August 27, 2021 2:51:33 am
A total of 8,161 children were orphaned, 92,475 children lost either parent, and 396 were abandoned between April 1, 2020 and August 23 this year — a period that saw the country battling two waves of Covid-19 — the National Commission for Child Rights (NCPCR) has stated in an affidavit filed in Supreme Court.
The NCPCR clarified that the figures culled out from data uploaded by states and Union Territories on its ‘Bal Swaraj’ portal do not reflect only death due to Covid-19; the death of a parent in the given period may have been due to other reasons too.
Of total 1,01,032 children, who the Commission said are in “need of care and protection”, 52,532 are boys; 48,495 girls; and five are transgender. The majority — 40,249 children — are in the 8-13 age group, followed by 17,849 children in the 4-7 age group.
A state-wise breakup shows Maharashtra has the maximum number of children — 15,401 — in need of care and protection (lost both or either parent); followed by Gujarat (9,033) and Odisha (8,498).
Hearing the matter Thursday, a bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose said states have to protect these children and ensure that their education is not disrupted at least in the current academic session.
It said the states and UTs should talk to the private schools to see if there can be a fee waiver for these children and suggested that the states can bear the fee if the schools are unwilling to waive it.
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