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Good Morning.
 
First, a few quick updates about our work. The United Nations Development Programme has selected us to undertake a rapid preliminary survey of 2000 workers in Uttar Pradesh to plan interventions and develop policy recommendations for their welfare. We'll keep you posted as we make progress.
 
We are also now officially part of the Community of Practice with the RISE (Research on Improving Systems of Education) team at Oxford where we'll learn and contribute towards increasing state capacity and systems view with the best in the world.

We had two very insightful speakers join us last week. Nikhil Dey spoke about the need to revamp and rethink MGNREGA, while T.S. Singh Deo spoke about what it takes to ensure the health and safety for millions. You can view these and our previous talks here. (If you would like to hear from a specific speaker, please let us know by replying to this email.)
 
Anvita from our Delhi team has written a heartful blog about the work undertaken by our Associate, Meenu Didi. Do read.
 
Upcoming Talk: We have Dr. Neelima Chopra, Senior Fellow,
Centre for Early Childhood Development and Research, Jamia Millia Islamia in conversation with Chris from our team at 4 PM, 2nd June. She will talk about the impact of COVID-19 on young children. RSVP here.
 
Education in the times of a pandemic.
 
State governments are trying to make the best of a tough situation. Delhi has decided to distribute books to students by calling parents to schools while Karnataka is considering extending the RTE reservation beyond class 8 for SC, ST students.
 
 
EWS Students in Private Schools continue to face challenges. 15 Delhi schools get a show-cause notice for not helping disadvantaged students move online. Though they continue to argue that it is the duty of the government and not the schools to provide laptops and working internet to disadvantaged students.
 
 
India's children continue to be amongst the worst hit by the pandemic. 321 million Indian children are believed to be away from school, widened learning gaps. This would most likely set millions of children further back in their learning but Rukmini Banerji from Pratham believes we shouldn't rush any decision and "It's not a problem if schools are the last to open".
 
Policy & its impact.
 
The more things change, the more they remain the same. The Coronavirus is deeply changing our behaviours. These 20 graphics show why and how while a ground report reveals pervasive hunger and undernourishment in rural India awash with returning migrants.
 
Notwithstanding the challenges in trying to provide support to millions, many Indians cannot claim emergency food rations as the master list uses nine-year-old data. And thousands with ration cards find it useless.
 
Private consumption has suffered a precipitous decline. Women holding Jan Dhan accounts have already received two instalments of Rs 500 from the government as part of the COVID-19 relief package, only about 46% have withdrawn the money. 
 
Legal hurdles, trade union opposition force some states to pull back major labour law changes while lessons from the GST roll-out could hold some valuable lessons for the 'One Nation, One Ration Card' scheme. 
 
 
Perspectives.
And Finally.
 
 
Asma
 
Rekha
 
 
Asma and Rekha are graduate students at Maulana Azad College in West Bengal. When their college shut down, Asma headed to Kashmir and Rekha to Tamil Nadu. The simulation above and this article here shows how within a matter of weeks, these two students could be in very different positions as a result of unequal internet access.
 
Policy-makers would also do well to consider that the smartphone adoption rate in India is still only 24%.
 
 
Indus Action Initiatives,
G-7, 2nd Floor,
Lajpat Nagar III,
New Delhi - 110024
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