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Policy Buzz

Accountability Initiative Staff

14 February 2022

Keep up-to-date with all that is happening in welfare policy with this curated selection of news, published every fortnight.

Policy News 

  1. The Ministry for Social Justice & Empowerment launched SMILE (Support for Marginalized Individuals for Livelihood and Enterprise) as a centrally sponsored scheme. The umbrella scheme aims to support transpersons and people engaged in begging.
  2. The Ministry of Food Processing Industries extended the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Sampada Yojana (PMKSY) till March 2026 with an allocation of ₹4,600 crore.
  3. The Indian embassy signed an agreement with the World Food Programme (WFP) to distribute 50,000 metric ton of wheat in Afghanistan as part of humanitarian assistance.


  1. The Ministry of Education and Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment together launched the Scheme for Residential Education for Students in High Schools in Targeted Areas (SHRESHTA). Under the scheme, the union government will fund the education of 3,500 Scheduled Caste children in private residential schools every year.
  2. The Ministry of Education shared a plan for learning recovery in order to ensure continuum of learning and mitigate the impact of the pandemic. The plan includes financial support to students, funds for primary school teachers to purchase tablets, and ₹20 lakh per state to conduct oral reading fluency (ORF) study.
  3. As per the new guidelines issued by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), colleges and universities that have completed an academic year will be eligible to apply for provisional accreditation. The earlier criteria for the same was six academic years or two graduated batches. 
  4. The Supreme Court rejected a plea challenging sections of the Right to Education Act of 2009 which exclude religious institutions like vedic-pathshalas and madrasas from its ambit.
  5. The Tamil Nadu Assembly re-adopted a bill seeking to remove National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) for admission to undergraduate medical courses in the state.


  1. The National Health Authority announced the integration of Ayushman Bharat Digital Mission with the Aarogya Setu app which will allow users to create Ayushman Bharat Health Account (ABHA) number from the app. 
  2. NITI Aayog announced a new partnership under the Sustainable Access to Markets and Resources for Innovative Delivery of Healthcare (SAMRIDH) initiative, with the Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). The partnership aims to catalyse accessible healthcare in Tier-2 and Tier-3 cities, along with rural and tribal regions.
  3. A NITI Aayog report titled ‘Reimagining Healthcare in India through Blended Finance’ laid emphasis on increasing the number of  hospital beds in the country by at least 30% to ensure public access to healthcare facilities.
  4. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare launched Intensified Mission Indradhanush (IMI) 4.0 to fill gaps in routine immunisation coverage. Read more about Mission Indradhanush and child vaccinations here

Other News 

  1. The Standing Committee on Rural Development and Panchayati Raj recommended  increasing the guaranteed days of work from 100 to 150 under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). 
  2. The Odisha State Commission for Women has demanded that branding of victims should also be treated as a heinous crime and punishable under the Odisha Prevention of Witch Hunting Act 2013 among other provisions.
  3. According to the second edition of the India Justice Report, the share of undertrials in jails has increased from 69% in December 2019 to 76% in December 2020.

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