Protect kids orphaned by COVID-19, women & 'vulnerable sections': MHA to States, UTs

New Delhi: Considering the surge in mortality during the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic and its impact on families, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has written a letter to all states and Union Territories (UTs) directing them on steps for the protection of "vulnerable sections" especially children who lost parents due to COVID-19.

The letter informed states/UTs on the advisory by MHA on standard operating procedures for preventing and combating crimes against vulnerable sections of the society, including women, children, senior citizens and Scheduled Castes/ Scheduled Tribes, and as well as for putting in place institutional mechanisms for preventing and countering human trafficking.

"Government taking cognizance of the impact COVID-19 pandemic may have, particularly, on vulnerable groups, gave high priority to the matter and requested States/ Union Territories to put in place adequate mechanisms for ensuring dedicated support and assistance in a timely manner to such persons," MHA said.

The letter said that in order to meet the new challenges arising out of the recent wave of COVID-19 affliction, "it is requested to undertake an immediate review of the existing facilities for vulnerable groups inter-alia on the lines of the measures given in the various advisories issued by the MHA. especially for children who have been orphaned." "Senior citizens who may require timely assistance and support (medical as well as safety and security), and members of scheduled castes/ scheduled tribes who may need guidance to access Government support facilities. The review may include steps taken for sensitization of police personnel, coordination with agencies/ departments concerned as also communities and civil society organizations," MHA added.

The Home Ministry noted that several states/UTs have initiated action and strengthened their machinery to support the vulnerable groups and various success stories and best practices are now available with States/UTs where emergency services have been provided to the vulnerable groups impacted by COVID-19.

The Ministry also gave details about funds and other advisories issued from time to time to all states regarding the same.

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