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Since the start of the pandemic, many states have announced varying forms of assistance to help children who lost parents to Covid-19. These measures include monthly aid, fixed deposits, assistance with educational fees and, in some states, counselling support. Apart from the Rs 10 lakh fixed deposit, the central government’s PM Cares for Children scheme also assures minors who lost both parents (or one surviving parent), or legal guardians during the pandemic a monthly stipend after turning 18, and free education and health insurance.

Topic: Case Study

7. Since the start of the pandemic, many states have announced varying forms of assistance to help children who lost parents to Covid-19. These measures include monthly aid, fixed deposits, assistance with educational fees and, in some states, counselling support. Apart from the Rs 10 lakh fixed deposit, the central government’s PM Cares for Children scheme also assures minors who lost both parents (or one surviving parent), or legal guardians during the pandemic a monthly stipend after turning 18, and free education and health insurance.

But the fine print of these measures means that large numbers of children who need assistance may not get it, or at least not when they need it. In some states, children are only eligible if the deaths occurred within specific periods – for instance, 1st March 2020 to 1st June 2021 being a reference time period. Most of these states’ measures are focussed on orphans. This leaves out the more than 92,000 children who lost a single parent in India. Even where aid is available, children are frustrated by how long they will have to wait to access it.

In the above scenario, you are posted as a District Magistrate and approached for financial help for a boy in his studies. The boy lost his father to Covid-19 who was the sole breadwinner in the family. His mother is a paralysed woman and completely bed ridden. Being the only child without any family assets or help from relatives, he is being forced to quit school and work as a waiter in a nearby hotel with a meagre pay and food.

With the intention of helping him, when you ask for more details, it is brought to your attention that his father passed away 10th June 2021, which is well beyond the cut-off date notified by the government for compensation and assistance for orphaned. Moreover, the compensation in your state is only for those children who lost both parents to covid-19.

What is your course of action? (250 words)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Structure of the answer:

Introduction:

In brief, mention the facts of the case and the major ethical issues involved along with the stakeholders.

Body:

Mention the various alternatives in front of you and evaluate their pros and cons.

Select the best alternative which solves the issue and is ethically justified. Give solutions for any cons that arise from the possible solution.

Conclusion:

Stress on the importance of compassion in Civil Servants especially in the light of the above case.