Shimla: Himachal Cabinet in its historic decision adopted Orphan Children of the state. In a second meeting of the Sukhvinder Singh-led Cabinet approved to adopt the orphan children of the state and also decided to refer to such children as ‘Children of the State.’

Himachal Pradesh State Cabinet also approved the guidelines of the ambitious Rs. 101 crores ‘Mukhya Mantri Sukh-Ashray Yojana’. Orphans and those staying with their relatives, especially abled children, destitute women and senior citizens have been brought under the ambit of the scheme.

The Cabinet decided to refurbish the existing shelter homes, orphanages and old age homes etc, under the Yojana to provide better facilities to the inmates.

Facilities like common rooms, smart classes and coaching rooms, indoor and outdoor sports facilities, music room, attached washrooms and other modern amenities will be made available for the inmates of ashrams. Integrated complexes will be constructed in a phased manner for destitute women and senior citizens, orphans, etc with all basic amenities. These modern integrated complexes will be set up at Jwalamukhi in district Kangra and Sundernagar in Mandi district.

To provide quality education for the children living in orphanages adequate coaching will be given. Besides, reference books and other study materials will also be made available. Selected eminent persons from the society will serve as mentors and will provide counselling to such children from time to time. The expert career counselling empanelled agencies will also cater to the career counselling needs of the children of class 10th to 12th. Due care will be taken of the personality development of such children by organizing, study tours, outdoor activities, picnics etc.  Eligible inmates of such shelter homes or orphanages who are above 18 years of age, will be provided one lakh rupees per person per year for coaching, hostel fee, tuition fee etc. and provision has also been made to provide a stipend of four thousand rupees per resident per month during the period of coaching.

The decision was taken that under the Mukhya Mantri Sukh-Ashray Yojana, the inmates of these institutions will be provided Rs. 2,00,000 or the actual expenditure, whichever is less, for organizing their marriage. A recurring deposit account will also be opened for every child and destitute woman living in these Ashrams and the Government will provide assistance of one thousand rupees per child per month aged between 0-14 years, two thousand five hundred rupees per child per month aged between 15-18 years and similar applies for the single women.

There will be also a provision to organize a 15 days educational tour every year for the inmates of these shelter homes to various historical and other places within the country. The mode of transportation will be Shatabdi express, AC Volvo or AC buses besides boarding and lodging in hotels with not less than a three-star rating. On the same lines, a provision has been also made for such tours for the residents of old age homes and Nari Seva Sadan for 10 days, every year.

Under the scheme arrangement for hostel and tuition fees would be made besides a sum of Rs 4,000 per child- per month will be given as a scholarship to those children who have left the Child Care Homes after attaining 18 years of age, to meet their personal expenses during the study period. This assistance would be provided till they attain the age of 21 years. This assistance will also be provided to orphans up to 27 years of age.  One-time financial assistance of Rs. 2,00,000 per person will be provided to eligible inmates after completing 18 years of age and wishing to start or invest in startups.

The Cabinet decided that the orphan children after attaining the age of 18 years, will be provided boarding and lodging in after-care institutions till he attains 27 years of age. 3 Biswas of land in rural areas, as well as the assistance of Rs. 3,00,000 will be provided to the landless orphan after he attains the age of 27 years, for the construction of his house.

The Cabinet decided to deposit an amount of Rs. 10,000 as an apparel allowance, in the bank account of all the residents living in orphanages, old age homes and Nari Sewa Sadan. Apart from this, a provision has also been made in the scheme to appoint a ‘Grih Mata’ (caretaker) or a guardian to take care of the people living in the institution. A festival grant of Rs. 500 per will also be given to celebrate the festivals throughout the year.