577 Covid orphans reported so far by states since April 1: Smriti Irani

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New Delhi, May 25 (PTI) As many as 577 children across the country were orphaned after their parents succumbed to COVID-19, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said citing reports of states and union territories from April 1 till Tuesday.

She also said that the government is committed to support and protect every vulnerable child who lost both parents to Covid.

'GOI (government of India) is committed to support and protect every vulnerable child due to loss of both parents to Covid-19. 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,' Irani said in a tweet.

Asserting that these children are not abandoned and are under the watch and protection of district authorities, sources said that if such children need counselling a team at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) is ready.

They said that there is no shortage of funds for ensuring the welfare of these children.

'The Centre is in constant touch with states and districts about these children. There is no shortage of funds for their welfare. The women and child development ministry has held meetings with all stakeholders, including the UNICEF,' a source said.

It is 'unfortunate and painful' that when the women and child development (WCD) ministry approached renowned activists who were talking about Covid orphans, they gave no details till date about the children orphaned due to the pandemic, the sources said.

In another development, secretary in the WCD ministry Ram Mohan Mishra said that India is going to open 10 one-stop centres in 10 missions across nine countries.

One-stop centres (OSCs) tackle cases of violence against women.

'One OSC will be established each in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, UAE, Australia, Canada and Singapore, while two will be established in Saudi Arabia,' he said, noting that 300 more OSCs will be opened across the country.

These centres will be supported by the WCD ministry and operated by the External Affairs Ministry, he said. PTI JTR UZM ANB ANB

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