MUMBAI: Maharashtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Saturday said the state's economy will be given momentum in phases during the COVID-19 lockdown, which will remain effective till May 3.
Pawar's remark comes a day after Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced that some industrial and commercial activities will resume from April 20, in keeping with the norms put in place to fight the pandemic.
In an official statement, Pawar said the railway and metro services will remain non-operational, while public events and outdoor celebration of festivals will also not be allowed during the lockdown.
"The lockdown will be observed strictly. But at the same time, permission has been granted in a limited manner in keeping with COVID-19 guidelines to ensure that essential services remain uninterrupted, farming-related activities begin on time and to give stimuli to the economy," he said.
The supply of essential commodities will remain uninterrupted during this period, the NCP leader said, adding that hospitals, pharmacies, pathology centres and ambulance services will also remain functional.
No restrictions were imposed on agriculture and allied activities and permissions were granted on condition that precautions are taken, the Deputy Chief Minister said.
The government will purchase tur dal, gram and cotton, while dairy, fisheries and MNREGA works have also been permitted to resume, he said.
Although anganwadis will remain shut during the lockdown, nutritious meals will be delivered to children at their homes, he said.
"Schools and colleges will remain shut during the lockdown, but educational institutions have been asked to encourage virtual schooling," he added.
Pawar said although banks and other financial institutions continue to function, citizens should not congregate there and observe social distancing.
"Everyone should cooperate with (authorities during the) lockdown to win the battle against coronavirus in the state. Stay home, stay safe," he urged.