The Union Government has made it a top priority to maintain adequate food supply across the country during the 21-day lockdown.
In the last few days, it has taken some critical steps to ensure food security to tide over the Coronavirus crisis.
Last Friday, the Government exempted all farming and related activities from lockdown rules that are in force since March 23.
The revised exemption list includes farmworkers in fields and farming operations by farmers, mandis notified by State Governments, inter and intra-state movement of harvesting and sowing related machines and manufacturing, packaging units of fertilisers, pesticides and seeds, among others.
Agencies procuring agriculture products like the Food Corporation of India, NAFED and other state agencies that buy foodgrains and pulses from farmers at minimum support price have also been exempted from lockdown rules to ensure smooth procurement operations ahead of the fresh harvest season.
The relaxation for activities related to agriculture-farming is expected to help in the smooth harvesting of rabi crops in the coming days.
Directions have been issued to the concerned ministries and departments and designated officials of states and UTs to facilitate unhindered activities related to agriculture and farming so as to ensure essential supplies and ease difficulties faced by farmers.
The decision was taken in view of the difficulties that farmers could face in harvesting their crops and transporting food grains to the mandis.
The issue was urgently considered at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s directions and guidelines were issued in the interest of farmers and related communities.
Following the directive, harvesting of rabi crops like wheat, corn, pulses and mustard has already started in some places, and will pick up in the next few days.