COVID and orphaned children

The most dreaded , if not wholly killer virus of COVID worldwide has proved no less devastating than a full fledged war in terms of loss of human lives could have caused. So far as devastation of assets and other infrastructure is concerned , in implied form it has adversely impacted commerce and industries and affected annual economic growth of countries. Although the situation in India is on comparative analysis not that serious as it has been found in other countries looking to the size of population and the levels of economic advancement , yet whatever impact this pandemic had on our resources during the currency of its two waves, that is by no means any less in magnitude in various forms. One of those is the number of children across the country having been rendered orphaned having lost one or both the parents. It is , however, notable that all the relevant data in respect of such orphaned children is prepared and is readily available and the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has brought the matter into the notice of the Supreme Court as well.
The figures of such children having lost their parents to the COVID virus is nearly a lakh and a half and such figures having been uploaded by the states and the Union Territories in the country on ”Baal Swaraj Portal – COVID care ” up to January 11 which means that both in its authenticity as well the latest uploaded data cannot be disputed in any way. However, as an affidavit has been filed to this effect by the NCPCR with the Supreme Court, it is presumed that the concerns expressed must have been in respect of how to afford ore and sustained protection to these children, the breakup of different age groups of which is also available, as also how other help and assistance could be pooled for their social security including education and healthcare. It is particularly pertinent to see how those children who having lost both the parents could be well taken care of in all respects.
Every care has to be taken that these children are not abandoned or left to half baked care and protection and thus provided room to their vulnerability to fall victims of child trafficking and that their studies are not hindered in any way. It may be recalled that there was an order last year from the Supreme Court directing all states and UTs to ensure that education of orphaned children did not suffer and that Schools must waive fees or the states bearing half the expenses to reduce the burden of the affected children. However, what needs to be done apart from ensuring uninterrupted education to such children is foolproof rehabilitation and protection by trusted agencies and in certain cases even by willing relatives. For that, respective state and UT Governments need to take concrete steps. Prior to seeing how economically such children were made secure, it is extremely important to see that they were in safe hands and under safe protection.
Central Government has already announced “PM cares for children ” scheme for due support and empowerment of COVID affected children and as much as Rs. 10 lakh corpus fund is provided for every child orphaned by COVID -19 virus which scheme needs to be implemented scrupulously supplemented by other schemes tailored by the states and UTs for such children so that on economic and social security front , they were taken well care of and their future duly protected.
Whatever assistance and other benefits are there in the schemes of providing financial aid or assistance especially under ”PM CARES for Children” or any other scheme irrespective of being sponsored by the central Government or state Governments, utmost care has to be taken that delays and hassles did not come in the way of identifying orphaned children and timely completing all formalities at district levels by the administration so that the benefits reached them in time and on sustained basis. However, the fresh affidavit submitted by the NCPCR with the Supreme Court for fresh directives in the matter could further smoothen and hasten the efforts towards rehabilitation and helping the orphaned children leading a normal life. We all in the society have a duty to provide every possible help to Government agencies including other social organisations in ensuring proper, sustained and dignified rehabilitation of these children.