Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced that all children who have lost both parents or guardians due to COVID-19 will be supported under the ‘PM-CARES for Children’ scheme.
The PM CARES will contribute through a specially designed scheme to create a corpus of Rs 10 lakh for each child when he or she reaches 18 years of age.
“This corpus will be used to give a monthly financial support/ stipend from 18 years of age, for the next five years to take care of his or her personal requirements during the period of higher education and on reaching the age of 23 years, he or she will get the corpus amount as one lump-sum for personal and professional use,” the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said.
As many as 577 children lost their parents due to the pandemic, the government sources had told ANI. The central government is constantly monitoring all these orphaned children in coordination with the state governments, they added.
The Centre said it will ensure free education for children who lost their parents to COVID-19. The children will be assisted to get a loan for higher education and PM CARES will pay interest on the loan.
These children will also get free health insurance of Rs 5 lakh under Ayushman Bharat till 18 years and the premium will be paid by PM CARES.
Further, the Prime Minister said that the child will be given admission to the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya or in a private school as a day scholar. However, if the child is admitted to a private school, the fees as per the Right to Education norms will be given from the PM CARES. The PM-CARES will also pay for expenditure on uniform, textbooks and notebooks.
The corpus will also support the school education of children aged between 11 and 18 years. “The child will be given admission in any Central Government residential school such as Sainik School, Navodaya Vidyalaya etc and in case the child is to be continued under the care of Guardian/ grandparents/extended family, then he or she will be given admission in the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya or in a private school as a day scholar.”
As an alternative, scholarship equivalent to the tuition fees/course fees for undergraduate/vocational courses as per the government norms will be provided to such children under Central or State government schemes. For children who are not eligible under the existing scholarship schemes, PM CARES will provide an equivalent scholarship.
While announcing these benefits to children impacted by the current COVID pandemic, the Prime Minister emphasised that children represent India’s future and the country will do everything possible to support and protect the children so that they develop as strong citizens and have a bright future.
He added that the measures being announced have only been possible due to the generous contributions to the PM CARES which will support India’s fight against COVID-19. “In such trying times it is our duty, as a society, to care for our children and instil hope for a bright future,” he concluded.