1,400 kids in Tamil Nadu lost one or more parent to Covid | Chennai News – Times of India

CHENNAI: “My father died of cardiac arrest two days after testing negative [for Covid-19] and came home from hospital. He was the sole breadwinner of our family,” said 12-year-old Sukriti*. Her mother, a homemaker, is extremely worried about the future of her two children.
As of Wednesday, district child protection units identified about 1,400 children in TN who were either orphaned or lost one parent to Covid-19 since last year, with 50 coming under the first category.
The government has announced Rs5 lakh for those orphaned by Covid-19, but children like Sukriti*, who lost their parents to post-Covid complications, have no aid.
“There is also no aid for those whose parents died of poverty, hunger, suicide,” said Andrew Sesuraj, state convenor of the Tamil Nadu Child Rights Watch. While the certified deaths due to the virus are less, those due to other instances are more, “Most of these deaths happened after the pandemic struck. But no effort has been taken to collate details or help to these children,” he said.
The National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) told the Supreme Court that between April 1, 2020 and June 5, 2021, more than 30,000 children across the country were either orphaned or lost one parent since the pandemic struck. These include deaths due to non-Covid diseases and was collated based on data received from states through the Bal Swaraj portal.
The NCPCR affidavit mentioned 802 such children in Tamil Nadu. But, the amicus curiae said the state’s figures didn’t appear to be correct as not even one child was produced before the child welfare committee in several districts. The court also directed the state to upload information relating to all children either orphaned or lost one parent after March, 2020 due to Covid or otherwise on the commission’s portal.
“Only when they provide these details can we link children to welfare schemes, strengthen their families. We don’t want these children to end up in institutions when there are other ways to provide them with right care and protection. We need to take care of them all equally,’ said NCPCR chairperson Priyank Kanoongo.
A social defence department official said they were identifying such children with help of local authorities and civil society groups. “We will update the number in the portal and also provide assistance to these children.”

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