AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat government on Saturday announced a host of relief measures including monthly financial assistance for the children who have lost both their parents to COVID-19.
Announcing 'Mukhyamantri Bal Seva Yojana', Chief Minister Vijay Rupani said such children will get Rs 4,000 per month till they turn 18.
If they continue studies, they will get assistance of Rs 6,000 per month till they turn 21.
This stipend will continue during higher studies too, Rupani said in a live webcast.
All types of undergraduate and postgraduate courses will be considered valid for availing benefit under this scheme, the chief minister said.
Such orphaned children will also get priority in various government schemes offering scholarships within India and abroad irrespective of income criteria, he added.
The Mukhyamantri Bal Seva Yojana scheme was being launched by the state government on the eve of the completion of seven years of the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, he said.
The children orphaned by COVID-19 from the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes, NT-DNT and Economically Backward Classes will get the benefit of scholarships of the state Social Justice and Empowerment and Tribal Development Department irrespective of income limits.
Orphaned children will also be eligible for educational loans for study in India and abroad on a priority basis irrespective of income limits under the existing 'Mukhyamantri Yuva Swavalamban Yojana'.
Children above 14 can get vocational training and those above 18 can get skill development training on a priority basis at the government's expense under the Mukhyamantri Bal Seva Yojana, Rupani said.
Girls orphaned by COVID-19 will get priority in admission to Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, a chain of residential schools run by the government.
Their hostel expenses will also be borne by the state government.
Orphaned girls will also get the benefit of the state's Kunwarbai's Mameru Scheme when they get married.
Orphaned children will get medical treatment on priority under the Mukhyamantri Amrutam Maa card scheme.
The guardians of such children will be covered on priority basis under the National Food Security Act so that such families can get wheat, rice, sugar and other staples at concessional rates, the chief minister said.