Maha: COVID-19 orphans to get Rs 5 lakh in FD, monthly aid

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Mumbai, Jun 2 (PTI) The Maharashtra government on Wednesdayannounced that fixed deposits of Rs five lakh will be made in the name of orphaned children who have lost at least one parent to COVID-19.

They will also get a monthly allowance of Rs 1,125.

At present there are 162 children in the state who have lost both parents, at least one of them to the pandemic.

Nine such kids are in government institutions as they have no relatives to take care of them, officials said.

The decision was taken at the cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Uddhav Thackeray.

The beneficiaries will get the FD amount with interest after attaining the age of 21 years, a statement from the Chief Minister's Office said.

This will be in addition to the benefits announced by the Union government.

Such orphaned children can stay at government-run child shelter homes orwiththeir relatives if the latter take their responsibility.

The bank FD will be in the joint name of the beneficiary child and the local Women and Child Development (WCD) Department officer.

Any child (upto the age of 18) whose both parents have died of COVID-19 after March 1, 2020, or one parent has died of COVID-19 and other because of any other reason (prior to or after the COVID-19 outbreak) will be eligible for this aid.

WCD minister Yashomati Thakur told reporters after the cabinet meeting that besides the FD, relative of an orphaned child will get Rs 1,125 per month to look after her or him.

'We are trying to raise the amount upto Rs 2,500,' she added.

Children who have lost only one parent to COVID-19 and whose other parent is alive will also get this monthly assistance, but they won't be eligible for the FD scheme.

As many as 5,172 children in the state have lost one parent to COVID-19, their other parent being alive, as per official data.

'We have made a provision of Rs 10 crore for about 200 orphaned children. The budget will be increased if there are more such children,' minister Thakur added. PTI MR KRK KRK

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