Tracking Welfare Policy in Times of COVID-19: Edition 5

17 May 2020
Tracking Welfare Policy in Times of COVID-19: Edition 5
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Keep up-to-date with all that is happening in welfare policy with this curated selection of news, published every fortnight. The current edition focusses on the Coronavirus pandemic in India, and the government’s efforts to stem its increase.  

Policy News

  • The country-wide lockdown has been extended till 31 May 2020, and guidelines are expected soon.
  • Details of the Rs 20 lakh crore Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan economic package have been announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman. They can be found here. Access our newly released Working Paper on the status of state finances to understand the package better.
  • Union Minister Nitin Gadkari announced that the government is working on an agro MSME policy that will focus on entrepreneurship development in rural, tribal, agricultural and forest areas for manufacturing products using local raw material.
  • Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM-CARES) Fund Trust has decided to allocate Rs. 3,100 crores for the pandemic response. A sum of approximately Rs. 2,000 crores will be used for the purchase of ventilators, Rs. 1,000 crores for care of migrant labourers and Rs. 100 crores to support vaccine development.
  • The Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has decided to suspend 35 of the 38 labour laws in the state for three years. The Ordinance will be sent to the Union government for its approval. Madhya Pradesh too has made changes to its labour laws.
  • Jharkhand government has announced three labour intensive programmes to add jobs in the rural economy. The three schemes have been devised to operate in convergence with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

Health 

  • The Ministry of Health has released a revised discharge policy for mild/very mild/pre-symptomatic cases admitted to a Covid Care Facility. These patients can be discharged after 10 days of symptom onset and no fever for 3 days. There will be no need for testing prior to discharge. This is expected to cut down the need for COVID-19 testing kits. 
  • ICMR is going to conduct a community-based survey to estimate the prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 infection in Indian population. The survey will be conducted in randomly selected 69 districts from 21 states.
  • The Global Nutrition Report (GNR) 2020, released on 12th May, said that India is among the 88 countries that are likely to miss global nutrition targets by 2025. 
  • According to data released by the Registrar General of India, the national birth rate in 2018 stood at 20, and death and infant mortality rates (IMR) stood at 6.2 and 32, respectively. India’s IMR has improved very marginally from 33 per 1,000 live births in 2017 to 32 in 2018. Madhya Pradesh has the worst infant mortality rate in the country while Nagaland has the best.

Others

  • The World Bank has approved a USD 1 billion package for migrants and urban poor in India. Another package of USD 1 billion had been approved for health last month.
  • US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced USD 3.6 million to assist the Government of India’s response against COVID-19.
  • Madhya Pradesh has launched ‘FIR Aapke Dwar’, an initiative that will see police officials going to homes to register a First Information Report (FIR). 
  • India launched ‘Mission Sagar’ as part of the government’s outreach initiative that aims to provide food items, COVID related Medicines including HCQ Tablets and Special Ayurvedic Medicines to five Island nations—Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros—amidst the pandemic.
  • Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved a loan of USD 500 million to support India’s efforts on COVID-19 response.
  • According to the ‘Digital in India’ report by the Internet & Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), Internet users in rural areas surpassed those in urban areas for the first time. However, the time spent on the internet is higher in urban India compared to the rural areas. 

The views shared belong to individual faculty and researchers and do not represent an institutional stance on the issue.