The UP government’s decision comes a day after the Supreme Court observed that it couldn’t even imagine how many children in this great country had been orphaned due to the devastating pandemic, and ordered authorities to the State to identify them immediately and provide relief.
Explaining the program, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said: “Children who have lost both parents due to COVID-19, a surviving parent, legal guardian in case the parents have already died sooner, will be included in this program. Children, who have lost their family’s paid parent will also be included in the program. The state government is committed to improving health, better education and a bright future for children. ”
Under Uttar Pradesh Mukhyamantri Bal Seva Yojana, the state government will provide financial assistance to the guardian of a child while those who have no one to care for them will be sent to homes for children, an official spokesperson said.
Launching the program, Adityanath said the state government would take care of the education and upbringing of children orphaned by COVID-19.
Under the program, the government will provide monthly financial assistance of Rs 4,000 to a child’s guardian or caretaker until he or she reaches adulthood, the spokesperson said.
A senior official said the UP is the first state in the country to offer a social protection program for children orphaned by COVID-19.
Children under the age of 10 who have no family member will be cared for by state government children’s homes. Currently, these houses are functional in Mathura, Lucknow, Prayagraj, Agra and Rampur, he said.
A minor girl will be accommodated in boarding schools for girls in Kasturba Gandhi run by the Indian government or in hostels for children (girls) run by the state government. Currently, there are 13 such children’s homes in the state.
Other than that, they will be cared for in 18 Atal boarding schools being established in the state.
The state government will also provide an amount of Rs 1.01,000 for the marriage of these girls.
The spokesperson said 197 children in the state had lost both parents to COVID-19. Up to 1,799 children have lost their father or mother to COVID-19, but the annual income of surviving parents will be assessed.
About 1,000 children are expected to benefit from Uttar Pradesh Mukhyamantri Bal Seva Yojana, he said.
The state government will also provide tablets or laptops to all those children who are studying in schools, colleges or pursuing vocational training, according to the spokesperson.
The Supreme Court had called on state governments to understand the agony of starving children on the streets and ordered district officials to treat them immediately without waiting for further court orders.
A vacation bench of judges LN Rao and Aniruddha Bose asked district administrations to identify orphans in their area and upload their data to the website of the National Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (CNPCR) by Saturday night.
The Supreme Court ruling came on a request filed by amicus curiae Gaurav Agrawal in the pending suo motu case asking for the identification of children orphaned due to COVID-19 or otherwise and providing them with immediate assistance by state governments.
The bench said state governments must inform him of the plight of these children and the steps they have taken to provide them with immediate assistance.