BHOPAL: Most of the 4,000-plus children in the state have lost their fathers during Covid pandemic. And a majority of children are girls.
This has been revealed in a survey conducted by Madhya Pradesh Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MPCPCR). The Commission has, so far, collected data on such children from 42 districts in the state. The survey is on in the remaining 10 districts. Once all the data is in, the total number may cross 5,000.
The highest number of such children has been reported from Balaghat district, where around 1,100 kids have lost one of their parents between March 1, 2020, till date. Of them, 650 have lost their fathers and 450 their mothers.
Data from other districts is also same. In Dhar, of the 577 children, 293 are girls and 284 are boys. The dead include 238 fathers and 74 mothers. In Betul, 240 fathers and 60 mothers have died. They were parents of 310 girls and 282 boys.
Ujjain, 72 mothers and 262 fathers have died. Of the 600 affected children, 321 are girls. In Khandwa, the number of dead fathers is 161 and of dead mothers is 34. Here, 434 children have lost either of their parents.
In Bhopal, 288 children have lost either of their parents. Of them, 163 are girls and 125 are boys. Of the dead parents, 115 were fathers and just 34 were mothers.
Though the state government has announced Rs 5,000 monthly pension to each Covid orphan besides free education and free monthly ration supply, there is no provision to help children who have lost one of their parents, especially the bread-winner, during pandemic.
Commission member Brajesh Chauhan told Free Press that during the exercise to identify Covid orphans, many cases of children who had lost one of their parents came to light. The Commission then decided to collect data on children who have lost either their mothers or fathers during pandemic.
Chauhan said WCD has a scheme called Foster Care for providing an assistance of Rs 2,000 per month to children from families of humble means. But due to lack of budget, a very small number of children are benefitting from it.
He said that children with single parents also deserve help. “We will write to the government to extend assistance to them either as monthly pension or free education,” he said.