Bhubaneswar, September 13: The Odisha Government on Monday closed the “Ashirbad” scheme launched in April this year to provide financial help to the children who lost their parents to COVID-19 in the State on a monthly basis.
“It is observed that the COVID-19 has a declining trend in the State for quite some time. In view of the same, children, whose parents/primary bread earners died after September 15 will now be covered only under child protection scheme of the Government,” said Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) Director Aravind Agarwal in a letter to all the district Collectors.
However, all the cases covered under the scheme shall continue to get the benifits till they attain the age of 18 years.
Earlier, children who lost both their parents or the main earning member of the family on or after April 1, 2020, were eligible to be covered under the scheme.
Under the Ashirbad scheme, Rs 2,500 per month was being provided to the children who have lost both parents to COVID-19 and Rs 1500 per month to those who have lost a single parent to the virus on or after April 1, 2020.
The amount will be transferred to the bank accounts of the guardians/caretakers of such children till they attain the age of 18. The assistance will not be provided in case the child has been adopted.
The beneficiaries will be included under the State government’s Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana for availing free medical services and central/state food security scheme.
Under the Ashirbad scheme, such children can also continue in schools in which they were studying before the demise of their parents. If the relative, who has taken responsibility, resides elsewhere, arrangement of schooling will be made in that case. If necessary, the State Government will help in the admission of such children in Adarsh Vidyalaya or Central School. The state government will assist these children to pursue higher education under the Green Passage scheme.
It had also the provision that if the relative who has taken the responsibility of a child is eligible for a house under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana or Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana, out-of-turn allotment will be made for him. The relative will be covered under any other government welfare scheme as per his eligibility.
The Child Welfare Committee of a district will coordinate with the local tehsildar and police to protect the property of the children.