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Odisha launches aid for children losing parents during pandemic

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. File   | Photo Credit: PTI

The Naveen Patnaik Government on Sunday launched a special scheme, ‘Ashirvad’ under which ₹2,500 will be given every month to children, who have lost both parents.

A comprehensive package announced by the government will support orphans. Beneficiaries have been divided into three categories — children who have lost both parents, loss of a single parent or loss of the earning parent.

“The State government is committed to providing a safe environment for holistic development of these children who need special care of the society,” said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here on Sunday.

Government would encourage the extended family and guardians to take care of children who have lost their parents or one parent.

“Under Ashirvad scheme, ₹2,500 per month will directly be transferred to account of children who have lost both of their parents. The government will continue to give the assistance till the child turns 18. The government would stop paying the amount if the child is adopted,” said a statement issued by Chief Minister’s Office.

If a child loses one of the earning parents, then he or she is entitled to get ₹1,500 per month. The scheme will be implemented retrospectively from April 1, 2020.

Since April 1, as many as 54 children in Odisha have lost both their parents to COVID-19 while 246 children lost their parents due to other reasons. Similarly, 967 children have lost one parent to COVID-19, while 370 children lost a single parent to other circumstances during this period.

In addition to the monthly stipend, the children will be automatically included in the Biju Swasthya Yojana for availing free treatment. Moreover, they will be treated as beneficiaries in all national or State food security schemes.

“As far as education is concerned, children can continue their studies where they were admitted before death of parents. Children will be relocated to places where their relatives stay and their continuation of education would be facilitated there. If situation demands, these children will be admitted in schools like Adarsh Vidyalaya and Kendriya Vidyalaya,” the CMO statement says.

For higher education, parent-less children will be included in ‘Green Passage’ scheme in which government takes care of the education.

Relatives taking care of orphans will be given priority under Prime Minister’s Awas Yojna. Besides, they will get ‘out-of-turn’ benefits in other government-scheme.

The government has given responsibility to District Child Protection Unit, tahasildar and police for protection of property inherited by orphans.

If any child stays in any child care institutions, the government will transfer ₹1,000 per month as recurring deposit till he or she turns 18.

District child protection unit, Childline, a voluntary organization, panchayat level committee and block level committee in coordination with frontline civil society organisations will help identify these children requiring special attention.

Mr. Patnaik laid emphasis on carrying out special drives on regular basis every year to ensure no child losing a parent is left out from Ashirvad scheme.

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Printable version | Jul 29, 2021 9:44:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/odisha-launches-aid-for-children-losing-parents-during-pandemic/article34865270.ece

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