PM Cares For Children Scheme- Guidelines
1. Name of the Scheme: PM CARES for Children
Hon’ble Prime Minister of India on 29.05.2021 has announced comprehensive support for children who have lost both their parents due to COVID 19 pandemic.
To ensure comprehensive care and protection of children who have lost their parent(s) to COVID pandemic, in a sustained manner, enable their wellbeing through health insurance, empower them through education and equip them for self-sufficient existence with financial support on reaching 23 years of age. The PM CARES for children scheme inter alia provides support to these children through convergent approach, gap funding for ensuring education, health, monthly stipend from the age of 18 years, and lump sum amount of Rs. 10 lakh on attaining 23 years of age.
The eligible children shall be enrolled from 29.05.2021 (date of announcement of Hon’ble PM) to 31.12.2021 to avail benefits of PM CARES for Children Scheme. The Scheme is expected to continue till the year when every identified beneficiary1 shall turn 23 years of age.
All children who have lost
- Both parents or
- Surviving parent or
- legal guardian/adoptive parents/single adoptive parent
due to COVID 19 pandemic, starting from 11.03.2020 the date on which WHO has declared and characterized COVID-19 as pandemic till 31.12.2021, shall be entitled to benefits under this scheme.
- Child should not have completed 18 years of age on the date of death of parents
i. Support for Boarding and Lodging:
- Efforts will be made by the District Magistrate with the assistance of Child Welfare Committee (CWC) to explore the possibility of rehabilitating the child within her/his extended family, relatives, kith, or kin.
- If the extended family, relatives, kith or kin of the child are not available/not willing/not found fit by CWC or the child (aged 4 -10 years or above) is not willing to live with them, the child should be placed in foster care, after due diligence as prescribed under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and rules made thereof as amended from time to time.
- If the Foster family is not available/not willing /not found fit by CWC, or the child (aged 4 -10 years or above) is not willing to live with them, the child should be placed in age appropriate and gender appropriate Child Care Institution (CCI).
- Children more than 10 years old, not received by extended families or relatives or foster families or not willing to live with them or living in child care institutions after the demise of parents, may be enrolled in Netaji Subhash Chand Bose Awasiya Vidyalaya, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya, Eklavya Model Schools, Sainik School, Navodaya Vidyalaya, or any other residential school by the District Magistrate, subject to the respective scheme guidelines.
- It may be ensured that the siblings stay together, as far as possible.
- For non-institutional care, financial support at the prevailing rates prescribed under the Child Protection Services (CPS) Scheme shall be provided to Children (in account with guardian). For child in institutional care, a maintenance grant at the prevailing rates prescribed under the Child Protection Services (CPS) Scheme shall be given to Child Care Institutions. Any provision for subsistence support under the State scheme may also be provided additionally to the children.
ii. Assistance for Pre-school and School Education
a. For children below 6 years of age
Identified beneficiaries will receive support and assistance from the Anganwadi services for supplementary nutrition, pre-school education/ ECCE, immunization, health referrals, and health check-up.
b. For children below 10 years of age
- Admission shall be provided in any nearest school as a day scholar i.e. Government/ Government aided School/ Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs)/ Private Schools.
- In Government Schools, two sets of free uniform and textbooks shall be provided, under Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan, as per the scheme guidelines.
- In private schools, tuition fees shall be exempted under section 12(1)(c) of RTE Act.
- Under circumstances where child is unable to receive above benefits, the fees, as per the RTE norms, will be given from the PM CARES for Children scheme. The Scheme will also pay for expenditure on uniform, textbooks, and notebooks. A matrix of such entitlements is detailed out in Annexure-1.
c. For children between 11-18 years of age
- If the child is living with the extended family, then admission in the nearest Government/ Government aided School/ Kendriya Vidyalayas (KVs)/ Private Schools as a day scholar may be ensured by the DM.
- The child may be enrolled in Netaji Subhash Chand Bose Awasiya Vidyalaya/ Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya/ Eklavya Model Schools/Sainik School/ Navodaya Vidyalaya/ or any other residential school, by the DM, subject to the respective scheme guidelines.
- The DM may make alternative arrangements for accommodation of such children during vacations at CCIs or any appropriate place.
- Under circumstances where child is unable to receive above benefits, the fees, as per the RTE norms, will be given from the PM CARES for Children scheme. The scheme will also pay for expenditure on uniform, textbooks, and notebooks. A matrix of such entitlements is detailed out in Annexure-1.
d. Assistance for Higher Education:
- The child will be assisted in obtaining education loan for Professional courses /Higher Education in India
- Under circumstances where beneficiary is unable to avail interest exemption from extant Central and State Government scheme, then the interest on the educational loan will be paid from PM CARES for Children Scheme.
- As an alternative, scholarship as per the norms will be provided to the beneficiaries of the PM CARES for Children Scheme from the schemes of Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Ministry of Minority Affairs, and Department of Higher Education. Beneficiaries will be assisted through National Scholarship portal for availing such entitlements. The scholarship awarded to the beneficiaries will be updated on the PM CARES for Children portal.
iii. Health Insurance:
- All children will be enrolled as a beneficiary under Ayushman Bharat Scheme (PM-JAY) with a health insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakhs.
- It shall be ensured that the child identified under PM CARES for Children scheme receives benefits under PM JAY
- The benefits available to children under the scheme are at Annexure- 2.
iv. Financial Support:
- The lump sum amount will be transferred directly in the post office account of beneficiaries upon opening and validation of the account of the beneficiaries. A pro-rata amount will be credited upfront in the account of each identified beneficiary such that the corpus for each beneficiary becomes Rs. 10 lakhs at the time of attaining 18 years of age2.
- Children will receive monthly stipend once they attain 18 years of age, by investing the corpus of Rs 10 lakhs. The beneficiary will receive stipend till they attain 23 years of age.
- They will receive an amount of Rs. 10 lakh on attaining 23 years of age.
7. Nodal Agencies – National, State, and District:
Ministry of Women and Child Development shall be the nodal Ministry for execution of the scheme at the central level. Department of Women and Child Development or Department of Social Justice in the State/UT Government, dealing with the Child Protection Services scheme in the State/UT shall be the nodal agency at State level. The District Magistrates (DM) shall be the nodal authority at District level for execution of the scheme.
i. Role of the Ministry of Women and Child Development:
- The Ministry shall implement the scheme in coordination with the State and District nodal agencies.
- The Ministry shall provide oversight and guidance to the State and district authorities.
- The Ministry shall host and maintain the portal containing the details of beneficiaries, with the assistance of National Informatics Centre (NIC).
- The Ministry shall coordinate with the PM CARES Fund for release of funds to account of the District Magistrates.
- The Ministry shall coordinate with the DMs for transferring corpus amount to the post office account of beneficiaries and for other expenses related to education, health, and other activities.
- The Ministry shall leverage PM CARES for Children portal to coordinate with stakeholder ministries such as Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Ministry of Social Justice and Employment, Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Ministry of Minority Affairs or any other ministry, department or organisation for facilitating the scheme.
- The Ministry shall submit reports to PM CARES Fund regarding the beneficiaries, as and when required.
- The Ministry shall be assisted by a Program Management Unit (PMU), for managing the portal, for overall coordination, including, coordinating with the States/Districts authorities, release of funds, chartering growth of children, generating required reports and monitoring the process. Joint Secretary (Child Welfare) in the Ministry shall supervise the PMU.
ii. Role of State/UT Governments:
- The department of Women and Child development or the department of Social Justice in the State/UT implementing the Child Protection Services scheme shall be the nodal department for the scheme. Additional Chief Secretary/ Principal Secretary/ Secretary of the department shall be the State Nodal Officer for implementation of PM CARES for Children Scheme.
- The said department shall supervise the actions taken by all the districts for care and protection of the children receiving support under this Scheme on a long-term basis, till they attain 23 years of age.
- The department shall coordinate with health, education, and other State departments in order to help district magistrates in facilitating services and benefits for children.
- The departments shall monitor the progress made in case of every child and facilitate inter-state transfer for the purpose of higher studies, sports, professional training, or any other purpose in the best interest of child.
iii. Role of District Magistrate
- The District Magistrate shall anchor the scheme in the District
- The DM (by designation) shall act as the guardian3 of these children, under this scheme, for all practical purposes.
- Identification, registration, and verification – The DM shall identify the beneficiaries with the assistance of Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and District Child Protection Unit (DCPU). After satisfying themselves regarding the authenticity of the beneficiary, she/he will verify and confirm the details of the child on the PM CARES for Children portal.
- For the purpose of this scheme, DM may include an ADM, who has been duly authorized by the DM.
- Account identification – For receiving of funds from MoWCD, DM will either identify an existing account or open a new account and map the account details on the PM CARES for Children portal.
- Opening of account – DM shall be responsible for opening of account of the beneficiaries with assistance of concerned district authorities.
- Transfer of funds to the PM CARES beneficiaries account – Upon opening of the account and its validation, DM shall transfer the eligible corpus amount to the beneficiaries account. (Para no. 8(iv)&(v) refer)
- DM shall also raise request for funds, through the portal, to the concerned Ministries/Departments for educational, health, and other activities for children. These funds shall be utilized for expenditure on activities not covered under the existing schemes.
i) Annual activities –
- Update the Child’s profile on the portal
- DM may interact personally with the children at least once in a year
- Review their education and health parameters
- Organize supplementary education and career counselling facility to the beneficiary
j) Additional key activities –
- Provide immediate assistance in terms of boarding and lodging, if required
- Satisfy herself/himself before placing the child with non-institutional care or within CCI, that the action is being taken in the best interest of child
- May ensure that the siblings stay together, as far as possible.
- Change the residence of the child if it is found that the child is under duress in the present circumstances
- Provide benefits to the child under existing schemes of the Government, as per the eligibility