The Delhi government has decided to offer financial assistance to children whose parents are serving prison time. Earlier, children whose parents are in jail or if one parent has passed away, were eligible for the scheme. However, the government has approved changes in the eligibility criteria, and now, even if one parent, who is also the breadwinner, is serving jail term, then their child can receive financial assistance.

Last week, Delhi’s Social Welfare Minister Rajendra Pal Gautam chaired a meeting with the Director (Women and Child Development Department), Secretary (Home Department), Secretary (Social Welfare Department), and Chairperson (DCPCR), regarding the implementation of the scheme.

During the meeting, Gautam said: “The purpose of the scheme is to offer financial support to children whose parent(s) are serving a jail term and have no means to financially sustain themselves. Often children face economic hardships coupled with social stigma, which leads to dropping out of school, financial insecurity, etc. In such situations, it becomes the duty of the government to offer support to the child.” DCPCR chairperson Anurag Kundu has initiated the process of revamping the assistance scheme in September this year, as per reports. As per the scheme, the families of the prisoner should be informed on the day of the arrest about this scheme. A dashboard with all the details of the family members needs to be maintained by the Home Department. The information should then be sent to the Social Welfare Department to conduct home visits and verification. Within 15 days, the process should be completed and financial assistance should reach the beneficiary. Vishal Verma, OSD to Ministry of Social Welfare, Delhi told The Sunday Guardian: “The scheme was already in place and we are making some amendments now. This scheme is for the rehabilitation of the children since they don’t have any earning person at home. So, to sustain their livelihood and to continue their education and other expenses, the government is providing relief. Earlier, they were given Rs 6,500 and now they are planning to give Rs 7,500 per month. It will be notified soon. DCPCR is assisting us in collecting the data.”

According to reports, there are very limited laws about giving benefits to the family members of jailed inmates. These prisoners are often worried about their families facing financial issues.