'PM-CARES for Children' scheme: SC gives Centre more time to draw up modalities
The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the central government more time to appraise the court regarding the modalities of the recently launched 'PM CARES for Children' scheme, launched for the welfare of children orphaned by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). The national commission of protection of child rights (NCPCR) said that the governments in certain states and union territories are not cooperating and have not provided the latest data on the number of children who have lost their parents due to coronavirus.
The scheme includes various measures such as including providing a specially designed scheme to create a corpus of ₹10 lakh when the beneficiary child turns 18 years old. The fixed deposits will be opened in the names of such children.
On June 1, the top court had asked the central government to provide information on the 'PM-CARES for Children' scheme, launched on May 29 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and directed states to appoint nodal officers to appraise it on identification and welfare measures for such children.
Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, appearing for the NCPCR, told the Supreme Court bench on Monday that it was facing difficulties with West Bengal and Delhi, who are not uploading the data of such children on ‘Bal Swaraj’.
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Centre, that they are in consultation with states and ministries to work out the modalities of the 'PM-CARES for Children' scheme. “We need some more time to appraise the court about the modalities of the scheme as the consultation is still going on. We have made district magistrates directly responsible for the children who have been abandoned or have been orphaned,” Bhati said.
Responding to the NCPCR's claims, the Delhi government, represented by Advocate Chirag Shroff, said their data is provided solely by Child Welfare Committees (CWC), while in other states different departments provide data to the district magistrates from where it is uploaded. The Delhi government last week wrote to different departments like revenue and police and sought data from them, he said.
To this, the Supreme Court bench responded by saying that Delhi should have a task force at the district level like other states and upload the information as soon as they get it without waiting for court orders to attend to the immediate needs of the children.
The bench pulled up the West Bengal counsel and asked it how can the state government not understand the court's order stating that information regarding children, who have been orphaned after March 2020, is needed.
“All states have understood the directive properly but how can only West Bengal not understand the order,” the bench said, adding that the state has to direct the authorities concerned to provide all the data about the children.
In an earlier affidavit, the NCPCR had said that as per the data given by states so far, 9,346 children have either lost both or one of their parents to the deadly virus. As many as 1,742 children have lost both of their parents and 7,464 have lost one of the parents, the child rights body had said.
(With inputs from PTI)