Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Welfare measures by TN Government for children who have lost their parent(s) due to COVID-19

 Summary of G.O. No 24 of Social Welfare & Woman Empowerment Department Dt 11/06/2021 

For those children who have been Orphaned

- INR 5 lakh deposit to be paid with interest to such children when they turn 18. This is applicable when either the child has lost both parents due to COVID-19 OR one parent earlier and the second due to COVID

- Such children will be given preference in Govt homes, hostels, and all those expenses will be borne by the state government

For other children

- INR 3 lakhs will be given to single parents as immediate relief

- Children who have lost both parents but living with guardians and not admitted to Child Care Institutions (CCI) will receive INR 3,000 per month until they turn 18

- Such children and their single parents will be given priority in all state government schemes

You can read the full G.O. here

Firstly, this is a commendable measure by the TN Government. While there is huge scope to improve Government-run CCIs and how the government accredits and deals with CCIs run by NGOs all that is for another day.

What should we as citizens do?

- The Government is funding this through generous contributions to TN CM's public relief fund, consider making a donation. I have and you should consider making an 80G tax-exempt donation too.

- If you know of such children within your community help them access the government schemes, support them financially, emotionally

- If you know any child who has lost one or both parents due to COVID-19 refer them to Bhumi for a scholarship

What should we as citizens think about and do?

- Would you be okay with your child living in a Govt or NGO-run shelter home (CCI) or on INR 3,000 p.m.?

- What about children whose parents pass away at other times? There are several thousand children who need your support, refer children for a Bhumi Scholarship. Bhumi scholarships reach a few thousand children each year.

-Do you consider such positive actions and intent by politicians when you vote for them?

In December 2015, post the Chennai Floods visiting an affected shelter home (CCI) made me cringe at the appalling living conditions. I thought if I had children, would I want them to grow up like this? and hence I should do something about it. The very next month I quit my medical practice to join Bhumi full-time.

Start volunteering for children at a shelter home or planting a tree in your neighborhood. Build empathy in your children by taking them with you when you volunteer. That's how we can build a more equal, influential, socially conscious society.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Book Recco: The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by Ben Macintyre

The most gripping non-fiction book I've read!

The first few chapters set the context of the main character slowly rising in tempo leading to a feverish pace towards the end. The last third of the book is unputdownable. This is the story of Oleg Gordievsky a KGB spy who became an MI6 double agent. As the most senior KGB agent to defect to MI6 during the cold war he probably averted a major war and possibly changed the course of the cold war itself by hastening the collapse of the Soviet Union. 

While the book referred to real-life people including world leaders throughout I completed the book thinking this was good imagination merging fiction with the truth. It was only during the epilogue it struck me that I should Google the names, I was shocked to realise all of the characters were true and the book was non-fiction!

This book was more gripping than most fictional thrillers I've read! I suggest reading the book and then checking out Wikipedia so that the story isn't spoiled for you. Leave a comment if you enjoyed the book