[PM CARES] Supreme Court asks Centre to submit identification of child beneficiaries; States to appoint Nodal Officers for data collation

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Supreme Court, in its hearing today, issued directions to the Centre for mechanism to identify beneficiaries under recently launched PM Cares for COVID affected Children and 10 States as identified by the Amicus, to appoint Nodal Officers for providing data of Children who turned orphan since March, 2020.

A Division Bench of Justice Nageswara Rao and Justice Aniruddha Bose, observed,

“Union of India to submit necessary details regarding scheme announced by the PM including identification of beneficiaries; To also furnish information related to mechanism adopted to implement the scheme.

Learned Amicus identified 10 States, namely, Karnataka, Telangana, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Rajasthan, Gujarat, UP, Bihar and Jharkhand; The above State governments are directed to appoint Nodal officer at the level of Secretary or Joint Secretary to interact with the Amicus and provide all necessary information related to identification of Orphans and the schemes in force.

Learned Amicus will file a detailed report regarding the same by Sunday evening.

List this matter for further discussion on Monday.”

Submissions were made by Learned Amicus Gaurav Agarwal;

AOR Ms. Swarupama Chauturvedi for NCPCR;

ASG Ms. Aishwarya Bhati for the Union;

Advocate Sachin Patil for the State of Maharashtra;

At the outset, it was suggested by the Amicus that the Union may place a detailed affidavit informing about the modalities of recently launched scheme by the Hon’ble PM, focussing COVID affected Children.

Solicitor, what do you say, should be take it on Monday?: Court

Yes, Mi Lord. As the Counsel suggests the modalities of the Government scheme needs to be worked out: ASG Ms. Bhati

Broad features of the Scheme proposed;

  1. Monthly stipend once they turn 18 and a fund of Rs 10 lakh when they turn 23
  2. Free Education to Children who lost their parents to COVID 19
  3. PM CARES to bear interest on loan for higher education of such Children
  4. Health Insurance of 5 lakh under Ayushman Bharat, till the age of 18 and the premium on it to be borne by PM CARES

It was informed by AOR Ms. Chaturvedi that data of children as expected by the Districts are not being uploaded;

They need to upload what they have. Not all stages are required at once. It is an ongoing process: Chaturvedi

NCPCR in their recent affidavit has filed stages under which details are to be submitted, namely,

Stage 1: Basic details of the child like name, age, address etc.

Stage 2: Social Investigation Report of the Child

Stage 3: Form of individual Child Care Plan

Stage 4: Child Welfare Committee Order

Stage 5: 34 Government implemented schemes have been listed out from which the DCPU can select the benefit of schemes being given to the child in this stage

Stage 6: Follow-up forms of children; where the child has been recommended for follow-up, whether in child care institution or in non-institutional care, the follow-up is done by the person assigned by the Child Welfare Committee. In this stage, if there are any follow-up forms filled by the officer conducting follow-ups of the child, then those forms have to be uploaded.

By its last order dated 28.05.2021, Court had directed the Union and all State Governments to furnish latest information related to the identification of children who got orphaned, post March 2020 and the steps taken for attending their basic needs.

NCPCR was issued direction to file an affidavit; District Authorities were directed to upload information on the portal “Bal Swaraj” and take immediate charge of the above said children.

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