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Maharashtra mulls support for kids who lost kin to Covid-19

The Maharashtra government is likely to support the children who have lost their parents to the Covid-19 pandemic
By Faisal Malik, Mumbai
PUBLISHED ON MAY 28, 2021 11:16 PM IST

The Maharashtra government is likely to support the children who have lost their parents to the Covid-19 pandemic. The women and child development department has proposed to deposit a sum of 500,000 into the children’s account who have lost both their parents to Covid-19. It has also proposed to broaden the scope of the existing scheme for children called ‘Bal Sangopan Yojana’ and provide 2,500 a month to the children who have lost one parent and that too earning one. State women and child development Yashomati Thakur said on Friday.

Started in 2008, the scheme — ‘Bal Sangopan Yojana’ — helps students with financial assistance to continue their education in case of a single parent; family in distress, death of parents, students with divorced parents and in case parents are hospitalized etc. Children eligible under the schemes get monetary assistance of 1,125 a month.

Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray directed the state women and child development department to formulate a detailed policy for the upbringing of these kids so that a decision can be taken, the officials said.

The directives were issued in a meeting chaired by the chief minister to review the progress of women and child development.

“CM had called an important meeting with women and child development, and we had a detailed discussion mostly about the orphans who are losing their parents due to Covid. The second wave has affected a lot of families and the state government is looking to assist them through monetary means by introducing a scheme. We have proposed to deposit 500,000 in the account of a child who has lost both of his parents. In case of children losing one parent and the other one is a non-earning member of the family then to register them under Bal Sangopan Yojana,” Thakur said.

“We have also proposed to broaden the scope of the scheme and increase the monthly grant to be provided to these children to 2,500 from the current 1,125. We have further discussed if these children can be given free education. All these proposals will be placed before the cabinet for approval,” she added.

“The department should prepare a policy for upbringing and education of children who have either lost their single parent or both the parents due to Covid-19. The additional expenses apart from annual expenditure on the existing schemes should be presented so that a decision of its effective implementation can be taken,” said the chief minister in the meeting attended by the women and child development minister and senior officials.

Over 93,000 people have died in Maharashtra after being infected with Covid-19.

After the Supreme Court (SC) directives taking cognisance of the reports in the social media that children orphaned after losing their parents due to the virus were being illegally adopted, the women and child welfare department had formed task forces in every (36) district to identify such children at the beginning of this month. Headed by collectors, the task forces have found at least 195 such children in the state have lost their parents, of them, 108 have been orphaned after losing both their parents. 42 children have been brought to the childcare institutes (CCIs) run by the state government.

It aims to ensure that the orphaned children are in safe custody and are given their financial and property rights. The step also assures that the children are safeguarded from illegal custody and trafficking.

The school education department also has submitted a proposal to the chief minister for bearing education expenses of orphans, who have lost both their parents, till Class 12.

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