Express News Service
JAIPUR: The Rajasthan government has devised a major scheme to provide financial help to COVID orphans and women who have been widowed due to the pandemic. The Rajasthan government has announced a financial relief package on Saturday for children who lost their parents to the coronavirus.
Under this special package, announced by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, a provision of Rs 1 lakh has been made as immediate grant for children who lost their parents to COVID .
In addition, COVID orphans will be provided a monthly assistance of Rs 2500 till these children reach the age of 18 years. Also a one-time assistance of Rs 5 lakhs will be given to COVID orphans on completion of 18 years and they will be given free education till higher secondary besides other benefits under the Mukhyamantri Corona Bal Kalyan Yojna.
Significantly, women who lost their husbands to the Corona infection will be given an ex-gratia of Rs 1 lakh and a pension of Rs 1500 per month under this financial relief package. In addition, children of these COVID-19 widows will be given a monthly assistance of one thousand rupees per child and 2,000 rupees a month for school books and dress will also be provided.
The Rajasthan government will conduct a special survey in all 33 districts of the state to identify COVID orphans and widows. Additional director of the Child Rights department Reena Sharma remarked, “The NCPCR has asked for all information about such children to be put up on the Bal Swaraj portal. Through information from all districts, entries of over 700 COVID orphans have already been uploaded. In addition, we have information that there are another 3,000 children who have lost one parent to the COVID pandemic.”
Over the past few months, The New Indian Express has been reflecting many stories about COVID orphans and there are several such stories from Rajasthan.
Among the countless orphans of COVID-19 are Supriya (16) and Bindiya (13) who lost their father and mother in the space of just three days in April this year. COVID-19 first struck their 45-year old father Vijay Joshi on April 24. Three days later, their mother Ranjana’s condition also took a turn for the worse. After wailing endlessly for a few days, the sisters are now being taken care of by their uncle and Vijay’s elder brother Munna Joshi.
The announcement of the package has brought great relief to Munna, who asserted, “This package has come as a huge relief for our family. It has ended nearly 50 per cent of our tension. Both girls were studying in a private English-medium school and we can now continue to educate them in the same school. Once they become 18 and get the additional 5 lakhs, it would be useful for their higher studies,” said Munna who also thanked the TNIE report on COVID orphans for highlighting the issue.
Child rights activist Vijay Goyal was also delighted over the package. He remarked, “Many states have provided help for COVID orphans but the Rajasthan package is really much better as it will take care of all needs of such unfortunate children till they turn adults.”
“In addition, the help for COVID widows and their children is a most welcome initiative and will greatly help families who have lost their earning members to COVID crisis,” he added.