VIJAYAWADA: When COVID-19 claimed the life of his mother, a sole breadwinner in the family, 17-year-old Betamsetty Harish Chandra Siva Sai gave up on his aspiration to become a doctor.
Sai, a native of Podili in Prakasam, lost his father a painter by profession in 2017. Following which, his mother Subhasini set up a tiffin centre to make ends meet. She succumbed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus on June 25, 2021.
While Sai's cousin helped him get an admission into a private intermediate college in Hyderabad, future didn’t look so bleak to the intermediate second year student after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a scheme under PM Cares for children to extend aid to over 4,000 COVID orphans in the country on Monday.
In the same district, Sd Afrid (15) and Aftab (14) from Markapuram lost their parents to COVID. At a time when the siblings thought they had to discontinue studies, they received Rs 10 lakh each as aid.
Afrid, an intermediate first year student, said the financial support from the State and the Centre would help them have a bright future. "My dream is to become a police officer. Aftab is too young. He is studying 10th grade and will decide what he wants to become once he completes his intermediate," he told The New Indian Express.
33 per cent of 525 applications from Andhra Pradesh for COVID aid under PM Cares rejected
The three boys from Prakasam are among the 351 COVID orphans who received a total sum of Rs 35.10 crore under the Central government's scheme. The amount was deposited in their postal accounts and the pass books were also handed over to them.
According to an official report, a total of 525 applications were received from Andhra Pradesh. Of which, over 33 per cent were rejected with only 351 applications getting approval.
The scheme ensures care and protection of children including Rehabilitation, education, loans for higher studies, health insurance of Rs 5 lakh, scholarship of Rs 20,000 for all school going children apart from financial aid of Rs 10 lakh.
The State government, too, had deposited Rs 10 lakh in each child's account as ex gratia and Rs 50,000 from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF). YSR Congress MP Vallabhaneni Balasowri participated in the distribution of the scholarships and health cards in Machilipatnam.