SC seeks information on Centre’s scheme for kids orphaned by COVID

Supreme Court

New Delhi, June 1: The Supreme Court Tuesday asked the Centre to provide information on the recently launched ‘PM-CARES for Children’ scheme for kids orphaned by COVID-19, and directed states to appoint a nodal officers to apprise it on identification and welfare measures for such children.

The National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), in its affidavit, said meanwhile that as per the data given by states so far, 9,346 children have either lost both or one of the parents to the deadly virus.
As many as 1,742 children have lost both of their parents and 7,464 have lost one of the parents, the child rights body told a vacation bench of justices L Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose.
The top court took note of the submissions of lawyer and amicus curiae Gaurav Agrawal that Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 29 launched the scheme which aims to provide various reliefs to the children orphaned by the pandemic and he did not have much detail about.
Under ‘PM-CARES for Children’ scheme, various steps would be taken including providing a corpus of Rs 10 lakh when the beneficiary child turns 18 years old.
The fixed deposits will be opened in the names of such children, and the PM-CARES fund will contribute through a specially designed scheme to create a corpus of Rs 10 lakh for each of them, the government had said in a statement earlier
Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati undertakes to file details of the scheme…the Union of India shall also furnish the information relating to the mechanism for monitoring the scheme, the bench said in its order.
The bench directed all states and Union Territories (UTs) to appoint nodal officers of level of Secretary or Joint Secretary who will interact with the amicus curiae for providing information on orphans, their identification and about the welfare measures for them.
The bench said it would hear on Monday the cases of ten states first — Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar and Jharkhand, where more kids have lost bread winning guardians.
The bench also asked the states to keep updating the information about the identification of orphans and the children in need of care and protection on the ‘Baal Swaraj’ website of NCPCR till Saturday and would hear the case on Monday next.
The bench said nodal officers would interact with the amicus curiae and provide all necessary information relating to identification of orphans and the children, who are in need of care and protection, and discuss the problems faced in their identification and other steps for their welfare.

On May 28, it had asked the district authorities of all the states and UTs to upload information related to children orphaned from April 1, 2020 due to COVID-19.
The top court’s direction had come on an application filed by the amicus curiae in the pending suo motu case seeking identification of orphaned children due to COVID-19 or otherwise and providing them immediate relief by the state governments. (PTI)