Free education, health insurance for children orphaned by COVID-19: PM
PM Narendra Modi on Saturday launched the "PM-CARES for Children" scheme to provide a number of benefits to support kids who lost both parents or guardians due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Benefits offered to such COVID-19 orphans include free education, health insurance, a monthly stipend once the children turn 18, and a Rs. 10 lakh fund when they turn 23, among others. Here's more.
Decision to launch scheme taken after a high-level meeting
The decision to launch "PM-CARES for Children" followed a high-level PM Modi-chaired review meeting where the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children and strategies to mitigate it were discussed. "Children represent the future of the country and the country will do everything possible to support and protect the children so that they develop as strong citizens and have a bright future," Modi said.
'Several children lost their parents due to COVID-19': PM Modi
"Several children lost their parents due to COVID-19. The Government will care for these children, ensure a life of dignity and opportunity for them. PM-CARES for Children will ensure education & other assistance to children," tweeted PM Modi.
Here's what PM Modi tweeted after announcing the scheme
Supporting our nation’s future!— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 29, 2021
Several children lost their parents due to COVID-19. The Government will care for these children, ensure a life of dignity opportunity for them. PM-CARES for Children will ensure education other assistance to children. https://t.co/V3LsG3wcus
Children who lost both parents, surviving parent, legal guardians eligible
"All children who have lost both parents or surviving parent or legal guardian/adoptive parents due to COVID-19 will be supported under 'PM-CARES for Children' scheme," said an official statement. "The measures being announced have only been possible due to the generous contributions to the PM CARES Fund which will support India's fight against COVID-19," it added.
Free education to be provided for children below 18 years
Children below 10 years will be admitted to their nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya/private school as day scholars. Those between 11-18 years would be either admitted to central government residential schools or the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya/private school as day scholars if they want to continue under the care of their guardians/grandparents/extended family. PM-CARES will pay for their uniforms, books as well as fees (private school students).
Support for higher education also offered under the scheme
Under the scheme, children can obtain educational loans for pursuing higher education/professional courses in India and the interest on such loans would be taken care of by PM-CARES. Alternatively, scholarships equivalent to the course fees/tuition fees for undergraduate/vocational courses would be provided under central or state government schemes. Those who aren't eligible under the existing schemes would be given equivalent scholarships by PM-CARES.
Benefits #3: Health insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakh
The scheme would also provide a health insurance cover worth Rs. 5 lakh to eligible children by enrolling them as beneficiaries under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme (PM-JAY). Until they reach the age of 18 years, the premium for their insurance will be paid by PM-CARES.
A Rs. 10 lakh-worth fund in the child's name
PM-CARES would also make contributions to create a corpus of Rs. 10 lakh through a special scheme for every eligible child when they turn 18. This would be utilized to provide monthly stipends to them between 18-23 years to take care of their personal needs during their higher education. Once they turn 23, the beneficiary will receive the corpus amount as a lump sum.