Caring for orphans

Challenge will lie in implementing SC order

Caring for orphans

Photo for representational purpose only

While the incidence of children losing one or both parents to natural deaths or tragedies like accidents or diseases is not new, the large scale on which it has happened because of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country has forced the Supreme Court to ask the states and union territories to create a roadmap for their future by ensuring that their education, which provides for empowerment as well as social and economic advancement, remains uninterrupted. The court has asked that arrangements for this purpose be made in both government and private schools. The court also wants details about their employment opportunities and special care for the girl child. Most of the families have been affected in terms of the loss of an earning member and protecting their interests is of prime concern. The government announced a special PM Cares for Children scheme for those orphaned due to Covid-19 with provisions for a corpus fund. But with the cause of death not clear in many cases, implementing it will remain a tough task.

Familial and social care is no doubt called for in the face of such adversity and the government and courts are right in trying to ensure that the legal and social rights of children are protected by the state. The pandemic has also underlined the fact that extended and joint families have been better able to cope with such tragedies in terms of care and support. The court also voiced concern over the collection of funds by NGOs or the practice of adoption of orphaned children in violation of the norms.

Tragedies are unforeseen but recovering from them remains the best bet to deal with the vicissitudes of life. Education provides a way out by helping people be on their own. Discontinuation of studies is as big a disappointment as the dropping out of children because of other socio-economic reasons. The education sector in the country is already in the grip of disruption and a setback to Covid-affected children will only add another dimension to it.

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