NEW DELHI: To kickstart economic activities that are grounded due to the lockdown, the Centre on Wednesday issued fresh guidelines allowing several services and industries to operate after April 20 along with safeguards that need to be followed.
Focusing on reviving the rural economy, the government allowed all agricultural and horticultural activities, some industrial and infrastructure activity in rural areas and export- oriented business.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, which issued the guidelines, said the resumption of operations is to help daily wagers and the labour force generate income. It, however, made it clear that all kinds of public transport would remain suspended till May 3, when the lockdown ends.
"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 labour force; select industrial activities are allowed to resume their operations," the government said. Experts said the decision could bring 30-35% of the economy back on track.
"The move will have a positive impact. We can say 30-35 per cent of the economy will be back in production mode," said Prof N R Bhanumurthy of the National Institute of Public Finance & Policy. The relaxations will not be applicable to Covid- 19 hotspots and containment zones.
MHA also said state governments can't dilute lockdown guidelines and may impose stricter measures as per local requirements. All agricultural activities including farming operations, agencies involved in procurement of agricultural produce, 'mandis' operated by the Agriculture Produce Market Committee will be allowed. It is a crucial time for the agrarian economy because it is the harvesting season, which feeds the rural economy for many months.
A CTIVITIES THAT WILL RESUME AFTER APRIL 20
COMMERCIAL IT & ITES firms; call centres for govt activities; e-commerce firms; electricians, plumbers; courier, warehousing; security services; print and electronic media
INDUSTRIAL Units outside municipalities; SEZ and export-oriented units; IT hardware manufacturing; oil & gas, telecom and power; packaging and jute industry
INFRA MNREGA, irrigation; construction in rural areas and industrial estates; resumption of construction in municipalities if workers are available on site
FREIGHT Goods by train, road or air and supporting entities, including empty goods vehicles; repair and refreshment shops/ highway dhabas; container depots
AGRICULTURE Farming, mandis, machinery shops, fertiliser mfg and distribution; fishing supply chain; tea/ coffee plantations (at 50% capacity); animal husbandry
FINANCIAL RBI-regulated markets and entities; bank branches and ATMs, IT vendors, cash management
agencies; insurance sector
HEALTHCARE Clinics, hospitals, medical and research labs; pharmacies, medical equipment shops; veterinary hospitals, all health sector manufacturing units