Tribune News Service
New Delhi, June 7
The Supreme Court on Monday gave more time to work out the modalities for implementation of the recently launched ‘PM-CARES for Children’ scheme for those orphaned by Covid-19.
A Bench headed by Justices LN Rao agreed to take up the matter post-summer vacation after Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati said the Centre needed more time as it was in consultation with various states and ministries to finalise the modalities of the ‘PM-CARES for Children’ scheme.
Talking about the scheme, Bhati said, “We have made district magistrates directly responsible for the children who have been abandoned or have been orphaned”.
The Bench pulled up the West Bengal Government after the National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) said West Bengal was not cooperating in furnishing the latest data on the number of children who have lost their parents due to coronavirus.
“We said gather information pertaining to children orphaned after March 2020, and include CNCPs (Children in Need of Care and Protection) also. All the other states have understood it properly and have uploaded the information, how is it that only West Bengal doesn’t understand the order. Don’t take refuge under confusion. All other States have provided it, there is confusion only for West Bengal?” the Bench told West Bengal Government counsel.
On behalf of NCPCR, Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj said the commission was facing difficulties with West Bengal and Delhi which were not uploading the data of such children on ‘Bal Swaraj’ portal.
The top court also asked the Delhi Government to upload the updated information on the NCPCR’s website.
The Supreme Court had on Tuesday asked the Centre to provide details of schemes announced for children who lost their parents to the COCID19 along with monitoring mechanisms.
The Centre had last month announced that PM CARES will contribute through a specially designed scheme to create a corpus of Rs 10 lakh for each child when he or she reaches 18 years of age.
The top court—which had earlier taken up suo motu cognizance of the spread of Covid-19 in children homes—is hearing an application filed by amicus curiae Gaurav Agrawal seeking identification of orphaned children due to Covid-19 or otherwise and providing them immediate relief.
The NCPCR had earlier told the court that data of 9,346 affected children have been uploaded on Bal Swaraj portal. This includes 1,742 children who lost both parents, 7,464 now in a single-parent household, 140 have been abandoned between March 2020 and May 29, 202