Identify orphaned children in a month: Education ministry to states

Education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' asked teachers to keep track of orphan students as they're the “first point of contact for students”.

Identify orphaned children in a month: Education ministry to states Education minister of India Ramesh Pokhriyal (source: Wikimedia Commons)
Team Careers360 | Jun 18, 2021 - 10:37 a.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: The department of school education and literacy (DOSEL), ministry of education, has written to states and union territories asking them to identify and provide support to children who have lost one or both parents during the pandemic.

The minister of education Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ also asked states to take action in identifying the children within one month.

The DOSEL, in a letter to chief secretaries of all states and union territories, said: “As a result of the pandemic many children have lost one, and in some cases, both parents to the deadly virus. These children are in urgent need of food, shelter and psycho-social support.”

“The DOSEL and the ministry of women and child development have taken cognizance of the situation and are determined to work jointly towards providing necessary support to children in need of care and protection,” it added.

The education minister asked states and union territories to take action within a month.

Ramesh Pokhriyal, through his official social media handle, said: “I humbly request the authorities of the States/UTs to take action in identifying such children and provide them with the necessary support within one month.”

In the letter, the ministry asked teachers to keep track of students who lost one or both parents as teachers are the “first point of contact for students” and will be the first to be aware of any “unfortunate incident”.

The DOSEL also said that states should ensure that students be brought under existing schemes by the ministry of education including the mid-day meal scheme, equity of education under the samagra shiksha abhiyan, and free education under the Right To Education Act.

Prime minister Narendra Modi, on May 29, had announced many benefits for orphaned children under the PM CARES for children scheme.

These include a fixed deposit amounting to Rs 10 lakh in the name of each child by the time they reach 18. The prime minister also announced that the government will pay students' fees for private schools or kendriya vidyalayas, pay the interest of their education loans and give a health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh till the age of 18. Before that, at least 10 states had announced or said they were planning interventions for such children.

The apex child rights body, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), had launched a COVID care link, earlier in the month, and asked states and union territories to collect information on the number of children orphaned during the pandemic.

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