The Maharashtra government on Wednesday announced financial assistance of Rs 5 lakh for children who have lost their parents to Covid-19. The relative or guardian of the orphaned child will also get Rs 1,125 per month to look after him or her. Further, the government will bear the entire expenses of their education till they turn 21 years old.
The proposal was moved by Women and Child Development Minister Yashomati Thakur at a Cabinet meeting.
“Fixed deposits of Rs 5 lakh will be made in the name of the orphaned children. When he or she turns 21 years of age, the entire amount can be withdrawn along with interest,” said Thakur. She added that the government has also decided to take responsibility of their education.
The benefits will be extended to three categories of children. “First, children whose both parents have died between March 2020 and May 2021 can avail the aid. The second category is of children who have lost one parent to Covid-19 and later lost another parent to some other ailment. The third category caters to children who have lost one parent before March 1, 2020 to non-Covid ailment but later lost the other parent to Covid-19,” the minister said.
“Any child who falls in these categories will be eligible for the benefits of the scheme,” she added.
The state task force constituted to identify the children have provided the details of 141 such orphans so far. Thakur said that as per their estimates, the number of children will increase to 200.
Assuming this, the Cabinet has allocated Rs 10 crore to help such children. “If the number of children increase, additional allocations will be made,” Thakur added.
Further, under Bal Sangopan Yojna, the state government has a provision for relatives or a family member to come forward and take responsibility of orphans. As per this, the relative or guardian will be paid Rs 1,125 monthly aid to take care of Covid orphans.
In cases where children have no guardians or relatives, they would be taken to government children homes. When they complete school education, skill development training will be imparted, followed by jobs, said officials.