Want to know what are Bal Seva Scheme and Bal Swaraj Scheme? Swaraj is a central government Scheme while Bal Seva is a Karnataka government initiative to help children orphaned by COVID-19. Read on to know more.
COVID-19 wave in India has left children in over 30,000 families without one or both parents. Many of these children are minors and at high risk for trauma, abuse and trafficking. The central and state governments have announced financial aid and support programs for these children. In addition, the NCPCR has launched an online tracking portal, Bal Swaraj to monitor the well-being of these children.
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Demographics Of Children Affected By COVID-19
According to the latest statistics uploaded on the Bal Swaraj website, 3,621 children have lost both parents while 26,176 children have lost one parent. 274 others have been abandoned.
Most of these children are at home with the remaining parent or a guardian with only a small percentage living in observation homes, shelters and orphanages.
In terms of genders, the division is almost equal.
|Gender||Number Of Children Affected|
In terms of ages, a majority of the children are below the age of 13 years.
|Age group||Number of children affected|
About The Bal Swaraj Portal
The Bal Swaraj portal has been designed to keep track of children who have lost one or both parents due to COVID-19 and ensure that they get the care and protection required. This is important especially in light of social media posts that have been amplifying the need to adopt children but not necessarily providing a legal route to do so.
Concerned departments and officers have been provided with the ‘COVID-care’ link to upload data for these children. The portal can then be used to track financial incentives provided to these children or to help them find homes.
Financial Initiatives By Governments To Assist Children
The central government has announced that children who lost their parents because of COVID-19 will receive a monthly stipend until they reach the age of 18 years and a fund of Rs 10 lakhs once they turn 23 years old.
This money will be drawn from the PM-CARES fund. Minor children living with extended family or guardians will be admitted to the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya or private school and their fees will be paid from the PM-CARES fund. This fund will also take care of expenses such as textbooks, uniforms, etc.
Children who have no one to look after them will be admitted to residential schools like the Navodaya Vidyalaya or Sainik schools.
Children wanting to pursue professional courses for higher education will be assisted in applying for loans as per the current Educational Loan norms. The interest on these loans will be paid by the PM-CARES fund.
Alternatively, scholarships equivalent to these tuition fees will be offered to the children by Central or State Government schemes.
All children will also be enrolled in the Ayushman Bharat Scheme (PM-JAY) and covered by Rs 5 lakh insurance. Until the child reaches the age of 18 years, the premium for these insurance programs will be paid via the PM-CARES fund.
Bal Seva Scheme By Karnataka Government
In addition, state governments have launched their own initiatives. The Karnataka State government launched the Bal Seva scheme under which children will be given Rs 3,500 per month and those below the age of 10 years will get free education in a residential school.
A girl child who has been orphaned or abandoned due to COVID-19 will get Rs 1 lakh as financial assistance.
Who Is Eligible
- A native of Karnataka who is orphaned by COVID-19
- Applicant’s parents who are not government employees
Documents Required To Avail Bal Seva Scheme’s Benefits
The following documents are required to avail the Bal Seva Scheme’s Benefits
- Aadhar Card
- Proof of residence
- Parents’ death certificate
- Education-related documents
- Age certificate
- Relative contact number
Legally Adopting Children Abandoned Or Orphaned Due To COVID-19
In India, when a child is abandoned or orphaned without anyone in the family who can look after them, the government steps in. Shelter homes are considered the last resort and children are adopted by strangers only if no one in the extended family can care for them.
All adoptions are regulated by the Central Adoption Resource Agency. Only parents registered in this agency can adopt children. Adoption is considered legal only if the procedures follow the guidelines laid down by the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.
Each state has an independent State Adoption Resource Agency with District Level Child Protection Units. When an abandoned child is found the child is placed under the care of district child welfare committees and further into a home or adoption center.
The units check whether the child has been reported as missing and try to reunite the child with his/her family. If a guardian claims the child, a DNA test to conducted to confirm the claim. The child is considered legally free for adoption only if the child has not been claimed by anyone for more than 2 months in the case of children below the age of 2 years and 4 months in the case of children above the age of 2 years.
Direct adoption is illegal and punishable by law. Hence, child welfare committees are waring bereaved people and concerned citizens from responding to social media posts about direct adoptions.
Who Can You Reach Out To?
If you come across an abandoned child you reach out to the CHILDLINE India Foundation by calling the 1098 helpline.
The Karnataka state government has appointed a nodal officer, KP Mohan Raj to look after the children’s immediate and long-term needs. An IAS officer, Uma Mahadevan, the Principal Secretary of the state Panchayat Raj department has also been appointed to coordinate between the government’s efforts and NGOs in the private sector.
Bal Swaraj – Adoption And Care Centers
Here is the list of institutes that are approved by the state and central governments to adopt and care for children. Besides this, at every district level, children’s homes for boys and girls are functional.
|SoS Children's Village||49, Hulimavu, Bannerghatta post|
|Shishu Mandir||Kithiganur villagen K.R Puram, Post Bangalore -560036||9342673812|
|Vishranthi Trust||11 km Hosakote Malur Road, Jadagenahalli Post Bangalore-562114||9900584471|
|St. Michaels home convent||Good Shepherd Sisters, 80 Feet Road,Indira Nagar Post, Bangalore -560038||7899648136|
|M/s Canara Bank Relief And Welfare Society||Sevakshetra Hospital complex, 27th Cross Banashankari, 2nd Stage Bangalore - 560070||080 26713421|
|Amulya (g) Sishu Mandira||Govt.Shishu Mandira Amulya G, Correctional Institution complex, Near kidwai hospital, Bangalore||9845398938|
|Anatha Shishu Nivas||No.1/A 5th Main Road, Opp. BMS Engineering College, Bull temple road, Bangalore -560019||8762764643|
|Shishukendra Kamadhenu Sahakari Vidyashram||Sy.No.145, Gavanahalli, By-Pass Road Hassan-573201||9448220780|
|Thavaru Public Charitable (T)||Aralikatte Road Mission Hospital, 1st Cross Northern Extention, Hassan- 573201||9448069582|
|Society Of Sisters Of Charity||Holy Angels convent preethi Nilaya, Solur Magadi Taluk Ramangara District||9945724258|
|Amulya (g) Sishu Gruha||C/o Govt.children Home For Girls, Ghantikeri Christian Colony 3rd crs, Bendigere Police Station Hubli Dharwad District 580020||9480410052|
|Janapada Seva Trust||Melukote Pandavapura Taluk, Mandya -571431||9900537434|
|Amulya Adoption Agency||Behind Yeshoda hospital, Kustagi road koppal 583231||7619161291|
|Jeevan Jyothi Trust||Shishu Gruha Sri Mahadeshwara, College Road Kollegal,Chamaraja Nagar||9945216322|
|Sri Jagadguru Murugharajendra Brahanmata||Murugha matha Mathada Kurubara Hatti, Chitradurga 577502||7353997869|
|Spandana Association||Vidhya nagar 1st cross more opposite, Chamundeshwari Colony, Haveri 581110||9448338027|
|Vikasana Rural And Urban Development Society||No. 1488 2nd floor 2nd main Ashoknagar, Balabhavana Road, Mandya-571401||9844155313|
|Shree Siddeshwar Vidhya||Shree Siddeshwar V. Adoption Agency, Narayana Hyundai show Room||8867139325|
|Peettha (r) Talikoti||Back side, B.Bagewadi road Vijayapur 586109|
|Swami Vivekananda Seva Pratistana||Nyaya Marg Subhash Nagar, Near S.P. Office, Belagavi-590016||6360719554|
|Amulya (g) Sishu Gruha||C/o State Home for Women, Aland Road Kalburgi 585102||9008783713|
|Amulya(g)shishu Gruha Ballari||Government boys home compound, beside contonment post office, Cantonment Bellary 583104||9916221528|
|Social Education Activity Rural Child Development Society||Sector No 50 Plot No D/6 Near Shri Veeranjanayya Temple, Navanagar Bagalkot 587102||9448801473|
|Sarvodaya Organisation for Social Works||Kadrimidri Malalur post Ambale Hobli, Chickmagalor 577133||9449651594|
|Sahaya Trust||No.441 Marathikoppa, Sirsi Uttara Kannada 581402||9845669397|
|Sri Ramakrishna Seva Samaja||Puttur, Dakshina Kannada, 574201||9482553016|
|Hirematha Samstahana Vidyapeetha Trust||Bhalki, Bidar district-585328||9980003637|
|St Gregorios Dayabhavan||St Gregorios Dayabhavan, Bhaktharahalli post Kunigal Taluk,572120||9964939638|
|Amulya Vishesha Dattu Samsthe||Sri Rama Nagara Industrial Area Davangere 577005||7829215214|
|Sri Krishna Charitable trust||Vasundharanagar, Ashirvad road, Santhekatte, Udupi-76105||9880442640|
|K V Trust||K V Trust Kandawara pete, chikkaballapura district 562101||9742328129|
|Seva Bharati Trust||Behind Khadi Board, Near Saint Marys School, Health camp, Betageri, Gadag 582102||9866549329|
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