577 children have been orphaned across the country so far by the second wave in the past 55 days; said the Ministry of Women and Child Development on Tuesday.
According to senior officials, as the messages for adopting Covid orphans flooded through social media, the Ministry of Women and Child development began investigating this issue.
An official said “We have been in touch with all states and asked them to identify Covid orphans from their districts. We have ascertained, from the data received, that there are currently 577 of them… Delhi, for instance, has one Covid orphan in this period”.
The officials claimed that several states did not report even a single Covid case.
Smriti Irani, Union Minister for Women and Child Development tweeted that the Government is “committed to support and protect every vulnerable child due to loss of both parents to Covid-19”.
Irani tweeted, “From 1st April 2021 till 2:00 PM today, the State Governments & UTs across the country have reported 577 children whose parents succumbed to Covid-19”.
A senior official said “We have allotted Rs 10 lakh per district for the non-institutional care of these orphans, which will be distributed by District Magistrates under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme Our target is to retain every such child in their family and community structures”.
Several measures have been taken to track such children- from welfare committees in districts to Samvad, an integrated program for child and adolescent psychological care in collaboration with NIMHANS; said, officials.
On 17th May, a public notice was issued by the Ministry to warn against messages being circulated for the adoption of these children on social media.
The Ministry took action after several states have already announced welfare measures for children orphaned by the Pandemic. Free education for Covid orphans has been promised by Delhi, Punjab, and Madhya Pradesh. While Uttarakhand, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh have also announced various welfare schemes.
The Ministry said in a public notice that further information can also be shared on the Child helpline-1098.