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Free Health Insurance for Children up to 18 Years under Ayushman Bharat
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Free Health Insurance for Children up to 18 Years under Ayushman Bharat

The COVID-19 has spread like rapid-fire and has created a wreck in every sphere of life. This deadly pandemic has made many people jobless and claimed a plethora of lives, including youths and children. Many children have lost their parents (who were the breadwinners) due to this pandemic. It has become difficult for these children to sustain themselves in this steep competitive era. They can’t fulfill their necessities, including food, education, and health.

The central government stepped forward in this scenario and has decided to offer Rs. 5 lakh health insurance to every child up to the age of 18 years who lost both of his/her parents due to this lethal coronavirus disease (COVIF-19) pandemic. Union Minister Anurag Thakur announced this on August 4, 2021.

The prime minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM-CARES) will pay the premium of this financial assistance. Mr. Thakur posted all details of the Rs. 5 lakh insurance scheme on his Twitter account, along with a link to a government website. This is a pivotal step taken by the central government to make the country self-reliant.

According to Mr. Thakur, this step will offer children financial assistance and take care of their basic needs and requirements. This scheme is specially designed for children who were adversely affected by the COVID-19. Children up to 18 years will be provided free health insurance of Rs. 5 lakh bima yojana under the Ayushman Bharat scheme. Mr. Thakur also said that the premium for Ayushman Bharat would be paid by PM CARES.

Ayushman Bharat, the government’s flagship scheme, was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in April 2018. This scheme comes with twin pillars of Health & Wellness Centers (HWCs) and Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) with bidirectional linkages between the two for providing the full range of services across the continuum of care.

PM Modi introduced the PM-CARES for children scheme on May 29, 2021. The prime aim of this scheme is to support children who have lost both their parents or legal guardian or adoptive parents or surviving parents to this deadly COVID-19 pandemic during the period starting from March 11, 2020.

The core objective of this scheme is to ensure holistic care and protection of children in an unremitting way. This scheme focuses on their well-being by offering health insurance. This scheme will also encourage them to become self-dependent through education and equip them for self-sufficient existence with financial assistance on reaching 23 years of age.

The scheme will offer them a monthly stipend from the age of 18 years and Rs. 10 lakh on attaining 23 years of age. The scheme will remain valid till the year when every identified beneficiary will turn 23 years of age.

Free Health Insurance for Children Eligibility Criteria 

  • This scheme will cover all children who have lost both parents and surviving parent or legal guardian/adoptive parents/single adoptive parent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, starting from March 11, 2020, the date on which WHO has declared it a pandemic.
  • The child should be below 18 years on the date of death of parents

The entitlements under the scheme include

Support for Boarding and Lodging

  • The district magistrate, along with the support of the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) will try every possible option to rehabilitate the child within her/his extended family members
  • If the extended family members don’t want to take responsibility for the child/ or are not found by CWC or the child (aged 4 -10 years or above) is not willing to stay with them, then the child will be kept at foster care.
  • If the foster family is also not available or are not willing to take the responsibility or the child (aged 4 -10 years or above) doesn’t want to stay with them, the child 1beneficiary/ beneficiaries means eligible child beneficiaries under the PM CARES for Children scheme. 
  • If children above 10 years old are not welcomed by extended families or foster families or are not willing to live with them or living in child care institutions, then they can 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.
  • A fixed prescribed rate under the Child Protection Services (CPS) Scheme will be provided to children (in account with guardians). For a child in institutional care, a maintenance cost will be provided to Child Care Institutions.

Support for Pre-school and School Education

The beneficiaries of children (below 6 years) will receive aid and assistance from the Anganwadi services for nutrition, pre-school education/ ECCE, immunization, health referrals, and health check-up.

For children below 10 years of age

  • The child will be admitted to the nearest government or government-aided school or private schools
  • In government schools, the child will be provided with two sets of free uniforms and textbooks under the Samagra Shiksha Abhiyan scheme.
  • The private school can’t take any tuition fee from the child under section 12(1)(c) of the RTE Act.
  • If the child doesn’t get the above benefits, the PM CARES for Children scheme will provide the fees. This scheme will also reimburse the costs of uniforms, textbooks, and notebooks.

This COVID-19 has affected the lives of many children because many of them lost their parents. So, the central government supports those children by offering them education and health insurance free of cost.

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