The Perils of the Pandemic and India's Child Victims of Covid-19


  • Suparba Sil Jawarharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
  • Ruby Dhar All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
  • Subhradip Karmakar All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India



Children, covid-19, nutrition, child marriage, screen-time, online education, anxiety, alienation


Aim: The following paper attempts to trace the impact of Covid-19 on the younger generation, mostly from economically underprivileged sections, by focusing on specific themes such as health, education, vulnerability to abuse, and violence. The paper tries to address how the pandemic has affected various dimensions of the lives of these younger generation-children and adolescents, alongside tracing the measures taken by the government in the fight against the virus.

Methods: We curated the information based on credible data as published in leading news media, PMC published peer-reviewed materials

Conclusions: The paper concludes with recommendations that a coherent government policy and the active participation of NGOs are needed to address the problem. The children's mental health needs to be dealt with utmost care at home, which will pave the way towards a better future for the younger generation during and after the pandemic.


Bahl D, Bassi S, Arora M. The impact of COVID-19 on children and adolescents: Early evidence in India. ORF Issue Brief No. 448, March 2021, Observer Research Foundation. URL:

Ahmad I. COVID and children. URL: india/coronavirus/covid-19/covid-19-and-children

Chawla NA, Singh A. The Covid generation: India's children stare at a grim and desperate future. The New Indian Express 2021; Apr 25. URL: https://www.newindianexpress. com/magazine/2021/apr/25/the-covid-generationindias-children-stare-at-a-grim-and-desperate-future-2293506.html

Krishnan M. COVID: Thousands of Indian children orphaned by pandemic. 2021; Jun 1. URL:

Sun LH. Drop in childhood vaccinations during a pandemic may raise the risk of other outbreaks when schools reopen, CDC says. The Washington Post 2021; Jun 10. URL:

Hard fought gains in immunization coverage at risk without critical health services, warns WHO. The World Health Organization 2020; Apr 23. URL: item/23-04-2020-hard-fought-gains-in-immunization-coverage-at-risk-without-critical-health-services-warns-who

Schlein L. Children suffering dire consequences from India COVID-19 surge. 2021; May 7. URL:

Scroll Staff. Coronavirus: Over 79,000 children tested positive since March as India grapples with second wave. 2021; Apr 8. URL: coronavirus-over-79000-children-tested-positive-since-march-as-india-grapples-with-second-wave

Sarfaraz K. Covid-19 impact: Menstrual hygiene worsens for girls in capital's slums. Hindustan Times 2020; Oct 1. URL:

Guha I. Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated that menstrual hygiene is a multifaceted challenge in India. 2021; May 28. URL:

Mid-day meals lifeline for millions, should be re-activated as schools re-open: U.N. food agency. The Hindu 2021; 31st January. URL: feline-for-millions-should-be-re-activated-as-schools-re-open-un-food-agency/article33709490.ece

Gupta S, Jawanda MK. The impacts of COVID-19 on children. Acta Paediatr 2020; 109: 2181-2183.

Marques de Miranda D, da Silva Athanasio B, Sena Oliveira AC, Simoes-E-Silva AC. How is the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the mental health of children and adolescents? Int J Disaster Risk Reduct 2020; 51(101845).

Mrklas K, Shalaby R, Hrabok M, Gusnowski A, Vuong W, Surood S, et al. Prevalence of perceived stress, anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms in health care workers and other workers in Alberta during the COVID-19 pandemic: Cross-sectional survey. JMIR Ment Health 2020; 7(9): e22408.

Palacio-Ortiz JD, Londoño-Herrera JP, Nanclares-Márquez A, Robledo-Rengifo P, Quintero-Cadavid CP. Psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rev Colomb Psiquiatr (Engl Ed) 2020; 49(4): 279-288. English, Spanish.

Parekh B, Dalwai SH. Psychosocial impact of COVID-19 pandemic on children in India. Indian Pediatrics 2020; 57: 1107.

Singh S, Roy D, Sinha K, Parveen S, Sharma G, Joshi G. Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on the mental health of children and adolescents: A narrative review with recommendations. Psychiatry Res 2020; 293:113429.

Manodarpan: Psychological support for mental health and well being of students during COVID 19 pandemic. URL:

Narayan J, John D, Ramadas N. Malnutrition in India: Status and government initiatives. J Public Health Policy 2019; 40(1): 126-141.

Mishra US, Padhi B, Rinju. Examining calorie undernourishment in India: Is it due to choice or inadequacy? Nutr Health 2021; 27(1): 17-26.

Kulkarni B, Mamidi RS. Nutrition rehabilitation of children with severe acute malnutrition: Revisiting studies undertaken by the National Institute of Nutrition. Indian J Med Res 2019; 150(2): 139-152. Erratum in: Indian J Med Res 2019; 150(3): 314.

Bright T, Felix L, Kuper H, et al. A systematic review of strategies to increase access to health services among children in low and middle income countries. BMC Health Serv Res 2017; 17: 252.

Zar HJ, Dawa J, Fischer GB, Castro-Rodriguez JA. Challenges of COVID-19 in children in low- and middle-income countries. Paediatr Respir Rev 2020; 35: 70-74.

Roberton T, Carter ED, Chou VB, Stegmuller AR, Jackson BD, Tam Y, et al. Early estimates of the indirect effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on maternal and child mortality in low-income and middle-income countries: A modelling study. The Lancet Global Health 2020; 8(7): E901-E908.

Deka K. Covid-19 fallout: The impact on education in India. India Today 2021; Jan 11. URL: magazine/news-makers/story/20210111-school-of-hard-knocks-1755078-2021-01-03

Goradia A. Maharashtra: Only half of students in state have access to online learning, finds survey. Indian Express 2020; Jul 21. URL: maharashtra-only-half-of-students-in-state-have-access-to-online-learning-finds-survey-6515552/

Chaturvedi BK. Six million children out of school in India due to the impact of COVID-19: girls most affected. National Herald 2020. Dec 11. URL: https://www.nationalheraldindia. com/india/six-million-children-out-of-school-in-india-due-to-the-impact-of-covid-19-girls-most-affected

International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS) and ICF, National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16 India, Mumbai, December 2017.

Nandy A. Taken out of school and married: Meet India's COVID-19 child brides. The Quint 2021; Jun 12. URL:

10 million additional girls at risk of child marriage due to COVID-19. 2021; Mar 7. URL:

Divyanshu K. The new child brides of India’s Covid-19 pandemic. Article 14. Com 2021; Jun 16. URL:

BP Devaiah D. Sharp rise in child marriages in Karnataka during COVID-19 lockdown. The Indian Express 2020; Aug 29. URL:

Kumar A. Rajasekharan Nayar K, Bhat LD. Debate: Covid-19 and children of India. Wiley Public Health Emergency Collection 2021. [PubMed]

Arora K, Kumar S. Locked-down: Domestic violence reporting in India during COVID-19. 2020; Aug 3. URL:

Maji S, Bansod S, Singh T. Domestic violence during COVID-19 pandemic: The case for Indian women. J Community Appl Soc Psychol 2021.

Taskin B. Increased work, domestic abuse — how Covid lockdown was especially hard on women in India. The print. in 2021; Feb 9. URL:

Radhakrishnan V, Sen S, Singaravelu N. Data | Domestic violence complaints at a 10-year high during COVID-19 lockdown. 2020; Jun 22. URL:

Mittal S, Singh T. Gender-based violence during COVID-19 pandemic: A mini-review. 2020.

Bhandare N. Major rise in domestic violence during Covid, many gains could be reversed. Business Standard 2020; Dec 16. URL:

Millions of children risk poverty and hunger as India's COVID crisis spirals. 2021; Apr 28. URL:

230 million Indians pushed into poverty amid Covid-19 pandemic: Report. Business Standard 2021; May 6. URL:

Vaid D. How coronavirus is affecting underprivileged children in India. 2020; 10th July. URL: en/how-coronavirus-is-affecting-underprivileged-children-in-india/a-54125032

Khaitan S. How covid has put children at risk of abuse, labour, marriage. 2021; Jun 13. URL:

Pandey T. Will sell kidneys to get food for kids: Delhi's poor hit hard by Covid lockdown. India Today, 2021; Jun 2. URL:

Rai S. Covid-19 has hit poor children and their education very hard. Deccan Herald 2020; Jul 13. URL:

Chaturvedi BK. Six million children out of school in India due to the impact of COVID-19; girls most affected. National Herald 2020; Dec 11. URL: https://www.nationalheraldindia. com/india/six-million-children-out-of-school-in-india-due-to-the-impact-of-covid-19-girls-most-affected

Sethuraman NR, Bhattacharjee N, Monnappa C. Pleas for help in India as COVID-19 leaves children without carers. 2021; May 6. URL: world/india/pleas-help-india-covid-19-leaves-children-without-carers-2021-05-06/

Impact of COVID-19 crisis on the lives of children in India. 2020; Nov 17. URL: media/4811/file/Impact%20of%20COVID-19%20crisis% 20on%20the%20lives%20of%20children%20in%20India%20-%20Panel%20discussion%20with%20media%20for%20 World%20Children's%20Day.pdf

PM Cares to pay for education, care of children orphaned by Covid-19. The Times of India 2021; May 30. URL:

Jaswal M. PM announces 10 lakh fund, free education, other benefits for kids who lost parents to Covid. The Mint 2021; May 30. URL:

Singh S, Roy D, Sinha K, Parveen S, Sharma G, Joshi G. Impact of COVID-19 and lockdown on mental health of children and adolescents: A narrative review with recommendations. Psychiatry Res 2020; 293: 113429.

Shah K, Mann S, Singh R, et al. Impact of COVID-19 on the mental health of children and adolescents. Cureus 2020; 12(8): e10051.

Midday Meal Scheme. URL:

Centre to give 100 each to children covered by mid day meal scheme. The Hindu 2021; May 28. URL:

Khaitan S. A sea of broken children', Covid gives rise to abuse, labour and marriage. Business Standard 2021; Jun 20. URL:

Prabhu RD. India’s child victims of COVID-19. 2021; Jun 3. URL: 2021/6/3/india-covid-crisis-what-about-the





General Articles