Election strategist Prashant Kishor today attacked the PM CARES aid announced by Prime Minister’s Narendra Modi’s Office (PMO) for children who have lost both their parents to the COVID-19 pandemic. He deployed sarcasm to imply that these were mere promises at a time when the minors needed immediate help.
“Another typical masterstroke by Modi Sarkar, this time redefining empathy and care for children ravaged by Covid and its catastrophic mishandling,” Mr Kishor tweeted.
“Instead of receiving much-needed support now, the children should feel positive about a promise of stipend when they turn 18,” he said citing a press release announcing the PM CARES help.
– Be grateful to #PMCares for PROMISE of free education; a RIGHT guaranteed by the Constitution/RTE
– Thank @PMOIndia for ASSURANCE to be enrolled in Ayushman Bharat that supposedly covers healthcare needs of 50Cr Indians but only FAILED to provide bed/oxygen when needed (2/2)
— Prashant Kishor (@PrashantKishor) May 30, 2021
The PMO release, issued yesterday, had said that India will support children who have lost their parents during the pandemic.
One of the measures announced was a fixed deposit in the name of the child.
“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,” the release said.
“The child will also 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…will also pay for expenditure on uniform, textbooks, and notebooks,” it said.
Hundreds of children have been orphaned across the country in the pandemic which has led to the death of over 3 lakh people till now. Only in the second wave of COVID-19, the most devastating one, up to 577 children had lost both their parents till last week, according to the Centre. This figure is believed to be a gross understatement by many.
The Supreme Court had a few days ago asked state governments to take care of the financial and emotional needs of such children.
Among other measures, the PMO announced yesterday that all such children will be enrolled as beneficiaries under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme, with a health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakhs.
“The premium amount for these children till the age of 18 years will be paid by PM CARES,” it said.
Mr Kishor, however, refused to buy it.
Having gained prominence first as part of PM Modi’s winning team in 2014, the political advisor has since gone his own way and teamed with the BJP’s rivals. In the recently held assembly polls, he shared the credits for the Trinamool Congress and the DMK trumping over the BJP in West Bengal and Tamil Nadu respectively.