COVID-Orphaned Children: Govt To Provide Free Education, Rs 10 Lakh Fund

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New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Saturday that children who have lost both parents or guardians due to coronavirus will be supported under ‘PM-CARES for Children’ scheme.

First and foremost, free education will be ensured for the orphaned children, a PMO statement said.

They will receive a monthly stipend once they turn 18 and a fund of Rs 10 lakh when they attain 23 years of age.

These children will be assisted to get an education loan for higher education, with PM CARES paying interest on the loan.

They will also be provided free health insurance of Rs 5 lakh under Ayushman Bharat till 18 years, with the premium being paid by PM CARES.

“Children represent the future of the country and we will do everything to support and protect them,” the Prime Minister said after chairing a meeting to discuss and deliberate on steps to help children left orphaned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is our duty, as a society, to care for our children and instil hope for a bright future.”

Following are the benefits announced by govt:

Fixed Deposit in the name of the child — PM CARES to 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. This corpus will be used to give a monthly financial support/stipend 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 as a lumpsum for personal and professional use.

School Education for children under 10 years — The child will be given admission in the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya or in a private school as a day scholar. If the child is already admitted in a private school, the fees as per RTE norms will be given from PM CARES, which will also pay for expenditure on uniform, text books and notebooks.

School Education for children between 11-18 years — The child will be given admission in any Central Government residential school such as Sainik School, Navodaya Vidyalaya etc. In case the child is to be continued under the care of guardian/grandparents/extended family, then he or she will be given admission in the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya or in a private school as a day scholar. If the child is admitted in a private school, the fees as per RTE norms will be given from PM CARES, which will also pay for expenditure on uniform, text books and notebooks.

Support for Higher Education — The child will be assisted in obtaining education loan for professional courses/higher education in India as per existing education loan norms. Interest on this loan will be paid by PM CARES. As an alternative, scholarship equivalent to tuition fees/course fees for undergraduate/vocational courses as per Government norms will be provided to such children under Central or State Government Schemes. For children who are not eligible under the existing scholarship schemes, PM CARES will provide an equivalent scholarship.

Health Insurance — All children will be enrolled as a beneficiary under Ayushman Bharat Scheme (PM-JAY) with a health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh. Premium for these children will be paid by PM CARES till the age of 18 years.

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