships to academically bright children who score over 70% marks in their school exams. The scholarship will continue till the time the child completes his education, even if he has left the home by then,” said WCD minister Maneka Gandhi.
Scholarship amounts and other modalities are being worked out, said a ministry official.
There are some 55,000 children living in 1,600 homes operated by state governments and voluntary organisations funded by the ministry under its Integrated Child Protection Scheme. Apart from them, the education project will also cover children in privately-run homes.
The NCF — set up in 1979 with an initial corpus of R 1 lakh — raises money from individuals, institutions, corporates and others for programmes for children affected by natural calamities, disasters and other difficult circumstances. These welfare projects are implemented by voluntary agencies and state governments.
“But we realized that over the years funds were being given arbitrarily to NGOs and there was no monitoring of how it was being spent, who was benefiting from it and how. There was no accountability. So, we decided to revamp the NCF and use it to fund scholarships for orphans and destitute,” said a senior ministry official.
A notification to this effect is expected to be issued soon.