PM-CARES for Children: On eve of his government's anniversary, PM announces benefits for kids orphaned by Covid

By Express News Service
NEW DELHI: The Centre on Saturday decided that 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, which will take care of their educational needs, including higher education.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting to discuss steps needed for children who have lost their parents to COVID-19. The Prime Minister announced a number of benefits for children impacted by the current pandemic.

‘PM CARES’ will contribute through a specially designed scheme to create a corpus of Rs 10 lakh for each child when he or she reaches 18 years of age, which will be used to give a monthly financial support from 18 years of age, for the next five years to take care of his or her personal requirements during the period of higher education.

On reaching the age of 23, he or she will get the corpus amount in a lumpsum for personal and professional use, said the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in a statement. Also, the scheme will take responsibility for the educational needs of such children, as they will be given admission in the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya or in a private school as a day scholar.

Besides, if the child is admitted in a private school, the fees as per Right to Education norms will be given from PM CARES, added the PMO. PM CARES will also pay for uniform, text books and notebooks. Additionally, children in the 11-18 age group will be given admission in Central government residential schools such as Sainik School, Navodaya Vidyalaya and others.

But in case the child is to be continued under the care of guardian/grandparents/ extended family, he or she will be given admission in the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya or in a private school as a day scholar, added the PMO.

In a bid to ensure access to higher education, the scheme will assist in obtaining education loan for professional courses or higher education in India as per the existing education norms. Interest on this loan will be paid by PM CARES. The PMO said an alternative scholarship equivalent to tuition fees or course fees for undergraduate or vocational courses as per government norms will be provided under Central or state government schemes.

For children not eligible under existing schemes, PM CARES will provide an equivalent scholarship. The scheme will ensure enrollment of such children as a beneficiary under Ayushman Bharat Scheme (PM-JAY) with a health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh. Premium for these children till the age of 18 years will be paid by PM CARES.