According to a recent report by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), 31 Indian states have implemented the ‘PM CARES for Children’ scheme, which aims to provide support to children who have lost both parents or their sole breadwinner due to COVID-19.
The scheme, which was launched by the Indian government in May 2021, provides a financial assistance of Rs 10 lakh to children who have lost their parents or legal guardians due to COVID-19. The funds are deposited into a fixed deposit account in the name of the child, which can be accessed by them once they turn 18.
In addition to financial assistance, the scheme also provides for the education and healthcare of the children. Under the scheme, the government will ensure that the children receive an education up to the age of 18 and that their healthcare needs are taken care of.
The ILO-UNICEF report noted that the scheme had been implemented in 31 Indian states, covering over 77% of the eligible children. The report also stated that the scheme had been well-received by the beneficiaries and had provided them with much-needed financial and emotional support.
The report further highlighted the need for continued support for the children who have lost their parents or guardians due to COVID-19. It noted that these children are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, and neglect, and that there is a need for a comprehensive support system to be put in place for them.
The report also called for greater investment in social protection schemes for children and families, particularly in low- and middle-income countries like India, to help mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ‘PM CARES for Children’ scheme is just one of several measures taken by the Indian government to support those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to financial assistance, the government has also provided food assistance, healthcare facilities, and vaccination drives to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the population.
However, despite these efforts, the pandemic has had a devastating impact on the country, with millions of people losing their lives or their livelihoods. The ILO-UNICEF report noted that the pandemic had exacerbated existing inequalities and that there was a need for a concerted effort to address these issues and ensure that the most vulnerable sections of society are not left behind.