PM Modi Announces Aid, Free Education for Covid Orphans; pension for the next of kin of employees

Fighting the pandemic as she ends seven years in power, the Modi government said on Saturday that all children who have lost both parents, surviving parent, legal guardians or adoptive parents from Covid-19 will receive financial assistance as part of the PM-CARES program for children.

In another key decision, the government extended pension coverage under the Public Employees’ Insurance Corporation (ESIC) scheme to all registered dependents of those who have died due to Covid-19.

He also reiterated the announcement of the extension of insurance benefits within the framework of the employee deposit insurance scheme (EDLI) for members registered with the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPFO).

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in a message on Twitter, said: “The family pension under the ESIC and the EPFO ​​employee deposit insurance scheme will provide a financial cushion for families who have lost. their salaried member because of Covid-19. GOI stands in solidarity with these families. “

He said efforts are being made through these programs to alleviate any financial hardship they may face.

Previously, the Prime Minister, chairing a meeting to “discuss and deliberate” on measures that could be taken to support children who have lost their parents due to the pandemic, announced financial assistance for these children in the form of fixed deposits , free education and health insurance.

It comes days after the Department for Women and Child Development said 577 children across the country were orphaned during the second wave of the pandemic.

A statement from the Prime Minister’s Office said that in announcing the measures, “the Prime Minister stressed that children are the future of the country and that the country will do everything possible to support and protect children. possible only through generous contributions to the PM-CARES Fund.


Pressure to extend coverage

The Centre’s safety net for some of the countries affected by Covid, as states announce their own relief, may see growing demand to extend it beyond those covered by EPFO ​​or ESIC. States will be faced with the challenge of counting and how to account for those who have had “funerals under the Covid protocol”.

PM-CARES will contribute through a specially designed program to create a corpus of Rs 10 lakh for each child when they reach the age of 18. This corpus will be used to provide financial assistance or a monthly allowance, through a fixed deposit in the name of the child, from the age of 18 for the next five years to take care of his personal needs during the period of l ‘Higher Education. . At the age of 23, he will receive the amount of the corpus in a single payment for his personal and professional use.

For children under the age of 10, the child will be admitted to the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya or a private school as a day researcher. If the child is admitted to a private school, the tuition fees according to RTE standards will be invoiced from PM CARES. PM-CARES will also cover expenses related to uniforms, textbooks and notebooks.

For children between 11 and 18 years old, the child will be admitted to any central government boarding school such as Sainik School, Navodaya Vidyalaya, etc. In the event that the child continues to live with his or her grandparents, extended family or guardian, he or she will have him or her admitted to the nearest Kendriya Vidyalaya or private school as a day seeker. If the child is admitted to a private school, the costs according to RTE standards will be deducted from the PM-CARES and the costs of uniform, textbooks and notebooks will also be covered.

The child will be assisted in obtaining student loans for vocational courses and higher education in India “in accordance with existing standards of education loan” and the interest on this loan will be paid by PM-CARES.

As an alternative, a scholarship equivalent to the tuition or course fees for undergraduate or vocational courses, according to government standards, will be provided to these children through programs of the central government or the ‘State. For children who are not eligible for existing scholarship programs, PM-CARES will provide an equivalent scholarship.

The Prime Minister also announced that all Covid-19 orphans will be registered as beneficiaries under the Ayushman Bharat (PM-JAY) scheme with health insurance coverage of Rs 5 lakhs. The amount of the premium for these children, up to the age of 18, will be paid by PM-CARES.

The CMB ministry had also announced that it had allocated a sum of Rs 10 lakh per district for the non-institutional care of Covid orphans, which is to be distributed by the respective district magistrates as they see fit, in as part of the ministry’s integrated child protection program. .

Saturday’s other announcement concerned the extension of pension coverage under the ESIC scheme to all registered dependents of those who have died due to Covid-19, and insurance benefits under the EDLI scheme for members registered under EPFO.

Benefits under the ESIC pension scheme for employment-related death cases are extended even to those who have died due to Covid, according to the PMO statement.

All dependent family members of such persons will be entitled to a pension equivalent to 90 per cent of the average daily wage received by the worker in accordance with the rules in force. This benefit will be available retrospectively from March 24 of last year until March 24, 2022.

Detailed guidelines on the program are being developed by the labor ministry and will be released by Monday, a senior labor ministry official said.

The conditions of eligibility for ESIC benefits are likely to include the standard that the insured person must have been registered on the ESIC online portal at least three months before the diagnosis of Covid resulting in death, the official said. In addition, the insured person must have been employed for wages and contributions for at least 78 days should have been paid or payable for the deceased insured person for a period of one year immediately prior to the diagnosis of Covid resulting in death, a declared the responsible.

The maximum insurance benefit amount under EPFO-EDLI, as announced earlier this month, has been increased to Rs 7 lakh from Rs 6 lakh. The minimum insurance benefit of Rs 2.5 lakh has been reinstated and it will apply retrospectively from February 15 of last year for the next three years, according to the PMO statement.

The government has changed an important eligibility requirement for workers, with benefits being made available to families, even employees who may have changed jobs in the past 12 months before his death.

All surviving family members dependent on EPFO ​​can benefit from EDLI benefits in the event of the member’s death.

“About 6.53 crore families should be eligible. The number of death claims under the scheme has been estimated at around 50,000 families per year, including an increase in claims taking into account the estimated death of around 10,000 workers, which could occur due to Covid, ”said the manager.

The ESI law applies to all factories and notified establishments located in implemented areas employing 10 or more people and applies to employees who receive salaries up to Rs 21,000 per month (Rs 25,000 for persons disabled). It covers about 3.49 crore of worker family units and provides cash benefits and medical facilities to 13.56 crore beneficiaries.

EPFO covers organizations employing 20 or more employees and any employee with an EPF account automatically becomes eligible for the EDLI scheme. The EDLI scheme is administered on the basis of a contribution of 0.5 percent of the monthly salary paid by the employer to the fund and there is no employee contribution. The candidate registered by the employee is eligible for the benefit under the plan.

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