NEW DELHI: The Central government on Wednesday issued an advisory to private security agencies, asking them to adopt a "humane" approach during the 21 days countrywide lockdown and not sack its employees or cut their salaries.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which will be monitoring the shutdown on a daily basis, said India is facing an "unprecedented situation arising out of COVID-19 pandemic" and the agencies are likely to be impacted in the coming days due to closure of shops, malls and establishments.
Accepting that the pandemic has affected economic activity, MHA urged the agencies to exercise empathy with its workforce.
"This is the time for private security industry to adopt a humane approach and protect its workers and staff members from lay-offs and consequent decrease in earnings. I would, therefore, urge the industry for empathy with its workforce, vital to its functioning and ensure that these workers continue to be treated on duty and paid accordingly," read the advisory issued by MHA.
The Centre has directed the state governments to ensure unhindered operation of essential services and their seamless availability for the general public during the 21-day lockdown period. It has also asked states and Union Territories to check the spread of rumours relating to shortage of food and other essential services and commodities.
In a communication to chief secretaries and DGPs of all states, the MHA said all states and UTs should actively enforce social distancing and isolation for COVID-19 through lockdown and prohibitory measures with exemptions for supply chain and transportation of essential goods and services in and out of the state.
States and UTs have been asked to set up 24x7 control rooms and helplines "to address any grievance or undue problems faced by the providers of goods/ services including during inter-state movement".
So far, India has reported 562 cases of corona virus (including 40 cured/discharged and 9 deaths).
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced a complete lockdown across the country for 21 days from midnight tonight to contain the spread of coronavirus. He warned that if Indians do not observe social distancing, the country may have to pay an unimaginable cost. He assured people that governments will ensure the supply of essential items and asked them to stay home.