NEW DELHI: Over 4,000 Covid-19 orphaned children will get a monthly stipend of Rs 4,000, said Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday as he unveiled Rs 10 lakh support under the PM Cares for Children Scheme.
Apart from the stipend, under the scheme, children, who lost their parents during the pandemic, will also get PM Cares for children's passbook and health card under Ayushman Bharat. The health card will provide these children with an accessible treatment facility for Rs 5 lakhs.
"If someone needs an education loan for professional courses or higher education, then PM Cares will help. Rs 4,000 have also been arranged for them every month through other schemes for other daily needs," he said through video conferencing.
The youth from 18-23 years of age will get a stipend every month, and when they are 23 years old, they will get the amount of Rs 10 lakhs, he added.
"I am talking to you not as your Prime Minister but as a family member. I know how difficult the situation is for people who have lost their family members during the Covid-19 pandemic." he said.
The scheme aims to ensure comprehensive care and protection of children in a sustained manner by providing them boarding and lodging, empowering them through education and scholarships, and equipping them for self-sufficient existence with the financial support of Rs 10 lakh upon attaining 23 years of age and ensuring their well-being through health insurance.
Nine thousand forty-two applications were received from 33 states and 611 districts, out of which 4,345 applications were approved.
The maximum number of orphaned children to benefit are from Maharashtra (790), followed by Uttar Pradesh (441), Madhya Pradesh (428), Tamil Nadu (394), Telangana (256), Andhra Pradesh (351), Gujarat (223), Karnataka (221) and Rajasthan (206).
The government launched the initiative on May 29, 2021, to support the children who lost their parents or legal guardians or adoptive parents, or a surviving parent to Covid-19 from March 11, 2020, to February 28, 2022.
The children will also be provided emotional counselling through samvad helpline for psychological and emotional help under the scheme.
The Women and Child Development Ministry said the prime minister would transfer scholarships to school-going children.
Many children, along with their guardians and the district magistrate concerned, joined the virtual event through virtual mode. The event was attended by ministers, MPs and MLAs of various states and Union Territories.