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Bhopal

Updated on: Wednesday, December 29, 2021, 10:54 PM IST

Since the beginning of Covid-19 pandemic, nearly 12,000 kids lost a parent in Madhya Pradesh

Government trying to tap CSR funds to take care of the children as it does not have the financial wherewithal to extend the required assistance to them
Representative Pic | PTI

Representative Pic | PTI

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BHOPAL: Over the past 20 months, as many as 11,822 children in the state have lost either their father or  mother due to various reasons, including the Covid-19 pandemic. However, the state government does not have the financial wherewithal to extend the required assistance to them, say officials of the state Woman and Child Development Department (WCD).

Under the Foster Care and Sponsorship Schemes, the state government provides such children a sum of Rs 2,000 per month. Though this amount is grossly inadequate, yet, even for this payout, the government will need a budget of around Rs 28 crore per year.

The total annual budget for this purpose is just Rs 10 lakh per year per district. Thus, in the state as whole, the 52 districts have a total budget of Rs 5.20 crore under this head.

Madhya Pradesh Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MPCPCR) member Brajesh Chouhan told the Free Press that the Commission has got the data on children who have lost either of their parents in the period March 2020 to October 2021 through the WCD. The data was compiled through surveys conducted by the ground level staff of the Department in all the 52 districts of the state.

Departmental sources say that the actual figure of such children may be almost double the number arrived at through the survey. For example, in Bhopal district, according to the survey, the number of such children is 288. However, a district-level functionary of the WCD told Free Press that they have received more than 500 applications from children seeking foster care or sponsorship assistance.

According to Chouhan, in order to bridge the budget deficit, the department is trying to seek CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) funds from private companies. The department is also trying to persuade individual philanthropists to donate money for the purpose.

1063 children have gone parentless in Balaghat: Of the 11,822 children in the state who have lost either their mother or their father in the period (March 2020-Oct 2021), 6,031 are girls and 5,791 are boys. In most cases, the deceased are fathers, who are normally bread-winners. Their number is 5,111. The number of dead mothers is 1,463. The highest (1063) number of such children is in the Balaghat district, followed by Ratlam (702). The least number of such children are in Sagar (8).

Foster care: According to WCD additional director, Vishal Nadkarni, Foster care is an arrangement whereby a child lives, usually on a temporary basis, with unrelated family members. A child shall be preferably placed with child’s extended family or with close friends of the family who are known to child and when such options are either not available or not willing to take care of the child, the child may be placed in foster care. Under the Sponsorship Scheme, the children are placed in the care of the surviving single parent or any other close relative.

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Published on: Wednesday, December 29, 2021, 10:54 PM IST
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