9,346 kids orphaned by pandemic, SC told
The tally of children who lost a parent or were orphaned during the pandemic could be much higher than the figure of 9,346 provided by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to the Supreme Court in an affidavit on Monday. This came to light as the Supreme Court heard the state and Union territory administrations in a suo motu petition on Tuesday and found differences in the data uploaded on the NCPCR website, Bal Swaraj.
In a note supplied to amicus curiae in the case, Gaurav Agrawal, the Maharashtra government stated that since March 2020, 140 children became orphans due to the pandemic while 4,451 children lost a parent. But the data provided by NCPCR in its affidavit showed that Maharashtra had 80 orphans and 716 children who lost a parent.
Maharashtra told the court that the discrepancy was on account of technical glitches faced in uploading the data on the NCPCR website. Maharashtra counsel Sachin Patil informed the court that data entry happens in six stages, but the district child protection officers found it difficult to enter data as information about the children wasn’t available.
Rajasthan also reported the same problem.
NCPCR counsel Swarupama Chaturvedi informed the court that the information on the portal need not be complete as the respective districts can just fill in the basic information. The bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Anirudhha Bose extended the time for the states to upload the data to June 5.
HT on Monday reported that, as per NCPCR’s affidavit, between March 2020 and May 29, a total of 1,742 children became orphans while 140 were abandoned due to Covid; 7,464 children lost a parent. This data was uploaded by 25 states and five union territories and added up to 9,346.
The court also directed additional solicitor general Aishwarya Bhati to file an affidavit explaining the ‘PM CARES for Children’ scheme: how it works, how the beneficiaries are identified, and how it will be monitored.
The next hearing will be held on June 7.