BHOPAL: The Shivraj Singh Chouhan government in Madhya Pradesh has become the first state government to come to the rescue of kids who have become orphans or lost either of their parents/guardians due to the Covid pandemic.
While maintaining that all such children, who’ve lost their parents/either of parents/guardians due to the viral infection, are the responsibility of the state, the CM announced that all such children/families will get Rs 5,000 as monthly pension.
“Not only will Rs 5,000 monthly pension will be given to the children/families, but the state will ensure their free education. Even if these kids and their kin are not eligible for free ration, they will get free ration,” Chouhan announced on Thursday.
He also announced that the surviving parent/guardian/kin tasked with taking their care will be disbursed interest-free loans to start a business for the survival and care of the kids.
The development came just three days after The New Indian Express started a nationwide special series on kids, made parentless by the Covid pandemic. On the first day of the series only, Express had reported the story on the five-year-old twin sisters, living with their maternal uncle’s family in old Bhopal, after the death of their parents due to Covid infection.
Importantly, the MP State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and the Women and Child Development department of the MP government (presently the WCD department of MP is under the CM himself) are working at tracing all such kids who’ve become parentless/lost either of their parents or guardians following directives from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to all state governments.
“While two twin sisters aged five who lost their parents within five days in Barkheda Pathani area of Bhopal and are presently living with their maternal uncle’s family in old Bhopal’s Budhwara locality have been traced, a 12-year-old boy whose Pani Puri seller father had died of Covid in Indore’s Nanda Nagar locality, a few years after mother’s death, too has been traced.
"Similar cases of kids becoming parentless after losing their surviving mother or father have been reported from Gwalior and Shivpuri, besides a case in Mubarikpur village of Bhopal have also been traced,” the MP State Protection of Child Rights Commission member Dr. Brajesh Chouhan said on Thursday.
According to Chouhan, the State Commission too is going to render Rs 2,000 monthly to each such kid under the government’s existing Child Sponsor Scheme and will continuously check whether families with whom these kids are living are actually taking their care or not.
Further, the Commission has also asked child welfare committees (CWCs) in each district to ensure a smooth transfer of their parents' movable and immovable properties, including money in banks, to these kids. Further, the Commission is also planning to create a reserve fund with generous contributions from benevolent donors to take permanent care of such kids.