MHA issues fresh guidelines on lockdown exemption


File photo: Ministry of Home Affairs

File photo: Ministry of Home Affairs

The home ministry on Wednesday issued fresh guidelines covering additional people and services who will be exempted from the 21-day lockdown announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In the new guidelines, the ministry said Reserve Bank of India and RBI-regulated financial markets, pay and accounts officers and field officers of the CAG, petroleum products and supply chain and forest staff are exempted from the purview of the lockdown.

Those people handling cargo operations in airports and railway stations, coal mining activities, officers and staff of resident commissioners based in Delhi and customs clearance at ports, airports and land borders are also exempted.

Forest offices staff and workers required to operate and maintain zoo, nurseries, wildlife, fire fighting in forests, watering plantations, patrolling and their necessary transport movement, social welfare department staff for operations of homes for children, disabled, senior citizens, destitute women, widows, observation homes and pensions service are also exempted, the guidelines said.

The lockdown was announced by the prime minister on Tuesday in a bid to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

After Modi’s announcement, the home ministry on Tuesday night issued some guidelines for enforcement of the nationwide lockdown.

The guidelines listed several services including government and private offices that will be out of bounds during the period, while exempting establishments such as hospitals, ration shops, dairies, banks, insurance offices, and print and electronic media.

Delivery of all essential goods including food, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment through e-commerce has also been exempted from the purview of the lockdown.

“All enforcing authorities to note that these strict restrictions fundamentally relate to movement of people, but not to that of essential goods,” the guidelines issued on Tuesday said.

In Wednesday’s guidelines, veterinary hospitals, pharmacies (including Jan Aushadhi Kendra) and pharmaceutical research laboratories, IT vendor for banking operations, banking correspondent and ATM operations and cash management agencies were exempted.

Shops for seeds and pesticides data and call centre for government, manufacturing units of essential goods, including drugs, pharmaceutical, medical devices, their raw material and intermediates, coal and mineral production, transportation, supply of explosives and activities incidental to mining operations were exempted from the 21-day lockdown.

Manufacturing units of packaging material for food items, drugs, pharmaceutical and medical devices, 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 were also exempted.

The guidelines on Tuesday said all educational, training, research, coaching institutions etc., shall remain closed, places of worship shall remain closed. No religious congregations will be permitted, without any exception.

“All social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions gatherings shall be barred,” they said.