Tracking Welfare Policy in Times of COVID-19: Edition 6

31 May 2020
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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 Government of India has issued fresh guidelines (Lockdown 5.0), as part of which activities will largely be reopened outside designated containment zones.
  • The government has notified amendments to General Financial Rules (GFR) to ensure that goods and services valued less than Rs 200 crore are being procured from domestic firms, a move which will benefit MSMEs.
  • National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) disbursed Rs 20,500 crore to cooperative banks and regional rural banks (RRBs) for on-lending to farmers. The fund is given as a means of front loading the resources of cooperative banks and RRBs so as to ensure adequate liquidity with them for financing farmers for taking up pre-monsoon and kharif 2020 operations.
  • On May 22, the International Day for Biological Diversity, Union Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar on Friday launched five key initiatives towards conservation of biodiversity. He also laid emphasis on the need to limit our consumption and promote a sustainable lifestyle.
  • The Government of India provided USD 2 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in support of its core programmes and services, including education and health.

Others 

  • The Supreme Court on May 26 took suo moto cognizance of the problems of migrant workers who are stranded in different parts of the country. The apex court issued notice to the government seeking replies on steps taken “redeem the miseries of migrant labourers”. 
  • The United Nations listed the KHUDOL initiative of Manipur as one of the top 10 global initiatives to fight against COVID-19. “Mobilising a network of 100 volunteers, they have provided around 2,000 families and individuals with over 1,000 health kits, 6,500 sanitary pads and 1,500 condoms,” said Jayathma Wickramanayake of Sri Lanka, the UN Envoy on Youth.
  • After China, India is now the second largest producer of PPE coveralls during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan is set to take charge as chairman of the WHO Executive Board at its 147th session. Vardhan would succeed Dr Hiroki Nakatani of Japan, currently the Chairman of the 34-member WHO Executive Board.

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