New Delhi: Around 12,442 Other Backward Classes (OBC) households lost their sole earning member to Covid between April 2020 and 30 June this year, while 7,727 Scheduled Caste (SC) were similarly impacted in the same period.
The breadwinners were aged between 18-60 years.
Andhra Pradesh leads the OBC list with 4,948 such deaths, followed by Kerala with 2,100 such deaths and Gujarat with 1,934 deaths.
Most of the SC families who lost their earning members were also in Andhra Pradesh (2,106 deaths), followed by Gujarat (1,457), and Maharashtra (836).
The data is part of surveys conducted by the National Backward Classes Finance and Development Corporation (NBCFDC) and the National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation (NSCFDC).
According to a senior government official, both corporations have shared the data with the social justice ministry. The official added that the data is being used to provide suitable job opportunities for the families.
“The effort is to find suitable livelihoods with the participation of banks and both these corporations (NBCFDC and NSCFDC),” the official said. “The social justice ministry has approved a part of the SMILE project, which allows a subsidy of one lakh, to ensure sustainable incomes for such households.”
SMILE or Support for Marginalised Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise is a scheme that the ministry launched last month. It primarily looks at rehabilitating beggars.
The official quoted above, however, added that “in view of the Supreme Court directing the National Disaster Management Authority to finalise guidelines for payment of ex-gratia to Covid victim families, the survey findings will be utilised following directions on this matter”.
The SMILE scheme
The SMILE scheme, a second government official said, will be used to help the affected OBC and SC families.
Through the scheme, the official added, livelihood projects that produce sustainable income will be picked for the affected households.
The official said those with an annual income of less than Rs 3 lakh will be eligible for the scheme.
The scheme will be implemented by “state channelising agencies and channelising agencies of the NBCFDC and NSCFDC”, the official said.
(Edited by Arun Prashanth)