India to provide free education, healthcare for children orphaned by COVID-19

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India’s government announced measures to support children who have lost both their parents to the coronavirus pandemic that includes providing them with free education and health insurance.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration will use the PM Cares fund to create a corpus of 1 million rupees ($13,805) per child when they turn 18, the government said in a statement on Saturday.

The children will be enrolled in the government’s health insurance program and premium will be paid via the PM Cares fund till they are 18.

The fund will also pay for school needs such as fees, uniforms and books. Once they turn 18, they will receive a monthly stipend, and at age 23, the corpus will be given in a single payout.

The move comes after the world’s worst outbreak shattered families and orphaned children. In India, 27 percent of the population of 1.3 billion is under 14, and the country had an estimated 350,000 orphans in institutional care going into the pandemic.

The government, in a separate release on Saturday, announced further measures to help families that lost an earning member to Covid. The steps include providing a family pension and insurance to the dependents.

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