The Centre on Saturday announced a pension for dependents of those having lost their lives due to Covid-19, among other benefits for the families who lost their earning members to the pandemic. Besides family pensions, insurance benefits under the Employees’ Deposit-Linked Insurance (EDLI) scheme have also been enhanced and liberalised. Prime Minister Narendra Modi said these steps will help mitigate financial difficulties faced by these families.
Moreover, the PMO said in a statement on Saturday that all children who have lost both their parents due to Covid-19 will be supported under the ‘PM CARES for Children’ scheme. Such children will get a monthly stipend once they turn 18 and a fund of Rs 10 lakh when they turn 23 from PM CARES fund. These children will also get assistance to procure higher education loan, with the interest being paid from the PM CARES fund.
The PMO has further stated that children having lost parents to Covid-19 will get free health insurance of Rs 5 lakh till 18 years, with the premium being paid from the PM CARES fund.
Adding to this, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that children represent the future of India and the government “will do everything to support, protect them”. “It’s our duty as society to care for our children and instill hope for a bright future,” said PM Modi, PTI reported.
The Ministry of Women and Child Development said that 577 children across the country have been orphaned in the past 55 days during the second wave of the pandemic.
Taking to Twitter, Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Irani had earlier said that the government 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,” Irani posted.
If you come to know of any child who has lost both parents to COVID and has no one to take care of her/him, inform Police or Child Welfare Committee of your district or contact Childline 1098. It is your legal responsibility.
— Smriti Z Irani (@smritiirani) May 4, 2021
On Friday, the Supreme Court had asked district authorities to “immediately take charge of such children (the ones left orphaned by pandemic) and attend to their basic needs without waiting for any further orders” from the court.
It pointed out that the pandemic has created an unprecedented situation, which has a cascading effect on vulnerable children.
The bench also asked the Centre and state governments to furnish the latest information about the identification of children who have become orphans after March 2020, “whether it be due to the pandemic or otherwise, and steps taken for attending to their basic needs”.
Govt announces pension for dependents, special insurance benefits
Besides the pension for dependents of those having lost their lives due to Covid-19, insurance benefits under the Employees’ Deposit-Linked Insurance (EDLI) scheme have been enhanced and liberalised.
To help these families live a life of dignity and maintain a good standard of living, the benefit of the Employee State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) pension scheme for employment-related death cases is being extended to even those who have died due to Covid, the PMO said in a statement.
Dependent family members of such persons will be entitled to the benefit of pension equivalent to 90 per cent of the average daily wage drawn by the worker as per the existing norms. This benefit will be available retrospectively with effect from March 24 last year and for all such cases till March 24, 2022.
The amount of maximum insurance benefit has been increased from Rs 6 lakh to Rs 7 lakh, and the provision of minimum insurance benefit of Rs 2.5 lakh has been restored and will apply retrospectively from February 15, 2020 for the next three years.
To benefit families of contractual and casual workers, the condition of continuous employment in only one establishment has been liberalised, with the benefit being made available to families of even those employees who may have changed jobs in the last 12 months preceding his death, it said. Detailed guidelines of these schemes are being issued by the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the PMO added.
(With inputs from PTI)