BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday announced a new scheme ‘Ashirbad’ for education, health and maintenance of Covid orphans.
Children who lost their parents or main earning person of the family on April 1, 2020 or thereafter to Covid-19 will be eligible to be covered under the scheme. Such children under distress have been divided into three categories. Those who have lost both their parents, those who have lost either father or mother and those whose main earning member of family, either father or mother have died.
The Chief Minister announced that Rs 2500 per month will be deposited in the bank accounts of family members who have taken responsibility of the children after death of their parents. The assistance will continue till 18 years of the child or till such a date if somebody adopts him.
The children will get free treatment under the state government’s Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana. Besides, they will be also included as beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
As per the provision of the scheme, the children can also continue in the schools in which they were studying before the death of their parents. However, the relative who has taken responsibility of a child resides somewhere else, arrangement of schooling will be made in that place. If necessary, the government will help in the admission of the children in Adarsh Vidyalaya or central school.
The Chief Minister said that if the relative of the child wants to admit him to some other school, the district collector will provide all assistance as per the Right To Education Act. The state government will also assist such children to pursue higher education under the Green Passage scheme.
Besides, if the relative who has taken responsibility of a child is eligible for a house under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana or Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana, out of turn allotment will be made for him. The relative will be covered under any other government welfare scheme as per his eligibility.
The Chief Minister said that the child welfare committee of the district will coordinate with the local tahasildar and police to protect the property of the orphan children. He said that the children can also get financial assistance from Biju Sishu Suraksha Yojana and Juvenile Justice Fund if necessary.
However, if a child does not stay with a relative and resides in any child care institution, recurring deposit of Rs 1000 per month will be made till he is 18 years of age. If child has lost either his father or mother who was the only earning member and now staying with surviving parent, Rs 1500 per month will be provided for his maintenance. The amount will be deposited in either in his or his parent’s account. Besides, if the surviving parent is mother, she will also entitled for Madhu Babu Pension.
The chief minister asked the district collectors to prepare list of Covid orphans with assistance from the District Child Protection Committee, Childline and panchayat level organisations. He directed the collectors to launch a drive every year so that no Covid orphan is left out from the scheme.