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577 Children have been Orphaned in the Past 55 Days in India: Ministry of Women and Child Development

The Ministry began investigating the issue of COVID orphans after messages for adopting them started flooding social media

577 Children have been Orphaned in the Past 55 Days in India: Ministry of Women and Child Development

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  26 May 2021 10:18 AM GMT

New Delhi: The Ministry of Women and Child Development on Tuesday said that 577 children across the country have been orphaned in the past 55 days by the second wave of the COVID pandemic.

Senior officials said that the Ministry began investigating the issue of COVID orphans after messages for adopting them started flooding social media. "We have been in touch with all states and asked them to identify COVID orphans from their districts. We have ascertained, from the data received, that there are currently 577 of them… Delhi, for instance, has one COVID orphan in this period," an official said.

Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani said that the Government is committed to support and protect every vulnerable child due to loss of both parents to COVID-19. She posted on Twitter, "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."

A senior official said that they have allotted Rs 10 lakh per district for the non-institutional care of these orphans, which will be distributed by District Magistrates under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme. Their aim is that not even one child slips through the cracks. "Our priority is that the children be retained in their family and community structures and not plucked from these set-ups," the senior official added.

As per the sources, the Ministry's count comes at a time when several states have announced welfare measures for children orphaned by the pandemic. Delhi, Punjab, and Madhya Pradesh are among those that have promised free education apart from financial assistance, while others like Uttarakhand, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh have announced various welfare schemes.

Officials said that a number of measures have been taken to track these children from welfare committees in districts to Samvad, an integrated programme for child and adolescent psychosocial care in collaboration with NIMHANS.

According to the reports, last Monday (May 17), the Ministry issued a public notice warning against messages being circulated on social media for the adoption of these children.

An official said that there were concerns that this could lead to child trafficking. They have carried out investigations into a large number of these messages and have found all of them, so far, to be fake. These have been handed over to the state police departments who will continue this investigation along with the cyber cells.

Earlier, the Ministry had written to states asking them to monitor such activity and ensure that these children be produced before District Child Welfare Committees. For cases that the CWC sees fit for adoption, the process is to take place through the Central Adoption Resource Agency.

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