Hours after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced an extension of the coronavirus COVID-19 lockdown till May 3, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Tuesday issued a directive for bringing it into effect. In a letter to chief secretaries of states, administrators of union territories and all ministries and departments under the Centre, the MHA issued directions for observing lockdown in all parts of the country till May 3.
According to a statement all restrictions that were earlier imposed in various sectors, and on various activities, will continue to remain in force during the extended period of lockdown. The states and UTs can’t dilute restrictions imposed that have been mentioned in the MHA guidelines. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) had on March 24 had directed the central and state governments to take measures for ensuring social distancing so as to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country. Considering the fact that strict social distancing measures need to be implemented for a further period to contain the spread of COVID 19, the NDMA urged to continue the same measures for social distancing up to May 3.
As per the MHA guideline, the Central offices shall remain closed with exceptions of:
- Defense, central armed police forces,
- Treasury (including, Pay & Accounts Offices, Financial Advisers and field offices of the Controller General of Accounts, with bare minimum staff),
- Public utilities (including petroleum, CNG, LPG, PNG), power generation and transmission units, post offices.
- Disaster management and Early Warning Agencies, e) National Informatics Centre,
- Customs clearance at ports airports land border, GSTN; and MCA Registry with bare minimum staff and
- Reserve Bank of India and RBI regulated financial markets and entities like NPCi, CCIL, payment system operators and standalone primary dealers with bare minimum staff.
The offices of the state and UTS, their autonomous bodies, corporations, etc. shall remain closed with exceptions of
- Police, home guards, civil defense, fire and emergency services, disaster management, and prisons.
- District administration and Treasury (including field offices of the Accountant General with bare minimum staff)
- Electricity, water, sanitation.
- Municipal bodies- Only staff required for essential services like sanitation, personnel-related to water supply, etc.
- Resident Commissioner of States, in New Delhi with bare minimum staff, for coordinating COVID-19 related activities and internal kitchens operations.
- Forest offices-Staff workers required to operate and maintain zoo, nurseries, wildlife, firefighting in forests, watering plantations, patrolling and their necessary transport movement.
- Social Welfare Department, with bare minimum staff, for operations of Homes for children, disables, senior citizens, destitute, women, widows; Observation homes; pensions.
- Agencies engaged in the procurement of agriculture products, including MSP operations.
- Mandis operated by the Agriculture Produce Market Committee or as notified by the State Government.
The above offices (SI. No 1 & 2) should work with a minimum number of employees.
All other offices may continue to work-from-home only. Hospitals, Veterinary Hospitals, and all related medical establishments, including their manufacturing and distribution units, both in public and private sector, such as dispensaries, chemist, Pharmacies (including Jan Aushadhi Kendra) and medical equipment shops, laboratories, Pharmaceutical research labs, clinics, nursing homes, ambulance, etc. will continue to remain functional.
The transportation for all medical personnel, nurses, para-medical staff, other hospital support services be permitted. Commercial and private establishments shall be closed down. Exceptions:
- Shops, including ration shops (under PDS), dealing with food, groceries, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, meat and fish, animal fodder, fertilizers, seeds, and pesticides. However, district authorities may encourage and facilitate home delivery to minimize the movement of individuals outside their homes.
- Banks, insurance offices, and ATMs including IT vendors for banking operations; Banking Correspondent and ATM operation and cash management agencies.
- Print and electronic media.
- Telecommunications, internet services, broadcasting and cable services. IT and IT-enabled Services only (for essential services) and as far as possible to work from home.
- Delivery of all essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment through E-commerce.
- Petrol pumps, LPG, Petroleum and gas retail, and storage outlets.
- Power generation, transmission and distribution units, and services.
- Capital and debt market services as notified by the Securities and Exchange Board of India.
- Cold storage and warehousing services.
- Private security services.
- Data and call centers for Government activities only.
- Farming operations by farmers and farmworkers in the field.
- Custom Hiring Centres (CHC) related to farm machinery.
- Shops of agriculture machinery, its spare parts (including its supply chain) and repairs to remain open.
- Shops for truck repairs on highways, preferably at fuel pumps.
- Operations of the fishing (marine) aquaculture industry, including feeding & maintenance; hatcheries, feed plants, commercial aquaria, movement of fish shrimp and fish products, fish seed feed and workers for all these activities. All other establishments may work-from-home only.
Industrial Establishments will remain closed. Exceptions:
- Manufacturing units of essential goods, medical devices, their raw materials & inter
- Production units, which require continuous permission from the State Government.
- Coal and mineral production, transportation, pharmaceutical, after obtaining the required supply of explosives and including drugs mediation, process, activities incidental to mining operations.
- Manufacturing units of packaging material for food items, drugs, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices.
- Manufacturing and packaging units of Fertilizers, Pesticides, and Seeds.
- Tea industry, including plantation with a maximum of 50% workers.
All transport services — air, rail, roadways — will remain suspended. Exceptions:
- Transportation for essential goods only.
- Fire, law and order and emergency services.
- Operations of Railways, Airports, and Seaports for cargo movement, relief and evacuation, and their related operational organizations.
- Inter-state movement of goods cargo for inland and exports.
- Cross land border movement of essential goods including petroleum products and LPG, food products, medical supplies.
- Intra and inter-state movement of harvesting and sowing related machines like combined harvester and other agriculture horticulture implements.
- Transit arrangements for foreign national(s) in India.
Hospitality Services to remain suspended Exceptions:
- Hotels, homestays, lodges, and motels, which are accommodating tourists and persons stranded due to lockdown, medical and emergency staff, air and sea crew.
- Establishments used earmarked for quarantine facilities.
All educational, training, research, coaching institutions, etc. shall remain closed. All places of worship shall be closed for the public.
No religious congregations will be permitted, without any exception.
All social-political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural, religious, functions, gatherings shall be barred. In the case of funerals, the congregation of not more than twenty persons will be permitted.