Sharmili Mallick

A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the second phase country-wide lockdown in India in the wake of Coronavirus outbreak till May 3, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued revised guidelines on the measures to be taken by ministries, government departments, state and Union Territory governments for the containment and prevention of the viral disease in the country.

Activities prohibited in the lockdown:

  • All domestic & international air travel of passengers (except for security purposes), passenger movement by trains (except for security purposes), buses for public transport, metro rail services to remain prohibited.
  • Inter-district and inter-State movement of individuals except for medical reasons or for activities permitted under these guidelines.
  • All educational, training, coaching institutions etc. shall remain closed.
  • All industrial and commercial activities other than those specifically permitted under these guidelines.
  • Hospitality services except those specifically permitted under these guidelines.
  • Taxis (including auto rickshaws and cycle rickshaws) and services of cab aggregators.
  • All cinema halls, malls, shopping complexes, gymnasiums, sports complexes, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places.
  • All social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ other gatherings.
  • All religious places/ places of worship shall be closed for public. Religious congregations are strictly prohibited.In case of funerals, congregation of more than twenty persons will not be permitted.

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Selected permitted activities allowed with effect from April 20, 2020:

  • Transportation of goods will be permitted without any distinction of essential or non-essential.
  • Farming operations, including procurement of agricultural products, agriculture marketing through notified Mandis and direct and decentralized marketing, manufacture, distribution and retail of fertilizers, pesticides and seeds.
  • Activities of marine and inland fisheries.
  • Animal husbandry activities, including the supply chain of milk, milk products, poultry and live-stock farming; and tea, coffee and rubber plantations are allowed to be functional.

All health services (including AYUSH) will remain functional, such as:

  • Hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, telemedicine facilities.
  • Dispensaries, chemists, pharmacies, all kinds of medicine shops including Jan Aushadhi Kendras and medical equipment shops.
  • Medical laboratories and collection centres.
  • Pharmaceutical and medical research labs, institutions carrying out COVID-19 related research.
  • Veterinary Hospitals, dispensaries, clinics, pathology labs, sale and supply of vaccine and medicine.
  • Authorised private establishments, which support the provisioning of essential services, or efforts for containment of COVID-19, including home care providers, diagnostics, supply chain firms serving hospitals.
  • Manufacturing units of drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, medical oxygen, their packaging material, raw material and intermediates.
  • Construction of medical/ health infrastructure including manufacture of ambulances.
  • Movement (inter and intra State, including by air) of all medical and veterinary personnel, scientists, nurses, para-medical staff, lab technicians, mid-wives and other hospital support services, including ambulances.

Relaxation to industries from April 20:

  • To provide an impetus to the rural economy, industries operating in rural areas, including food processing industries have been allowed from April 20.
  • Construction of roads, irrigation projects, buildings and industrial projects in rural areas has been allowed during the lockdown.
  • Works under MNREGA, with priority to irrigation and water conservation works; and operation of rural Common Service Centres (CSCs) have all been allowed. These activities will create job opportunities for rural labour, including the migrant labour force.
  • Manufacturing and other industrial establishments with access control have been permitted in SEZs, EoUs, industrial estates and industrial townships after implementation of SOP for social distancing.
  • Manufacture of IT hardware and of essential goods and packagings are also allowed.
  • Coal, mineral and oil production are permitted activities.
  • The important components of the financial sector, such as, RBI, banks, ATMs, capital and debt markets as notified by SEBI and insurance companies will also remain functional, with a view to provide enough liquidity and credit support to the industrial sectors.

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Other sectors exempted from lockdown:

  • Digital economy is critical to the services sector and is important for national growth. Accordingly, e-commerce operations, operations of IT and IT enabled services, data and call centres for Government activities, and online teaching and distance learning are all permitted activities now.

Guidelines for Hotspots and containment zones:

'Hotspots', i.e., areas of large COVID-19 outbreaks, or clusters with significant spread of COVID-19, will be determined as per the guidelines issued by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
In these hotspots, containment zones will be demarcated by States, UTs and District administrations. Apart from essential services, no other activities which will be relaxed post April 20 in such containment zones.

  • No unchecked inward/ outward movement of population would be allowed, except for maintaining essential services, i.e., medical emergencies and law & order duties, and government business continuity.