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Q 41- Describe how the covid pandemic has affected children. In this regard, discuss the necessity for governments to reach out to children who have lost parents to Covid as soon as possible, using sensitively crafted programmes. (250 words)
- Paper & Topic: GS II à Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States and the performance of these schemes; mechanisms, laws, institutions and Bodies constituted for the protection and betterment of these vulnerable sections.
- The most obvious victims of this devastating pandemic, which has claimed the lives of almost 2.7 lakh people so far, are those who succumb to Covid-19 and require hospitalisation.
- Other visible signs include the loss of livelihood and widespread hunger.
- However, there are many unseen casualties, primarily children.
- As our social media feeds continue to be bombarded with postings about "covid orphan" and "call to adopt," India needs to pay attention to how children will cope with loss.
- As India fights a blazing second wave, the number of children who have lost their parents to Covid-19 is increasing. While some children have lost both parents and have no one to care for them, others are in a circumstance where a single surviving parent is financially and psychologically incapable of providing for them.
- Effects of the pandemic on children:
- Loss of a parent can have a catastrophic impact on a child's social, emotional, and cognitive development.
- It has a negative impact on their mental health, causing worry, despair, and sleep difficulties, and it frequently worsens a family's financial situation, leading to poor academic performance and school dropouts.
- Children who drop out of school have a higher chance of substance misuse, and adolescents who lose their parents have more sexually risky behaviours.
- Other problematic scenarios have emerged as a result of the pandemic, according to activists. Since last year, the epidemic has had a variety of effects on children in the lowest sections of society. Children in slums, for example, have been sexually abused because they have been left defenceless.
- In another example, the relatives of a minor girl intended to marry her, according to a report by the NGO Protsahan.
- There is a procedure in place to keep children safe.
- When it comes to orphaned children, the JJ Act lays out a procedure that must be followed.
- If you have information on a child in need of care, call one of the four agencies listed below: Childline 1098, the district Child Welfare Committee (CWC), the District Child Protection Officer (DCPO), or the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights' helpline.
- The CWC will then assess the child and transfer him or her in the care of a Specialised Adoption Agency right away.
- As a result, the state looks after all such children in need of care and protection until they reach the age of 18.
- Adoption can be done by Indian prospective adoptive parents, non-resident Indians, or foreigners, in that order, if a child has been proclaimed legally free for adoption by the CWC.
- The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoptions, signed in 1993, has been approved by India.
- The nodal agency for adoption is the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), a statutory entity under the Ministry of Women and Child Development. Through its associated or recognised agencies, it regulates the adoption of orphaned, abandoned, and surrendered children.
- What the Government can do:
- Governments could use its database of Covid-19 dead, which includes addresses and contact information, to reach out to those in need. The Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR), which is part of the Delhi government, has taken this approach.
- Cash transfers could be significant in reducing the hazards that come with losing a parent. It is worthwhile to consider whether they are effective in preventing the youngster from having to work as a labourer to cover the increased costs associated with schooling.
- Article 39 of the Constitution bans the mistreatment of children under the age of eighteen. As a result, orphaned children who have lost both parents to the Covid-19 pandemic, or who have been abandoned or surrendered, must not be neglected and left to face an unknown future. The authorities charged with responsibilities under the JJ Act must look after them.
- Children are a valuable national resource, and how they grow and develop determines the nation's well-being and destiny. The fundamental goal of placing a kid for adoption is to ensure his or her well-being and to restore his or her right to a family.
- The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) is giving Tele-Counselling to children through SAMVEDNA with the goal of providing psychological and emotional support to children affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic (Sensitizing Action on Mental Health Vulnerability through Emotional Development and Necessary Acceptance). This is a positive step forward in the correct direction.
- True, governments do not cause Covid-19, but it has turned into a disaster as a result of our governance, or lack thereof. We will eventually defeat the virus, but when Covid-19 stops being a disaster remains to be known. Those who have lost family members will undoubtedly feel the effects for a longer time.