New Delhi: On Monday, centre informed the Supreme Court that they needed more time to apprise the court of modalities on the recently launched PM Cares on the recently launched PM- CARES for children, orphaned by the COVID-19.
Justice L.N.Rao and Aniruddha Bose were present in the bench and were informed by the additional solicitor Aishwarya Bhati, that they are in consultation with the states and ministries to work out the modalities of the PM CARES scheme for children.
“We need some more time to apprise the court about the modalities of the scheme as the consultation is still going on. We have made district magistrates directly responsible for the children who have been abandoned or have been orphaned,” Bhati said, according to the news agency PTI.
The National Commission of Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) said West Bengal and Delhi have been uncooperative and have not provided the latest data on the number of children who lost their parents due to the coronavirus.
Additional solicitor, K.M. Nataraj, appearing for NCPCR stated the difficulties faced by them as West Bengal and Delhi were not uploading the data on BAL SWARAJ.
The bench was inclined to give the centre time to formulate the modalities for the implementations of the scheme.
Centre also mentioned that Delhi should have a task force at the district level like other states and upload the information as soon as they get it and the task force should attend to the immediate needs of the children.
“Don’t wait for orders of the court and implement all the relevant schemes,” the bench told the counsels of Delhi and West Bengal governments.
Adv. Chirag shroff who represented the Delhi government mentioned that the data is provided solely by the child welfare commission(CWC), while in other states these data are provided by district magistrates from where it is uploaded.
Centre told the West Bengal counsel that the court has, in its order, stated that information regarding children who have been orphaned after March 2020 is needed.
“All states have understood the directive properly but how can only West Bengal not understand the order,” the bench said, adding that the state has to direct the authorities concerned to provide all the data about the children.
The bench will also issue some directions by Tuesday, which has to be followed by the states.
The amicus on this matter, adv Gaurav agarwal, mentioned about the identification process of such children has been satisfactory except for Tamil Nadu where the situation is difficult in terms of COVID.
Advocate Aristotle, appearing for Tamil Nadu, stated that the state has come up with a scheme under which it is paying Rs 5 lakh to children who have lost both the parents and Rs 3 lakh for children who have lost one parent.
The bench asked Aristotle to instruct the officers of the state that each of such children be identified by district officers/child care units and should be reported to Child Welfare Committees within 24 hours as per the Juvenile Justice Act.
The top court has instructed them to continuosly monitor these children.The NCPCR, in its affidavit, said that as per the data given by states so far, 9,346 children have either lost both or one of the parents to the deadly virus.
As many as 1,742 children have lost both of their parents and 7,464 have lost one of the sparents, the child rights body had said.
The top court had taken note of Agrawal that Prime Minister Narendra Modi on May 29 launched the scheme which aims to provide various reliefs to the children orphaned by the pandemic, and he did not have much details about it.
Under ‘PM-CARES for Children’ scheme, various steps would be taken including providing a corpus of Rs 10 lakh when the beneficiary child turns 18 years old.