Even as the Odisha government has launched with all fanfare the 'Ashirbad' scheme for Covid-19 orphans in the State, the NCPCR seems utterly dissatisfied over the coverage of child care schemes in the State.
The large number of missives sent by the apex child rights body in the country to the Odisha government drives home the big story.
Though Odisha figured among the handful of 10-states who have submitted necessary details of the orphaned or single-parent children up to stage-6 (as sought by NCPCR), the State has been found wanting in bringing such children in distress under any Central or State government protection schemes.
For this, the national child rights protection body has sent a whopping 396 letters to Odisha, the third highest to be issued to a state, among 10 states. Making an observation over the benefits of the government schemes made available to the children in distress in the State, the NCPCR has suggested how in certain cases the child is entitled to Ayushman Bharat Yojana (ABY - the scheme provides an insurance cover up to Rs 5 lakh per family, per year for secondary and tertiary hospitalization).
Odisha is not implementing the ABY. The State is implementing its own Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY).
As per highly placed sources in the BSKY cell, the beneficiary list in all districts is still incomplete. "Households having annual income below Rs. 50,000/- in rural areas need to produce an income certificate from the concerned district authorities to get enrolled in the scheme; whereas in ABY, all households who have been identified in SECC's (socio-economic caste census) deprivation index are automatically selected as beneficiaries of the scheme and a card is issued to the family.
NCPCR's Unhappiness Index
The displeasure of NCPCR over rehab plans of children in distress in the State is evident from the affidavit which the child right body filed in the Apex Court. The devil lies in the details.
- Odisha has identified 514 orphans, a massive 4,764 single parents and 2 abandoned children during the period April 2020 - July 23, 2021.
- But the State has prepared a social investigation report (SIR) for only 42 orphaned and 195 single-parent children
- Only 14 orphaned and 102 single-parent children have been produced before the District Child Welfare Committees.
- In only a single case, Odisha has prepared an Individual Childcare Plan.
- Of a total of 6,560 children in orphanhood (as per Unicef, orphanhood means a child who has lost at least a single parent or a caregiver), govt scheme benefits have been extended to only 51 children.