The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to provide the details of the scheme 'PM CARES for children' which was announced by Prime Minister on 29th May for the benefit of children orphaned due to COVID.
The Court noted that Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati has undertaken to file details of the said scheme, including identification of beneficiaries and mechanism to be adopted for monitoring it.
"ASG Aishwarya Bhati undertakes to file details of the scheme including identification of beneficiaries of said scheme. The UOI shall also furnish information relating to mechanism that would be adopted for monitoring of scheme. " the Bench noted.
The direction was issued after submissions were made by the Amicus regarding the issuance of scheme and not sufficient details available regarding it.
The Bench observed that as particulars of the scheme are not available, the Amicus submitted that Union of India be directed to submit necessary details of scheme announced by PM.
"The Amicus in his note referred to, scheme 'PM CARES for children' which was announced by Prime Minister on 29th May. According to available information regarding the scheme, children who've lost both parents, or surviving parents/legal parents or adoptive parent, during COVID19 shall be beneficiaries of scheme of central government." the Bench observed.
When a division Bench of Justice Nageswara Rao and Justice Aniruddha Bose began hearing the case today, the Amicus informed the Court that the government has come up with a scheme from PM Cares fund. Amicus Gaurav Agarwal stated that the scheme has been floated, but actual scheme is not available except the press notes.
"According to press release, the scheme continues education of such children. It provides whatever are the educational requirements, including books, uniforms etc will be available. Further, financial help for higher education has been provided for. And the amount which is invested, of 10 lakhs will be made available to the child at age of 23years." Amicus submitted.
"We don't know how many children are beneficiaries of this scheme and how exactly the Government of India wants to implement this scheme is not something which is clear today, subject to what the ASG may say" Amicus added.
ASG Bhati appearing for the government agreed with the Amicus and submitted that the modalities of the PM Cares scheme is not clear, and needs to be worked out
"That's what we are suggesting, we can take it up on Monday. You can file an affidavit or a note, as to the implementation of the announcement of package made under PM CARES fund." the Bench said.
The Bench was hearing its suo moto case regarding contagion of Covid in Children Protection Homes. Supreme Court had on May 28th, directed all the district authorities to upload the information of children who have become orphans after March 2020 on portal of NCPCR 'Bal Swaraj' and also directed to take steps to attend to basic needs of children who become orphans due to COVID.
The Bench had also asked Centre and States to get the latest information on identification of children orphaned, due to the pandemic or otherwise and steps taken for purpose of attending to their basic needs. The directions were issued while hearing an application filed by the Amicus Curiae Mr Gaurav Agrawal seeking directions in respect of children who are adversely affected due to Covid pandemic by losing either one or both the parents, and the increased incidents of child trafficking specially of the girl child.