The committee, comprising of 10 ministers, will collect information from the 33 district collectors about all the children who lost both their parents to Covid-19.
The Telangana Government has constituted a Cabinet sub-committee to assess the number of children orphaned due to the pandemic and make recommendations on how to take care of them till they become adults. The committee, comprising of 10 ministers, will collect information from the 33 district collectors about all the children who lost both their parents to Covid-19. District Collectors have been asked to check if the orphans are staying with their relatives or have been moved to Child Welfare Department homes.
“There are over 200 Covid orphans. Almost all the children are living with their grandparents or relatives. It is a complicated situation because a majority of the relatives wish to take care of the children and do not want to let them live in government homes or orphanages. We have to assess whether they will be able to take care of the children or not and whether the children have to be moved to government facilities,’’ said Satyavathi Rathod, Minister for Women Development and Child Welfare.
While a policy is yet to be framed, District Child Protection units have been providing counselling. “We have also given mobile phones to some children who are attending online classes. While they are staying with their relatives, we have assured all of them that the government will support their education. When schools reopen, each child will be given Rs 2,000 per month if he or she wishes to go to the nearest school. If they wish to join residential schools, we will arrange for that,” an official said.
The Cabinet sub-committee will make recommendations on how to help the orphans financially until they become adults. Some of them are as young as 3 years old.
In neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, the state government has put a fixed deposit of Rs 10 lakh in the name of each orphan which they can withdraw after they attain the age of 25. The children can withdraw the monthly interest on the fixed deposit till then.
In Hyderabad, the Society for Cyberabad Security Council (SCSC) and Cyberabad Police in collaboration with the Department of Women and Child Welfare is funding the education of 19 Covid orphans hailing from the city, Medchal-Malkajgiri and Sangareddy districts, in consultation with the management of educational institutions where these students are studying. SCSC has entered into an MoU to support the educational needs including tuition fees and expenses towards books, for them until they complete Class 10. Funds covering this year’s expenses of a few children have been paid to Progress High School, and Sri Chaitanya Techno School and Junior College where they are already studying.
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