Over 10,000 children are left orphaned and around 1.36 lakh children have lost one parent during the pandemic, according to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). The commission presented the data in front of the Supreme Court. The report also said that a total of 488 children have been abandoned since the pandemic hit.
NCPCR Report’s Findings :
The apex child rights body collected the data between the duration of April 1, 2020, to January 11, 2022. According to the report, 10,094 children are left alone without any parent. Whereas 1,36,910 children have lost one parent due to COVID-19 during this pandemic. It further showed that 488 children between the age group of 0 – 13 years have been left abandoned during this period.
The state which leads in the numbers is Odisha with 24,405 children, followed by Maharashtra with 19,623 children. The next states in the list are Gujarat with 14,770 children and Tamil Nadu with 11,014 of them.
The data is collected from the Baal Swaraj Covid-Care portal and it comprises of both categories which include orphan children and children losing one parent to COVID-19 and other diseases in different states and union territories.
The data further shows the most affected age group is between 8 and 13 years with 59,010 children.
The Bal Swaraj Covid-Care was launched by the NCPCR under section 109 of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015 in May 2021. The portal’s aim is to develop an online tracking-monitoring medium for children in need of care and protection and to ensure that the government has laid down the guidelines under section 2(14) of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015.
NCPCR is a statutory body and works under the Union ministry of women and child development. The Centre has already declared financial help from the PM CARES Fund for those children.
The effect of the pandemic has shattered many young lives, especially those who are left orphaned. The absence of care, love and attention which helps in shaping up a healthy child is one of the biggest losses in mankind. Losing a parent means losing access to education, health, financial stability, moral and social support. It is seen that the number of child labour is also increasing post the second wave of COVID-19. Children are forced to work for their survival. Governments need to take further measures to ensure their safety and access to all rights.