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Hello.
 
Our operations lead, Mayurdhar, has written a compelling piece for IDR on how we have to rethink maternity benefits. Do read.
 
Also, going forward, we'll be moving our Newsletter to a fortnightly cadence. Please continue to keep on reading and sharing it widely.
 
Education in the times of a pandemic.
 
RTE & The Government. Chhattisgarh has become the first state to conduct the RTE lottery since the lockdown. The first round has resulted in allotments for 54K students who are now a step closer to studying in a school of their choice. 

In contrast, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has said that the
Rajasthan government has violated the RTE Act and has issued a direction to them. 
 
The Tamil Nadu government has cleared a proposal to include RTE students in its special 7.5% NEET quota. It comes with a key rider, though. 

Punjab has decided to
tap into MNREGS funds for infrastructure upgrades in rural schools while the HRD ministry has issued guidelines advising states to cap online classes at only 3 hrs per day.
 
Policy & its impact.
 
The Judiciary has a say. The Delhi High Court has allowed schools to block students, who haven’t paid fees, from online classes. The bench, however, did not give a final opinion on the circular but issued an interim order.
 
The Supreme Court has issued a similar order by refusing to entertain a plea seeking a waiver of private school fees across the country. For maternity benefits though, it has asked the centre to provide information on benefits provided to lactating mothers & pregnant women under the National Food Security Act.
 
Continuing the positive development, India has registered a steep decline in its maternal mortality ratio. The Maternal Mortality Ratio in India has declined to 113 in 2016-18 from 122 in 2015-17 and 130 in 2014-2016. 
 
Perspectives.
And Finally.
 
In a pandemic that forces us to stay home, bingeing on doom-and-gloom news feels irresistible. These health experts offer ways to break the habit.
 
 
Indus Action Initiatives,
G-7, 2nd Floor,
Lajpat Nagar III,
New Delhi - 110024
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