THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government has expanded the criteria for children eligible for aid due to the loss of parents to Covid. Under the new guidelines, the children have been categorised as those who lost both father and mother due to Covid or Covid-related ailment three months after being tested negative, those who lost the lone parent to Covid and those who lost the lone guardian to Covid after being abandoned by parents.
The aid will be given irrespective of the family income and other criteria. However, the families receiving family pensions of government employees will not be considered. Earlier, the criteria for availing the aid was only for those who either lost both parents or lone parent to Covid.
The government has given flexibility to the guardians not to join the scheme and also to join before the children become 18 years. If they join later, the benefits will be given from then on, said Minister for Health and Woman and Child Development Veena George. According to her, there are 87 children identified for the scheme and the government has approved Rs 3,19,99,000 for it. The department has taken steps for the welfare of the children based on the reports from the ground-level offices, she said.
The state started considering financial aid to children after the second wave of Covid resulted in the death of hundreds of people in the age group of 30 and 50, leaving the lives of their children in uncertainty. The woman and child welfare department had issued orders to give beneficiaries a fixed deposit of Rs 3 lakh and give a monthly aid of Rs 2,000 to the joint account of the child and the present guardian. The monthly financial aid will continue till the child reaches the age of 18.
The beneficiary can withdraw the interest from the fixed deposit according to their discretion. The educational expenses of the child will be met from the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund till graduation.