At least 577 children across the country lost both parents to Covid-19 from April 1 to May 25, India's Union minister for women and child development Smriti Irani said on Tuesday, as appeals for adoption of vulnerable children went viral on social media, prompting the government to warn people against illegal adoptions.
"GOI is committed to support and protect every vulnerable child due to loss of both parents to Covid-19. From 1st April 2021 till 2:00 PM today (Tuesday), the State Governments & UTs across the country have reported 577 children whose parents succumbed to Covid-19," Irani tweeted.
According to a WCD ministry official, the orphaned children were being rehabilitated with their extended families or in childcare institutions. "The ministry has been urging everyone to report such children on the childcare helpline (1098) so that action can be taken," the official said, adding, "the government has galvanized all resources available to it to help track the vulnerable children in order to ensure necessary assistance at every level."
The official pointed out that people were circulating unconfirmed data on children orphaned, leading to confusion.
On May 21, HT reported that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was working on a centralised digital database to monitor and help children who lost both their parents to Covid-19.
The issue has become a point of concern after posts on social media suggested that children orphaned due to Covid-19 amid the raging second wave were up for adoption. It prompted the WCD ministry to write to the Union health ministry to seek directions on children who lost both parents due to the virus.