In a New Year gift to about 6,000 orphan children in Himachal Pradesh, the state government on Sunday announced establishing a Rs 101-crore fund — Mukhya Mantri Sukhashraya Sahayata Kosh — for their higher education and day-to-day needs.
Making the announcement, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said all the 40 Congress MLAs have decided to give Rs 1 lakh each from their first salary towards this fund and more funds would be collected from industries under the corporate social responsibility. “We would also request BJP legislators and other MLAs to come forward for this noble cause.” The state government would be the parent of orphans living in orphanages or with relatives or those who have been adopted as well as single women and would provide funds for their education and day-to-day needs, Sukhu told reporters here.
They would be provided with pocket money of Rs 4,000 per month so that they can fulfil their needs and live life like other kids, he stated. Income certificate would not be needed under this scheme and just an application would be enough, he said, adding the assistance will be given directly to a beneficiary’s bank account by the Department of Social Justice and Empowerment.
Funds would also be given for marriage of single women, he said.
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The state government would also provide Rs 500 festive grants to inmates of all child care institutions, old age homes, nari seva sadan, shakti sadan and special homes, he said.
“Yeh karuna nahin, adhikar hai (this is not compassion but the right of these children),” Sukhu said.
The state government will bear the expenses of skill development education, higher education and vocational training of such children, he said.
Recalling an incident of his school and college days, Sukhu said he had a friend who was an orphan and he used to take him home on festivals. “Once I took my friend along and he told me, ‘You are taking me along but where I stay there are 40 more like me’. That day I thought that if I ever reach a position of power, I should do something for orphans,” he added.