Now, politics over orphaned children in Rajasthan

Politics, these days, seem to be centred around the orphaned kids in Rajasthan with Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot criticising the package announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for children orphaned due to Covid and praising the package announced by Rajasthan government.

Meanwhile, Rajya Sabha BJP MP Kirorilal Meena on Saturday surprised all by staging a ‘dharna’ near the Chief Minister’s residence on Saturday with 30 orphaned kids and their families demanding a well-defined economic package for them.

His dharna came a day after Gehlot said the Centre’s welfare measures for children who lost their parents to Covid-19 were ‘defective’ and demanded their revision as they did not provide immediate relief.

Gehlot also claimed the Centre did not announce any scheme to help women whose husbands succumbed to Covid.

“The Centre’s package did not provide immediate relief, which was of utmost importance, to the children who lost their parents to Covid-19. The package of the government of India is defective and there is confusion about it. The government will provide financial help after a child reaches the age of 18. Who knows who will be where after 18 years? Package means instant help,” said the Rajasthan Chief Minister, adding that he would speak to the Prime Minister about the scheme.

A day after his criticism, Rajya Sabha MP Meena demanded that orphaned children in Rajasthan should be given aid of Rs 1 lakh each, free college education and Rs 7,000 a month till they turn adults. Their requirements related to food and rations should be arranged by the state government, he said. If the orphaned children were in school, they should be provided Rs 25,000 annually in one go, he demanded.

Meena’s protest at the Chief Minister’s residence caught the security apparatus by surprise as neither intelligence officers nor or security officers had information about it.

The Rajasthan government had announced immediate relief of Rs 1 lakh to children whose parents had died of Covid and women, who had been widowed during the pandemic, apart from monthly financial assistance. Additionally, these children would get Rs 2,500 per month till the age of 18 and Rs 5 lakh once they attained the age of 18 years while widows would get a monthly social security pension of Rs 1,500.

Meena demanded a similar package for other orphaned kids in the state. State Transport Minister Pratap Singh Khariyawas reached the Chief Minister’s residence and spoke to Meena. He ensured that quick action will be taken on his demands. Meena eventually ended the protest.

Sangeeta Beniwal, chairperson, Rajasthan State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said, “There should be no politics over children who have been orphaned. There are many other ways to reach out to the Chief Minister and convey the message but getting these children to stand on roads with placards in hand is not right. We will write a letter to Meena. We will ask him for the whereabouts of such children who need help and connect them with our schemes.”