New Delhi: The Punjab Government has decided to provide a monthly pension of Rs 1,500 and free education up to graduation level to children who lost their parents to the Covid pandemic.
The social security pension will also be paid to families who lost their breadwinning member, the office of Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said today. The pension will be paid starting July 1.
The Chief Minister said it is the “state’s duty to become foster parents of children who lost both their parents” to the pandemic. He added that those orphaned and children from families who lost their earning members would be provided free education in state-run institutions.
The affected persons would also be eligible for a grant of Rs 51,000 under the Ashirwaad Scheme and free ration under the State Smart Ration Card Scheme. They would be entitled to medical insurance under the Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana.
The relief measures will be provided to the orphaned children till they turn 21. For families who lost their earning member, the measures will be initially provided for three years, after which their situation will be assessed and coverage extended if they continue to be vulnerable, said the Chief Minister’s Office.
The announcements in Punjab Government, where the Congress is in power, came on a day party president Sonia Gandhi wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urging him to consider providing free education at Navodaya Vidyalayas to children who lost both parents or an earning parent to Covid.
“I feel that as a nation, we owe it to them to give them hope for a robust future after the unimaginable tragedy that has befallen them,” the Congress president wrote.
With the devastating second wave of Covid pushing up death rates in the middle age group, many children have lost both parents and now face an uncertain future.
Before Punjab, several other states have announced initiatives such as free education and monthly assistance for children orphaned by the pandemic. These states include Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh, and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
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