Demystifying the Lockdown 2.0 guidelines

COVID-19 National

The Government of India Information and Broadcasting, in a press release dated April 15, has published a set of revised consolidated guidelines from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

By Sanchari Ghatak

Bengaluru: Post Prime Minister Modi’s official address to the nation, in which he announced an extension to the existing countrywide lockdown till May 3, 2020, the Ministry of Home Affairs on April 15, 2020, issued fresh guidelines for this extended period of the lockdown.

In the fresh guidelines, the MHA has allowed select activities to be exempted from the lockdown. All agricultural and horticultural activities will be allowed. The exemptions have been extended to even the fisheries and poultry sectors. MGNREGA work will also be allowed by following social distancing and the use of protective gear. Irrigation and water conservation works under MGNREGA will be stressed upon, the guidelines specified. 

“The permitted activities from April 20, 2020, are aimed at ensuring that agricultural and related activities remain fully functional; the rural economy functions with maximum efficiency; employment opportunities are created for daily wage earners and other members of the labor force; select industrial activities are allowed to resume their operations, with adequate safeguards and mandatory standard operating protocols (SOPs); and the digital economy,” the order read.

The order also specifies strict prohibitions. The order reads as, “The activities prohibited across the country include travel by air, rail and road; operation of educational and training institutions; industrial and commercial activities; hospitality services; all cinema halls, shopping complexes, theatres, etc.; all social, political and other events; and opening of all religious places/ places of worship for members of public, including religious congregations, based on relaxations granted to areas after scrutinizing their performance in containing the disease.”

Akhil Jain, a resident of Bangalore, said, “Our area comes under Varthur, which has now been declared as a hotspot. I don’t think we will get any relaxations even post April 20. I heard we are even not allowed to go out to get essentials, but one person from my home goes out every 3 days to get drinking water cans. I am worried about how this extended lockdown will pan out for us.”

As far as the movement of people is concerned during the lockdown, the government said that those dealing with an emergency will be allowed to step out of their homes. The emergency situation can be medical, veterinary care and going out to get essential commodities.

“One passenger beside the private vehicle driver can be permitted in the backseat, in case of four-wheelers. In the case of two-wheelers, only the driver of the vehicle is to be permitted,” the guidelines read.

Inter-state, inter-district movement of people, including that of the metro, bus services will remain suspended till May 3, however, the function of industrial units located in rural areas will be allowed from April 20, provided they follow strict social distancing norms.

Highway ‘dhabas’, truck repair shops and call centers for government activities will be allowed to reopen from April 20. So will manufacturing units of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment.

Manufacturing and other industrial establishments with access control will be allowed in SEZs, EoUs, industrial estates and industrial townships after implementation of proper social distancing norms, as well as the manufacture of IT hardware and of essential goods and packaging, will also be allowed to resume post-April 20, 2020.

Coal, mineral and oil production, along with the supply of milk, milk products, poultry and livestock farming and tea, coffee and rubber plantations will also be allowed resume.

The Reserve Bank of India, banks, ATMs, capital and debt markets as notified by SEBI and insurance companies will remain functional, to provide liquidity and credit support to the industrial sectors. Important offices of Central and State Governments and local bodies will remain open with only essential staff members.

However, all places of public gathering such as malls, cinema halls, shopping complexes, gymnasiums, sports institutions, swimming pools, entertainment parks, educational, training and coaching institutions will remain closed throughout the lockdown.

No more than 20 people can attend funerals and congregations, while religious institutions or places of worship will strictly remain closed throughout. 

The said relaxations will, however, not be applicable in the containment zones as demarcated by States, Union Territories, and District Administrations.

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