The Maharashtra government has announced that it will fund the education of children who lost their parents to Covid-19. The funding will be provided until they complete school-level education equal to class 12. In a tweet on Thursday, School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad said that the expenses of these children's education will be borne by the Department of Higher and Technical Education.
The government made the announcement at a time when the worst affected state due to Covid-19 continues to battle the second wave of coronavirus with lockdown-like curbs since mid-April of this year.
A total of 1,572 children in the state have lost either one or both their parents due to Covid-19 infection so far as many as 1,474 children lost one parent, 98 others lost both the parents during the pandemic.
Earlier, the government had announced to set up a 10-member task force in each of the 36 districts in the state to identify children orphaned due to the pandemic. The task force has been assigned to ensure shelter for these children and supervise their adoption.
Maharashtra Women and Child Development Minister Yashomati Thakur had said the state government would ensure children orphaned by Covid-19 are nurtured and get protection as well as education.
The Kerala government too on Thursday announced one-time financial support of Rs 3 lakh to children orphaned due to Covid-19 pandemic. Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has declared to provide immediate relief of Rs 2,000 per month to such children till they become 18 years old. He added that the state government will bear the cost of their education till degree-level.
Uttarakhand, Maharashtra, Punjab, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh governments have also announced financial support and free education for children that have lost their parents to Covid.
Citing reports of states and union territories, Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Irani said that a total of 577 children across the country were orphaned after their parents succumbed to Covid-19 from April 1 till May 25.