Lancet article intended to create panic among citizens, far from truth: Women and Child Development Ministry
While an article in Lancet states that over 19 Lakh children have lost their primary caregivers due to covid in India, the Union Women and Child Development Ministry refutes the claim.
Updated 3 Mar 2022, 12:48 pm
The Union Women and Child Development Ministry has refuted the estimates of children affected by COVID-19 associated orphanhood as mentioned in Lancet article of February 24, 2022. It is “very surprising” and contrary to field data, the ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.
Lancet reported that over 19 Lakh children have lost their primary caregivers due to covid in India.
“There is no doubt that the researchers have used sophisticated methodology to estimate the numbers about children, who have lost their primary caregivers, but these findings have no correlation with ground reality in India as reflected from field findings. As per field data coming from the States/UTs and being compiled as per the directions and monitoring of the Supreme Court, the numbers for India are about 1.53 lakh,” the ministry stated.
The Supreme Court of India in SMWP No 4/2021 had directed all states/UTs to identify each and every child who has lost one or more of their parents or have been abandoned during Covid due to any reason (Covid or otherwise) during the pandemic period. The loss of parent could have been due to Covid, natural, unnatural, or from any other cause during the period of pandemic, the ministry stated.
The Ministry stated that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) furtherance to its function as a monitoring authority under section 109 of the Juvenile Justice Act was asked to set up a portal called “Bal Swaraj” where this data has to be uploaded. Accordingly, NCPCR has been continuously tracking all the children who have lost their parents (either one or both) due to any reason and children who have been abandoned since April 1, 2020.
It further stated that the data/information of each child is captured, verified and examined so as to extend proper care, protection and benefits to all such children. So far, 1,53,827 children have been registered on the portal, including 1,42,949 children with single parent, 492 abandoned children and 10,386 children who have lost both their parents.
The Ministry has directed all states/UTs to upload the data of all such children on the portal.
NCPCR examines the data being filed on the portal and necessary communications are established with the district and State level authorities on regular basis, the ministry stated. It said in compliance to the Supreme Court judgment, NCPCR also files affidavits on regular basis to update the court. The Commission has made certain recommendations for the state government and the other relevant authorities to ensure the welfare and well-being of children, it added.
PM CARES for Children Scheme
So far, 4,196 children have been identified and approved for obtaining the benefits of PM Cares for Children Scheme, the ministry claimed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on May 29, 2021, announced comprehensive support for children who have lost both their parents due to COVID 19 pandemic. The objective of the scheme is to ensure comprehensive care and protection of children who have lost their parent(s) to COVID pandemic, in a sustained manner, enable their wellbeing through health insurance, empower them through education and equip them for self-sufficient existence with financial support on reaching 23 years of age.
All eligible children can be enrolled till February 28, 2022 to avail benefits of PM CARES for Children Scheme. The scheme covers all children who have lost: i) Both parents or ii) Surviving parent or iii) legal guardian/adoptive parents/single adoptive parent due to COVID 19 pandemic, starting from March 11, 2020 the date on which WHO has declared and characterized COVID-19 as pandemic till February 28, 2022. To be entitled to benefits under this scheme, the child should not have completed 18 years of age on the date of death of parents.
The PM CARES for children scheme inter-alia provides support to the beneficiaries through convergent approach, gap funding for ensuring education, health, monthly stipend from the age of 18 years, and lump sum amount of Rs 10 lakh on attaining 23 years of age, the ministry added.
First published:3 Mar 2022, 5:57 am
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