‘Ashirbad’ scheme for children orphaned by Covid-19 announces by Naveen Patnaik 

BHUBANESWAR: Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday announced a new scheme- Ashirbad- to provide monthly financial assistance to children orphaned by Covid-19 or lost either of the parents.

The new social welfare scheme announced on Father’s Day promises to help three categories of children-- those who have lost both their parents, those who have lost single parent and those who have lost one parent (the primary bread earner) on or after April 1, 2020.

“The state government is committed to provide a safe environment to such children, who need special care for their overall development,” said Naveen on the occasion.

Ashirbad aims for in-situ rehabilitation and continuation of their life in similar family based non-institutional socio-cultural environment and to ensure that care givers and other kith and kin are encouraged to provide best of the care to these children, said a notification issued by the state women and child development department.

Ashirbad’ scheme for children

According to the provisions, the state government will transfer monthly sum of Rs 2,500 to the bank accounts of care givers, who have taken responsibility of a child following death of his/her both parents. The assistance will be released towards maintenance, health and education of the child and it will continue till the child attains 18 years or till his/her adoption by someone.

If the care givers, who have taken care of such children, are eligible to get houses under government’s rural housing schemes, they will get a house on out-of-turn basis. They will also be eligible for out-of-turn assistance with priority under government schemes.

In case any such child is placed in institutional care by the order of CWC, a sum of Rs 1,000 per month will be deposited as recurring deposit in the bank account of the child till the child attains 18 years or till adoption. This is in addition to free care and protection.

“Such children can continue education in the schools in which they were studying before death of their parents or administration can also facilitate admission in other schools if care givers, who have taken responsibility of such children, resides elsewhere. If necessary, the state government will help to continue their education in Adarsh Vidyalayas and Kendriya Vidyalayas,” said official sources.

Higher education of such children will be taken care of under the Green Passage scheme. Also, they will be covered under the state’s Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana while they will also be included as a beneficiary under the national or state food security schemes.

“The child welfare committee (CWC) in coordination with tehsildar and police shall take steps for protection of assets and other properties of such children,” said the notification.

A child, who has lost one of the parents and continues to live with the remaining parent will get Rs 1,500 per month in the account of remaining parents or child concerned till he/she attains 18 years. If the child is surrendered or placed on adoption, the financial support will be discontinued.

The mother of the child will be provided widow pension under Madhu Babu Pension Yojana while such a child will also avail benefit like coverage under state health assurance scheme, better education and food security schemes.

The district child protection unit will identify children requiring special care with the help of childline or civil society at the panchayat and block level.

Though official figure is yet to be attained, sources said over 35 children in the state have lost both their parents.

Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/bhubaneswar/naveen-patnaik-announces-ashirbad-scheme-for-children-orphaned-by-covid-19/articleshow/83690507.cms

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