1. Agriculture World

Lockdown 2.0: Agriculture and Select Activities Allowed from 20th April

Chander Mohan
Chander Mohan

The Home Ministry today issued guidelines for lockdown 2.0 allowing certain sectors to function from 20 April in order to ease public hardship in the wake of coronavirus outbreak. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said in his address to the nation on Tuesday that MHA will list out detailed guidelines for the extended lockdown. 

According to the guidelines issued by the MHA, "From 20 April activities permitted include agricultural, horticultural, farming, procurement of agri products, 'mandis'. Shops of farm machinery, its spare parts, supply chain, repairs, 'Custom Hiring Centers’ related to machinery will also remain open. Manufacturing units of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, construction of medical infrastructure to remain open."  In addition fisheries, animal husbandry and plantation activities will also remain functional during lockdown 2.0.

"Shops of farm machinery, its spare parts, supply chain, repairs, 'Custom Hiring Centres' related to machinery will remain open from 20 April." Meanwhile, the supply chain of milk, milk products, poultry and live-stock farming and tea, coffee and rubber plantations will resume. 

The government has made it mandatory to wear masks in public places across the country in the wake of COVID-19 outbreak. 

However, all social, political, sports, religious functions, religious places, places of worship shall be closed for public till May 3. Even educational institutions, coaching centres, domestic, international air travel, train services will remain suspended till 3 May. 

While, the air, rail and inter-state travel remains suspended, the government has allowed agricultural activities, health services and industries operating in rural areas to function, MHA said in the guidelines issued a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended the coronavirus lockdown till May 3. Will remain under lockdown for another 19 days till May 3 after the government decided to extend the 21-day lockdown on Tuesday. Originally, the 21-day nation-wide lockdown was to end on April 14 but considering the rising number of cases, especially in Delhi, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, a majority of states agreed to extend the lockdown. The Ministry of Home Affair has issued detailed guidelines regarding services that'll remain operational and those not. 

During a televised address to the nation on Tuesday, Prime Minister  Modi said India might have to pay a big economic price for the lockdown but there was no alternative to saving human lives.  

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in India stands at 11,439, including the active tally at 9,756 and death toll at 377, according to the latest Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data. 

What's Open During Lockdown 2.0 

All kinds of essential services have been exempted from restrictions. These services include all health workers -- doctors, nurses, hospital staff, and sanitation workers.

  • Media persons belonging to print and electronic media have also been exempted from lockdown, though they too can't enter the containment zones, also known as hotspots.

  • Homes of children, disabled, mentally challenged or senior citizens, women, among others will also remain open.

  • Movement, loading or unloading of goods cargo -- both inter or intrastate -- will be allowed.

  •  MNREGA works are allowed with strict implementation of social distancing and use of face mask.

  •  Hotels, homestays, lodges and motels will remain operational.

  •  Services provided by self-employed people, including electrician, IT repairs, plumbers, motor mechanics and carpenters will also remain operational.

  •  Industries in rural areas, SEZs, and EOU zones, units making essential goods, food processing units, IT hardware companies, coal production will be allowed to function.

  •  Construction of roads, irrigation projections, buildings and all kinds of industrial projects, including MSMEs, in rural areas and construction of renewable energy projects will be allowed.

  •  The government will also ease restrictions for farmworkers since the rabi crop harvest season has started in states like Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

  •  All security personnel, including police and security forces, are also exempted from the lockdown.

  •  All kinds of essential service agencies, including cook gas agencies, fuel pumps, ration shops, wholesale and retail shops and vegetable mandis, will remain open.

  •  Pathology labs will also be allowed to operate amid the lockdown. Notably, the government has also roped in various private labs to conduct COVID-19 tests.

  •  Goods trucks carrying goods -- weather or not essential goods -- within states and outside states will be allowed to operate during the extended lockdown period.

  •  People in areas not identified as containment zones are allowed to go out to buy essential items like ration, vegetables, milk, etc.

  •  IT services for essential services, internet and telecommunication services will also remain open.

What's Closed 

  • All domestic and international air travel for the general public; all passenger trains; bus transport; and metro rail services will remain closed.

  •  Taxis, including auto-rickshaws and cycle rickshaws, and services of cab aggregators will not operate during the extended lockdown.

  •  All social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural and religious activities also stand suspended.

  •  All religious places of worship will be closed for public during the lockdown. In the case of funerals, the congregation of more than 20 persons will not be permitted.

  •  To mitigate hardship, select additional activities have been allowed from April 20. However, states or UTs will separately take the final call on the relaxation of curbs. PM Modi on Tuesday had also said that areas with no coronavirus cases could be exempted some restrictions from April 20.

  •  All education institutes will remain shut.

  •  All social, political, sports, cultural, academic, entertainment and religious gatherings are prohibited.

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