Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced that all children who have lost both parents or guardians due to coronavirus will be supported under the ‘PM-CARES for Children’ scheme.
The decision was taken following a high-level review meeting chaired by the prime minister to deliberate on the impact of the pandemic on children and how to mitigate it.
The prime minister said that such children will get a monthly stipend once they turn 18 and a fund of ₹10 lakh when they turn 23 from PM-CARES.
The government will also ensure free education for such children.
“Children represent the future of the country and we will do everything to support and protect the children. It is our duty, as a society, to care for our children and instil hope for a bright future,” PM Modi said while announcing the relief measures.
Children will receive assistance in getting education loan for higher education and PM Cares will pay interest on the it. All children will be enrolled for free health insurance of Rs 5 lakh under Ayushman Bharat till 18 years and the premium will be paid as part of the scheme.
The PM added that the measures being announced have only been possible due to the generous contributions to the PM Cares Fund which will support India’s fight against Covid.
School education: For children under 10 years
SCHOOL EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN UNDER 10 YEARS
.The child will be given admission in the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya or in a private school as a day scholar.
.If the child is admitted in a private school, the fees as per the RTE norms will be given from PM Cares.
.PM Cares will also pay for expenditure on uniform, text books and notebooks.
SCHOOL EDUCATION FOR CHILDREN BETWEEN 11-18 YEARS
.The child will be given admission in any Central Government residential school such as Sainik School, Navodaya Vidyalaya etc.
.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.
.If the child is admitted in a private school, the fees as per the RTE norms will be given from the PM CARES.
PM Cares will also pay for expenditure on uniform, text books and notebooks.
SUPPORT FOR HIGHER EDUCATION
.The child will be assisted in obtaining education loan for professional courses / higher education in India as per the existing education loan norms. The. interest on this loan will be paid by the PM Cares.
.As an alternative, scholarship equivalent to the tuition fees / course fees for undergraduate/ vocational courses as per 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.
.All children will be enrolled as a beneficiary under Ayushman Bharat Scheme (PM-JAY) with a health insurance cover of ₹5 lakh.
.The premium amount for these children till the age of 18 years will be paid by PM CARES.
The move to establish a PM Cares scheme specifically for children comes in the wake of several state governments announcing relief packages for minors who lost parents during the pandemic. Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu have already made provisions to grant financial aid and other benefits to such children.