Making Them Wanted
PM CARES for Children is a small effort to reduce the difficulties of such corona affected children who lost both their mother and father. PM CARES for children is also a reflection of the fact that every countryman is with you with the utmost sensitivity,” reminded Prime Minister Narendra Modi the other day.
PM CARES for Children Scheme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 29, 2021 to support children who have lost both their parents or legal guardian or adoptive parents or surviving parent to the Covid-19 pandemic, during the period starting from March 11, 2020 and ending on February 28, 2022.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi released benefits under PM CARES for Children Scheme via video conference on May 30, 2022. Speaking during the occasion, the Prime Minister empathised with the difficulties in the lives of those children who lost their loved ones due to Corona. The Prime Minister saluted the children for facing the most painful impact of the pandemic so bravely and said that nothing can compensate for the love of the parents. He remarked that even in the darkest atmosphere of despair, if we believe in ourselves, then a ray of light is definitely visible, and cited our country itself as the biggest example of this.
Need for the Scheme
COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the world including India. Children have also been affected in many ways during the pandemic. Their perils ranged from loss of routine life, inability to go to School and anxiety due to loss of loved ones to COVID-19.
PM CARES for Children is a small effort to reduce the difficulties of such corona affected children who lost both their mother and father.
The objective of the scheme is to ensure comprehensive care and protection of Children in a sustained manner, and enable their well-being through health insurance, empower them through education and equip them for self-sufficient existence with financial support on reaching 23 years of age.
Identification of Children
The children were identified by the District Magistrates (DMs) with the assistance of police, District Child Protection Units (DCPUs) and civil society organisations. Identified children were produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). CWC after verifying the cause of death of the parents, uploaded details on the PM CARES for Children portal for the District Magistrate’s consideration, along with its recommendations. DM, with the assistance of Child Protection Staff, police or any other agency as deemed fit, made an independent assessment about every child recommended or not recommended by CWC.
The Ministry of Women and Child Welfare is the nodal ministry for looking after the welfare of Children in India. The Ministry has been entrusted with the responsibility of anchoring the PM CARES for Children scheme, in collaboration with stakeholder Ministries, States and District Administration.
The key features of the scheme are as follows:
1. Financial Support
• Pro-rata amount has been credited in the account of each identified child such that the corpus for each child becomes Rs. 10 lakhs at the time of attaining 18 years of age. For the children above 18 years of age, Rs 10 lakhs has been deposited in the Monthly Income Scheme of the post office.
• Children will receive a monthly stipend once they attain 18 years of age, by investing the corpus of Rs. 10 lakhs into the Monthly Income Scheme of the post office. The stipend will be credited to the Post Office Savings Bank Accounts of the children. Children above 18 years will receive stipend till they attain 23 years of age.
• Children would receive an amount of Rs. 10 lakh on attaining 23 years of age.
• Ex-gratia of Rs. 50,000 per deceased parent from State Disaster Response Fund has been provided to children as per directions of Ministry of Home Affairs.
2. Support for Boarding and Lodging
• District Magistrates with the assistance of CWC have taken steps to rehabilitate the child within her/his extended family, relatives, kith or kin. 4229 children are staying with their relatives.
• In cases where the relatives/extended family is not available/not willing /not found fit by CWC, or the child is not willing to live with them, the child has been placed in age appropriate and gender appropriate Child Care Institution (CCI). There are 116 children living in CCIs.
• All siblings have been kept together.
• Financial support as prescribed for non-institutional care under the Central or State scheme has been provided to the children, as per the eligibility under the relevant scheme.
• Under Child Protection Services (CPS) scheme (now Mission Vatsalya) of Ministry of Women & Child Development, children staying with relatives were receiving Rs. 2000/- per month which has been revised to Rs. 4000/- per month w.e.f April 1, 2022.
• For children staying in Child Care Institutions (CCIs), the maintenance grant is given to CCIs by the Government for the same.
3. Assistance for School Education
• For admission in the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya (KV) or Private school as a day scholar. fees as per the RTE norms would be given from the PM CARES.
• Six supernumerary seats in all KVs have been reserved for these children.
• PM-CARES will also pay for expenditure on uniforms, textbooks and notebooks.
• Admission in any Central Government residential school e.g., Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV), Sainik School, Navodaya Vidyalaya etc. is being facilitated.
• Scholarship of Rs.20,000/- per annum is being provided to school-going children of class 1-12 under the scheme of Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
4. Assistance for Higher Education
• Eligible children are receiving Swanath Scholarship of Rs. 50,000/- per child per annum for technical education.
• Children are receiving KARMA Scholarship for skill training.
• Two supernumerary seats in Polytechnic institutions have been created for these children. Similarly, Higher Education Institutions have been directed by UGC to create supernumerary seats to accommodate these children.
• Children are being assisted in obtaining education loans for professional courses/ Higher Education in India.
• Interest on the educational loan will be paid by the PM CARES.
5. Health Insurance
• All children have been enrolled under Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) with a health insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakhs per annum per child.
• The premium amount for these children till the age of 23 years will be paid by PM CARES.
• Health cards (PM-JAY Card) for children have been delivered to all the District Magistrates for distribution.
• Children are being given a login ID for viewing a personal dashboard on the PM CARES for Children portal, which indicates their entitlements and services being provided to them.
• It contains contact details of district level officers and nodal officers from concerned Ministries/Departments.
• Provides grievance redressal mechanism for administrative and technical help.
Portal – PM CARES for Children
‘PM CARES for Children’ is an integrated portal for child registration, validation, fund transfer, benefits available to children under various components of the scheme and grievance redressal. The portal has been developed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development which can be accessed at PMCARESforchildren.in.