At least 577 children across India were orphaned after their parents died in the second wave of COVID-19, according to Union women and child development minister Smriti Irani. The figure cited by the minister is based on reports of states and union territories for the period between April 1 and May 25.
What Smriti Irani said
She asserted that the Narendra Modi government is committed to protect and support these vulnerable children who unfortunately lost their parents due to the viral infection. Smriti Irani also clarified that these children are not abandoned and under the protection of the respective district authorities.
The minister said that a team of experts from the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences is ready if these children require counselling.
Irani tweeted, “GOI is committed to support and protect every vulnerable child due to loss of both parents to COVID-19. 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.”
GOI is committed to support and protect every vulnerable child due to loss of both parents to Covid-19. 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.
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) May 25, 2021
No shortage of funds
The Union minister also said that there is no shortage of funds required for the welfare of these children and the Centre is in constant communication with states about these children.
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“The Centre is in constant touch with states and districts about these children. There is no shortage of funds for their welfare. The women and child development ministry has held meetings with all stakeholders, including the UNICEF,” a source said.
It is “unfortunate and painful” that when the women and child development (WCD) ministry approached renowned activists who were talking about COVID orphans, they gave no details to date about the children orphaned due to the pandemic, the sources said.
Notably, the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc across India resulting in an acute shortage of hospital beds, medical oxygen and essential medicines.
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