Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide free education in Navodaya Vidyalayas to children orphaned due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In her letter, Sonia Gandhi said the nation owes it to children to give them hope and provide them a robust future after their tragedy. "I am writing to request you to consider providing free education at the Navodaya Vidyalayas to children who have lost either both parents or an earning parent on account of the COVID-19 pandemic," the Congress chief said.
"I feel that as a nation, we owe it to them to give them hope for a robust future after the unimaginable tragedy that has befallen them," Sonia Gandhi said. The BJP, however, took a swipe at the Congress chief, saying her idea of looking after kids orphaned during the pandemic is "outdated and copied". "Several state governments are already doing it except perhaps those run by the Congress. Instead of writing to the PM, she should have written to Amarinder Singh and Ashok Gehlot," BJP IT department head Amit Malviya said.
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi shared the letter on Twitter and said it is high time the government of India listened to the suggestion. "Children are amongst the worst hit by COVID trauma, many having lost their parents to the dreadful situation. Congress president makes an important suggestion to safeguard their future and provide them free education at NVs (Navodaya Vidyalayas). It's high time GoI listened," Rahul Gandhi said in a tweet.
Sonia Gandhi noted that there has been news of young children losing one or both parents to COVID-19. "These children are left with the trauma of loss and no support towards a stable education or future," she said in her letter to the prime minister. The Congress chief also recalled how the creation of Navodaya Vidyalayas across the country was her husband and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's most significant legacies.
It was his dream to make high-quality modern education accessible and affordable to talented youth, predominantly from rural areas, she said. Sonia Gandhi said there are around 661 such schools across the country currently.
There have been reports of children losing either an earning parent or both parents during the pandemic that has so far claimed over 2 lakh lives in the country.