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Prelims Capsule

Vulnerable Sections

Smriti Irani on protection of children orphaned by Covid 19

Smriti Irani on protection of children orphaned by Covid 19


  • GS 2 || Governance & Social Justice || Vulnerable Sections || Children & Child Labor

Why in the news?

SmritiIrani urges people to inform police about children orphaned by Covid-19, stop illegal adoption

Present context:

  • As India continues to battle a severe second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, many children across the country were being rendered homeless with their parents dying from the infection.
  • Union Minister SmritiIrani informed that such children should be brought to the police or a district’s Child Welfare Committee in order to ensure their protection.
  • It was illegal to adopt orphan children and that such kids should be directly brought to the notice of officials
  • Such children should be taken to Child welfare committee, which will take necessary action in the best interest of the child illegal adoption could also lead to trafficking of children.
  • Should Inform to the Police or Child Welfare Committee or Child line 1098 if there is any such child

Impact of Covid-19 on children:

  • Effects of school closure:
    • Prolonged shutdown hits the notion of right to education hard and educational inequalities stem from it. Learning gap will be widened between children from lower and higher-income families during this institute closure
    • Facilities for homeschooling which need audio-visual systems and good internet connection are not available for children from low-income households.
    • The accessibility of electronic gazettes, learning equipment, home conditions for studies among children of developing or under-developed countries are even more meager and thus, they are likely to be worst affected.
    • Appropriate articulation between classroom and online education, educational financial assistance to the needy students and ensuring zero drop-out from schools post-pandemic are the needs of the hour.
  • Child abuse, domestic violence and teenage promiscuity:
    • Reports of child abuse, neglect, exploitation and domestic violence are on horrendous rise at the time of COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown
    • Both direct and passive exposure of the children to abuse, psychological aggression and/or physical punishment by caregivers at a very early age leave permanent wounds in the form of impaired development of brain and psyche, higher rates of psychosomatic and neuro-psychiatric disorders, multiple substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.
    • “Child-abuse materials” seeking activity is on the rise as children are expected to be more vulnerable, less supervised, having more online exposure and are thus easy targets.45 Strictparental vigilance along with monitoring from cyber cells is mandatory to prevent this psychosexual aberrancy.
  • Economic: An estimated 42-66 million children might fall into extreme poverty as a result of pandemic the economic loss could exceed 16,000 USD of lost earnings over a student’s lifetime, translating over time into 10 trillion USD of lost earnings globally.
  • Learning: More than 1.5 billion children and youth are affected by 188 countries’ nationwide school closures.
    • More than two-thirds of countries have developed a national distance learning network, but distance learning is just 30 percent in low-income countries.
    • Poor children, children from remote and conflict zones, and children with disabilities do not have access to online learning.
    • During Grade 3, a one-third loss of learning (equivalent to a three-month school closure) could result in 72 percent of students falling so far behind that they drop out or are unable to learn something in school by Grade 10.
  • Survival: Families’ economic distress as a result of the global economic downturn could result in hundreds of thousands more child deaths in 2020, reversing the previous two to three years of improvement in infant mortality in a single year.
  • Health: As 368.5 million children in 143 countries depend on school meals for a consistent source of regular nutrition, malnutrition is expected to rise.
    • Essential sexual, maternal, newborn, and infant health interventions are more difficult to obtain.
    • The suspension of all polio vaccination programs worldwide, as well as measles vaccination campaigns in at least 23 nations, would set back decades of work to eradicate these diseases.
    • Another source of concern is the impact of physical separation and movement limits on children’s mental health.
  • Safety: Children are more likely to experience or endure aggression and harassment during lockdowns and shelter-in-place interventions.
    • Children’s dependence on online learning sites has increased their risk of being exposed to harmful content and online predators.
    • Child marriage, early pregnancy, and gender-based violence will all become more common.
  • Uneven Distribution of Impact: The Covid-19 Pandemic has increased the existing socioeconomic disparities.
    • During the second quarter of 2020, 86% of children at the primary level have been effectively out of school in poor countries, compared to just 20% in highly developed countries.
    • The Covid-19 crisis is likely to increase the financing gap between education budgets and the money available to reach the Sustainable Development Goal of quality education by up to one-third.
    • The low and middle incomes already faced a more than USD 148-billion of the said financial gap.
    • Apart from the poor children, other vulnerable groups of children like migrants, the displaced, refugees, minorities, slum-dwellers, children living with disabilities, children living in refugee settlements, and children in institutions are likely to face a more severe impact.
    • The impact of Covid-19 is going to be more damaging for girls than boys, widening gender inequality.
    • Earlier this year, the Global Education Monitoring Report, 2020 was released by UNESCO which highlighted that the Covid-19 had worsened the inequalities in education systems worldwide.

Way forward:

  • Steps that needs to be taken by parents: Parents, pediatricians, psychologists, social workers, hospital authorities, government and non-governmental organizations have important roles to play to make the mission successful
    • Parents need to respect their identity, free space, special need in addition to monitoring child’s performance, behavior and self-discipline skills.
    • This pandemic has provided parents such a perquisite to reinforce the eternal bonding between their children and themselves
  • Steps needs that needs to be taken by govt. & NGO: Concerned authorities including government and non-government organizations should use its all arsenals to make sure to bring back all the children back to their schools by any means when the pandemic falters, should ensure “zerodrop-outs” by providing financial support specifically to pandemic-undermined families and take pledge to make primary and secondary education cost-free.
  • Schools and teachers should not overburden: Not to overburden children and teachers must be taken into foremost consideration alongside. Apart from scheduled curriculum-based study basics of hygiene, maintenance of daily routine, need for indoor physical exercise can be promoted through the same online interface
  • Online teaching a reality for underprivileged: Censoredand supervised use of technologies will facilitate wider, faster, fair and equal catering of resources with special attention to the vulnerable groups discussed afore. To make online teaching a reality for underprivileged section of the society government and other stake-holders must go many miles more to make sufficient arrangements of internet service and audio-visual gazettes
  • Parent’s surveillance of children’s net surfing: Social sites should be more cautious to censor contents to impede online sexual exploitation. Parents should always friendly monitor online activities of their children. Cyber cells should be vigilant while reviewing contents of online games, apps, and online privacy settings
  • Responsible authorities must make sure that due to pandemic-bustle services obtainable against domestic violence rather should be supplemented to surplus the needs.
  • Proper sanitization: Children from marginalized communities should be taken adequate care of by all means like sanitization, hygienic atmosphere, basic amenities, and medical services. Disruption of many essential health care services for children and adolescents in time of COVID-19 should be dealt with more expertise; barriers to this kind of unique care should be demolished.


Children are extremely disheartened with abrupt stoppage of schooling, cancellation of scheduled trips, home-confinement and fear of uncertainty concerning the ongoing pandemic. Although the graph of formal education is showing downtrend, children will hopefully emerge from this misery with unmatched leniency, pliability, solicitude and cognizance. In his novel Kafka on the shore, Haruki Murakami wrote: “When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

Mains oriented question:

Lockdown amid Covid-19 had many serious causes and effect though it was necessary step for protection of life from effect of coronavirus but lockdown had impact on Children, explain the impact in detail. (250 words)