Odisha Government Withdraws Scheme For Covid Orphans As Infections Decline

After four months of launching the scheme to financially support Covid orphans, the Odisha government has decided to discontinue the same from September 15. The State has cited a drop in Covid infections as the reasoning behind this decision.

Arvind Agrawal, Director of Integrated Child Development Scheme, in a letter to all the district collectors has mentioned that any child whose parent(s)/primary bread earner or guardian has passed away due to Covid-19 after September 15 would only be covered under the existing Child Protection Scheme of the government and not under ‘Ashirbad’.

“It is observed that Covid-19 disease has a declining trend in the state for quite some time,” the letter said.

As of Monday, the State reported six new deaths, taking the total death toll to 8,104. The Test positivity Rate (TPR) over the last few weeks has gone below one and the number of recoveries has gone up to over a million. Meanwhile, the recovery percentage of Odisha has risen to 98.5, higher than the national average of 97.45.

Notably, the Ashirbad scheme covered children who lost their parents or the primary earning person of the family on April 1, 2020, or thereafter, to Covid-19. An amount of Rs 2500 per month was to be deposited in the bank accounts of family members taking care of the orphans.

As per reports, about 1773 children lost their parents due to Covid-19 in Odisha since 1 April, out of which 163 kids lost both parents.

The discontinuation of the scheme comes as a surprise to many, especially at a juncture where a third wave of Covid-19 has not been ruled out.

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