- MHA has advised all states and UTs to take measures to protect “vulnerable sections” especially children who have lost parents as a result of COVID-19.
- The number of children orphaned as a result of the Covid pandemic is unknown.
- The MHA urged states to put in place institutional frameworks to keep an eye on human trafficking incidents.
The second wave of COVID-19 and the resulting deaths have taken a heavy toll on families. All states and Union Territories (UTs) have received a letter from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) directing them to take measures to protect “vulnerable sections,” especially children who have lost parents as a result of COVID-19.
The letter told states and the Union Territories about MHA’s advisory on the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for not only preventing but also combating crimes against vulnerable groups including women, children, senior citizens, and Scheduled Castes (SCs)/ Scheduled Tribes (STs), as well as the institutional structures for preventing and combating human trafficking.
“The government is mindful of the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on vulnerable groups, gave the matter high priority and requested States/Union Territories to put in place adequate mechanisms to ensure dedicated support and assistance to such people in a timely manner,” MHA said.
According to the letter, in order to address the new challenges posed by the recent COVID-19 outbreak, “It is requested that it conduct an immediate review of the existing facilities for vulnerable groups, based on the steps outlined in the MHA’s various advisories, especially for orphaned children.”
” Senior citizens who may need urgent assistance and treatment (medical, as well as safety and security), as well as members of scheduled castes/tribes who may need help obtaining access to government service facilities. Steps taken to sensitise police officers, as well as cooperation with agencies/ departments involved, as well as communities and civil society groups, could be included in the study,” Home Ministry added.
While there is no official data on how many children have been orphaned as a result of the pandemic, many state governments have launched numerous child-welfare initiatives.
The Delhi government has announced that children who have lost both parents to Covid-19 will receive a monthly allowance of 2,500 rupees before they reach the age of 25, and their education will be funded by the government. Karnataka has also claimed that orphaned children under the age of 18 would be rehabilitated.
Madhya Pradesh has announced a monthly allowance of 5,000 rupees for orphaned children, while Andhra Pradesh has announced a fixed deposit of ten lakh rupees for orphaned children.
The correspondence sent out on Thursday reminded states of numerous advisories and standard operating procedures provided last year to protect vulnerable people in society.
This includes a grant of 107.49 crore to state governments for the establishment or enhancement of women’s support desks in police stations. These aid desks plan to provide an enlisted panel of experts, such as lawyers, counsellors, and NGOs, who can assist in obtaining assistance, providing housing, and rehabilitation, among other things, as well as assist in case registration and follow-up, providing the necessary assurance and support to the women who approach them.