Published: 20th June 2021
Children in Odisha orphaned due to COVID-19 to receive Rs 2,500 every month, CM Naveen Patnaik announces
The amount will be transferred to the bank accounts of guardians or caretakers of the beneficiaries till they attain the age of 18 years
With several children having been orphaned since last year after the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday launched a scheme to provide financial aid to all kids who have lost one or both their parents, no matter what the cause.
The beneficiaries of the 'Ashirbad' scheme — applicable from April 2020 — have been divided into three categories — those who have been orphaned, ones who have to move to welfare homes for want of a caretaker, and children who have lost their earning parent, a statement issued by the chief minister's office said. Under the scheme, the government will be doling out Rs 2,500 per month for every kid who has been orphaned due to the loss of one or both parents.
The amount will be transferred to the bank accounts of guardians or caretakers of the beneficiaries till they attain the age of 18 years. If such children have to shift to childcare institutions in the absence of a caretaker, an additional amount of Rs 1,000 will be allotted for them every month. Similarly, children who have experienced the death of the earning parent will be given Rs 1,500 each.
Their mothers, if eligible for the Madhu Babu Pension Scheme, will be provided allowances on a priority basis. All such kids will be able to avail benefits of Centre and state-run food schemes and free medical services under the BJD dispensation's Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana. The state government will also facilitate their education at respective schools. If required, arrangements will be made for the admission of such children in Adarsh Vidyalayas and central schools.
They will receive assistance for higher education under the state's 'Green Passage' scheme. Keeping their overall wellbeing in mind, the state has also decided to give approval for pucca houses under various schemes to the guardians and caretakers of these kids. The 'Ashirbad' scheme, however, will not be applicable for kids who have been adopted by someone, the statement said.
Patnaik, while launching the scheme, directed the district child protection units, Childline, block and panchayat-level committees and frontline workers to ensure that no beneficiary is left out The chief minister further said that district collectors will launch a special drive every year to identify in their jurisdiction all children who are distressed due to loss of parents. Guardians and caretakers have been asked to approach child protection units with death certificates to avail benefits under the 'Ashirbad' scheme, the statement added.