BENGALURU: Children have been the worst-hit victims of Covid-19, with some losing their parents to the devastating pandemic. According to State government statistics, 115 children have been orphaned due to Covid between March 1, 2020 and August this year.
Barring two children, who have been placed in government-run Child Care Institutions (CCIs), the others have been handed over to their extended families by the district Child Welfare Committees (CWCs). Of the 115 children, 113 were found eligible for the Bala Seva Scheme, which was announced by former Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa in May this year, for children orphaned due to Covid.
“The disbursement of financial assistance under the scheme has been initiated for 103 children, and for the remaining 10 children, the process is under way,” said informed sources. According to official statistics, Bengaluru Urban and Chikkaballapur districts have the highest number (12) of such children in the State, followed by seven in Kolar; six each in Bidar, Yadgir and Hassan; five each in Bagalkot, Tumakaru, Shivamogga, Gadag and Dakshina Kannada; four each in Dharwad, Kodagu, Mysuru and Ramanagara; two each in Vijayapura, Davanagere and Chitradurga; three each in Mandya, Belagavi and Ballari, and one each in Chamarajanagar, Haveri, Kalaburagi, Koppal and Raichur.
The Bala Seva scheme is based on suggestions of the Union Government, and includes monthly financial assistance of Rs 3,500 for the children’s guardians, along with financial and logistical support for their education.
Last week, the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had informed the Supreme Court that 1,01,032 children have lost one or both parents to the pandemic between April 1, 2020, and August 23, 2021. Among them, 8,161 are orphans, 396 are abandoned and 92,475 have lost one parent, the NCPCR stated.
The apex court has directed all states and Union Territories to ensure that the education of children, who have lost either or both parents to Covid in private schools, is not disrupted.