Govt flags off aid programme for kin of Covid victims in city
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal on Tuesday launched the Mukhyamantri Covid-19 Pariwar Aarthik Sahayata Yojana for financial assistance to the families of those who died of Covid-19 in the national capital. Under the scheme, the government will offer a one-time compensation of ₹50,000 to their kin. In addition, families that have lost earning members will be given ₹2,500, and children who lost their parents to Covid-19 will be provided a monthly allowance of ₹2,500 till they turn 25.
These benefits will be in addition ongoing social welfare schemes of the Delhi government, such as old-age and widow pensions.
Kejriwal urged officials to be empathetic towards families while checking the eligibility of applicants, and stressed that no one should feel harassed during the process. He added that in cases where the required documents are unavailable, it will be the responsibility of the officers to get them completed.
“Please do not put the families under stress because of any missing papers. If you do so, it will be like adding salt to their wounds. They are already going through a lot and are bereaved. It is our duty to help them in such tough times. We have to make sure that these families receive their dues swiftly as they will be intently relying on it since there is no one to look after them right now. Reassure the families, be empathetic, tell them we have been personally sent by the chief minister. Build a relationship with them and expedite the process so that the cheques reach them at the earliest,” Kejriwal said, while launching the scheme.
The scheme, which was notified on June 22, can be availed either by applying on the website edistrict.delhigovt.nic.in or through direct identification by government representatives who are expected to visit families based on the database provided by the state health department.
Those who have died, and their dependents, should be from the national capital to avail benefits. The deaths need to be certified as caused by being infected with Covid, as per the data with the Union home ministry; or should have occurred within one month of testing Covid-19 positive. The state health department has been directed to verify such deaths as Covid fatalities.
If a family is survived by only minor children, then the applicant or beneficiary will be the foster parent or guardian declared fit under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act by the Child Welfare Committee. The financial assistance will be transferred to a joint bank account in the name of the minor child and the foster parent or guardian.
According to a Delhi Commission For Protection of Child Rights survey, over 2,000 children in the national capital have lost either one or both their parents to Covid-19 -- at least 651 children lost their mothers and 1,311 their fathers. Sixty-seven of them lost both their parents since the pandemic hit in March last year.
Kejriwal stressed the fourth wave of Covid-19 in Delhi was the brutal. “The entire country may have seen two waves, but for Delhi, this was the fourth wave. Last year in June, we saw the first wave, in September, the second wave, in November, the third wave, and now the fourth wave (in April-May). This fourth wave was very severe, widespread, and almost every family was affected by it. It was also very lethal. We lost a lot of lives because a lot of children became orphans, a lot of families lost their breadwinners. There is no one to look after them now, which is why the Delhi government has come up with this scheme.”
The city endured a punishing fourth wave of Covid-19 infections between April and May.
Over 760,000 people were infected in that period, while over 13,000 died of the infection between April and May alone. Cases in the city begin to peter out towards the middle of May on the back of a lockdown, which the state government imposed from April 19 onwards.
Purshottam Kalra, a businessman and resident of Paschim Vihar said the scheme should help those who have been pushed into a financial crisis due to prolonged Covid-19 treatment.
“My brother-in-law died of Covid-19. He was 50. However, we will not apply for the scheme as we believe that it should go to the needy. My suggestion to everyone is that those can afford it should give away their share of the money to allow the needy to avail the scheme,” he said.