Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Saturday announced an assistance of Rs 5 lakh to children, who have lost both their parents to COVID-19. The deposited sum along with interest will be distributed to the children once they turn 18-years-old. The Chief Minister also said that the government will bear the educational cost and hostel fees for the children until they complete their graduation. In a statement from the Chief Minister's Office, Stalin said, "For all the children who have lost both their parents due to COVID-19, Rs 5 lakh will be deposited and the amount will be handed over to them along with the interest after they complete 18 years of age."
"The children will be given priority to stay in government homes. The state will also bear the cost of hostel and education fees until the children complete their graduation,â€ť he said, adding, â€śFor the children who have lost one of their parents to the coronavirus, as an immediate relief, Rs 3 lakh will be sanctioned.â€ť An assistance of Rs 3,000 per month was also announced for children who live with a caretaker/guardian until they turn 18.
The Tamil Nadu government has already appointed a district-level Task Force of senior district officials to identify children who have lost their parents and provide them with the required help. The action of the state government comes after reports that the children who lose their parents to the coronavirus are vulnerable to be trafficked in the state.
There have also been several social media messages offering children up for adoption. Recently, the Union Government laid out the process for rehabilitating these children with the Women and Child Development Ministry stating that the children should be produced before a District Welfare Committee within 24 hours. The committee will pass orders regarding the rehabilitation based on the immediate need of the child, it added.