Published on June 12, 2021

AHMEDABAD: The general resolution (GR) on ‘Covid orphans’ formally called ‘Mukhya Mantri Bal Seva Yojana,’ was issued on Friday – about 25 days after its announcement by Gujarat CM Vijay Rupani.

The GR does not explicitly mention requirement of death certificates citing Covid-19 as cause of death. TOI had raised the issue recently following demands by several NGOs.

According to the GR, the benefits will be extended to minors from 0 to 18 years of age who have lost both their parents, or one parent earlier and one during the pandemic, and those who have lost their biological parents earlier and foster parents during the pandemic.

Earlier the proposal was to add children who had lost an earning parent, but it did not make it to the GR, said sources.

The social justice and empowerment department will extend financial help of Rs 4,000 per month till the child attains 18 years of age. The benefits will be calculated from the month of demise of parents.

‘Even after 18 years, the children will get benefits of the ‘After Care’ scheme of the state government till 21 years. After 21 years, the benefits will continue till 24 years or completion of their studies. The scheme will cover all certificate, diploma, graduate and post-graduate courses,’ the GR states.

The children will get precedence in getting hostel facilities for studies, whereas children belonging to categories such as SEBC, EWS, will also get benefits in those categories. The students will also get loans to study abroad from the state government.

NGOs working for child rights welcomed the move, and said implementation will be key. They added that it will be a huge boon for children who won’t have to be fully dependent on foster parents. According to an affidavit by the central government, Gujarat had identified 39 children who lost both parents to the pandemic.

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