Punjab govt announces Rs 1,500 per month for children orphaned in COVID pandemic

The Punjab government on Thursday decided to provide Rs 1,500 per month as social security pension and free education up to graduation to all those children orphaned in the COVID pandemic, as well as families that have lost their breadwinning member, beginning July 1. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said his government will ensure free education in government institutions for such children as well as kids belonging to families that have lost their breadwinner to COVID, according to an official statement.

He dubbed it as the “state’s duty to become the foster parents of the children” who have lost both their parents in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Singh said affected persons would also be eligible for Rs 51,000 under the Ashirwad Scheme with effect from July 1 and would be entitled to free ration under the state smart ration card scheme and coverage under the ‘Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana’.

Earlier under the Ashirwad Scheme, Rs 51,000 financial assistance was given to a poor family for the girl’s marriage, while there is an entitlement based cashless Health Insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh per family per year under the ‘Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana’.

The state government would also assist the affected family members to find a suitable job under the ‘Ghar Ghar Rozgaar te Karobaar Mission’, said the chief minister after a high-level COVID review meeting.

The relief measures will be provided to orphans until they attain the age of 21 years.

In the case of families whose breadwinner has died, the relief measures would be provided for an initial period of three years, after which their situation will be re-assessed, and where the vulnerability continues to exist, the period may be appropriately extended, Singh said.

The chief minister also announced the constitution of a monitoring committee, headed by the minister for social, security and women and child development, to review progress and relief measures for every single case.

The committee shall meet at least once a month, he said.

The Department of Social Security and Women and Child Development would be the nodal department for implementation of the relief measures for the COVID affected persons.

The committee would also maintain a record of all such affected persons and apprise them about the welfare measures being offered to them.

Besides, the committee would also coordinate with the departments concerned until the desired relief has been made available, he said.

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