May 25, 2024
  • Himachal Pradesh passed Sukhashraya (Care, Protection, and Self-Reliance of Children of the State) Act, 2023 to ensure the welfare of orphans and persons with special needs.
  • The Act defines orphans as those without biological parents or whose parents are incapacitated and includes children in need of care and protection such as those without homes or those at risk of forced marriage, crime, or drug abuse.
  • The Act offers financial and institutional benefits to the beneficiaries between the age of 18-27 years, along with vocational training, skill development, and coaching to help them become active members of society.

Benefits under the Act:

  • A Mukhya Mantri Sukhashraya Sahayata Kosh fund of Rs 101 crore has been formed, and a child welfare committee will be established in each district to oversee the scheme.
  • Orphans and persons with special needs will become ‘children of the state’.
  • Financial benefits include Rs 5,000 in summer and winter, Rs 500 for major festivals, and Rs 4,000 monthly allowance for daily expenses in college.
  • Institutional benefits include sponsored train tickets and accommodation for 10 days within the state, and hostel fees for beneficiaries in ITI and government colleges.
  • The government will give a fixed amount of money at the time of marriage and three biswas of land to build their own homes.
  • Orphans who wish to establish their own start-ups will be given a token corpus to incentivize entrepreneurial pursuits.
  • D. students will also receive the monthly allowance.

Other Safeguards Mentioned in the Act:

  • Ex-residents of child care institutions will be supported by the state government till the age of 21 years.
  • Recurring deposit accounts will be opened for each child and orphan, and the state government shall make contributions to these accounts as per prevalent rates.
  • The child welfare committee will carry out surveys to identify orphans and will look into the demands of children in need.

 

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