Data On Bal Swaraj Portal Includes All Children Who Lost Their Parent Due To COVID Or Otherwise From The Period Commencing April 2020: NCPCR Tells Supreme Court

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Supreme Court today, laid emphasis on taking assistance of Anganwadi Workers in identifying and providing assistance to Orphan Children at Village level, in Suo Moto Writ Petition on Protection of Children in Child Care Institutions. NCPCR submitted its affidavit apprising the bench of State-wise data on Children who lost both parents, single parent or were abandoned – figures nearing to 75000.

A Division Bench of Justice LN Rao and Justice Aniruddha Bose, while hearing the matter today, suggested that the benefit of Government welfare scheme be extended to all children who lost their parents during COVID 19, and not due to COVID 19 pandemic.

NCPCR, in its affidavit states,

“… Data available on the Bal Swaraj Portal includes the children where their one of the parent/ both the parents have died to COVID-19 disease and the children where their one of the parent/ both the parents have died due to any other reason other than COVID-19 disease from April 2020 onwards.”

PM CARES For Children, as launched by the Union Government says,

“Government stands with children who lost their parents due to COVID

The press release says, “Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired an important meeting to discuss and deliberate on steps which can be taken to support children who have lost their parents due to Covid-19. PM announced a number of benefits to children impacted by the current COVID Pandemic.

NCPCR has also devised a comprehensive process of examining data of each child on the portal, illustratively,

  1. Identification of child’s details at Stage 1;
  2. Knowing the social background of the child at Stage 2;
  3. Identification of benefits and recommendations under the Individual Care Plan (ICP) of the child at Stage 3;
  4. Recommendations made in ICP to be compared with order of Child Welfare Committee (CWC) at Stage 4;
  5. Observations of Social Investigation Report and recommendations of the Individual Child Care Plan to be compared with the schemes/benefits at Stage 5;
  6. At Stage 6, it is to be examined that whether follow-up of the child is being in accordance with the recommendations of Child Welfare Committee and in a time bound manner (as provided under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and its Rules, 2016).

On June 7, 2021 A Division bench of Justice LN Rao and Justice Aniruddha Bose had inter-alia issued directions to the State Governments/UTs to continue identifying the children who have become orphan or lost a parent after March, 2020 either due to Covid-19 or otherwise, and provide data on the website of the NCPCR without any delay.

On June 1, 2021, directions were issued to the Centre for devising a mechanism to identify beneficiaries under recently launched PM Cares for COVID affected Children.

Last year December, Supreme Court had directed the State Governments/UTs to consult District Child Protection Units and provide necessary infrastructure, stationery, books and other facilities required for online classes to the children in Child Care Institutions.

Case Title: In Re Contagion of COVID 19 Virus In Children Protection Homes | SMW No. 4 of 2020