BANGALORE, July 10, 2013
Children living with HIV still waiting for benefits
The HinduHELPING HAND: The Vishesha Palana Yojane ensures that orphans, both infected and affected, get Rs. 750 a month, while children of a single parent get Rs. 650 a month. File Photo.
The government’s Vishesha Palana Yojane, a cash incentive scheme, is yet to trickle down to HIV-affected children in Bangalore.
Children in Bangalore Urban district living with HIV or those whose parents have been affected, are yet to receive the benefits of the government’s Vishesha Palana Yojane, a cash incentive scheme to ensure nutrition, education and care for them.
As per a list prepared by non-governmental organisations, 650 children were identified as eligible for the scheme.
As the scheme is running successfully in 16 districts in the State, HIV activists are demanding that children in Bangalore Urban district too get its benefits.
“Implementation of the scheme here has been delayed because of official apathy,” charged D.T. Thyagaraj, who heads the Karnataka Network of Positive People.
Chandrika, who has been living with HIV and working with others like her for the last eight years, said the scheme offered cash incentive of Rs. 750 a month for orphans (both infected and affected) and Rs. 650 a month for children of a single parent.
“Besides, beneficiaries get an additional Rs. 500 a year for education. This is a big amount for us families as we have to bear the additional expenses of medicines and nutrition, apart from our day-to-day expenses,” she said.
The list of 650 children was prepared jointly by three NGOs working in the field — Milana, World Vision and Arunodaya — on the direction of the former Karnataka State Aids Prevention Society project director Salma Faheem.
Although the list was submitted in 2010, officials kept it in abeyance. Since then, the number of eligible children has come down from 650 to 223, as many are now over the age limit of 18.
“Besides, a considerable section dropped out because the Child Welfare Committee and Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike wanted to take up house visits before approving the list. Such visits would only lead to stigma and discrimination,” Ms. Chandrika said.
Narmada Anand, Deputy Director, Women and Child Development, said the list submitted by the NGOs was being processed by the Child Welfare Committee. “The scheme will roll out in Bangalore Urban district once the committee forwards the list to us,” she said.
The scheme, initially proposed to be implemented through gram panchayats and village health and sanitation committees, is now being implemented by the Department of Women and Child Development through the district AIDS prevention and control units and district positive networks.
It began as a pilot in 12 districts in 2010 and in 2012 was expanded to 16 districts in the State.