During lockdown to control COVID-19, various clarifications were issued so as to ensure that essential services remain unaffected. However, it was felt that some more activities needed to be allowed with safeguard measures once the final decision regarding the extension and the nature of lockdown is taken by the Govt.

In order to ensure better functioning of industries and smooth supply of essential goods, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade Ministry of Commerce and Industry issued certain suggestions to be considered by the Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt of India.

Ministry of Home Affairs
Ministry of Home Affairs, New DelhiIANS

These new activities are essential to improve economic activity and provide liquidity in the hands of people. The suggestions stated by the Department outlined that industries need to make single entry points for workers with sufficient space for ensuring social distancing.

Separate transport for ferrying workers or make stay arrangements in factory premises will have to be made. High-quality regular sanitization of the premises needs to be ensured.

The document sent to MHA

State and District authorities, while allowing these new activities, should ensure strict observance of these conditions. Sectors such as textiles, automobiles and electronic manufacturing need to start with 20% to 25% capacity in a single shift.

Those companies / MSMEs with export commitments need to be allowed to operate with minimal manpower and necessary movement of material as a new entity. While granting passes, the concerned authorities may check details of the export commitments and allow accordingly.

Minimum manpower and proper sanitation

Further, the following industries may be permitted to start with minimum manpower and proper sanitation and distancing norms/safeguards on a single shift basis. Certain other industries including food and beverage and all units in SEZs and EOUs (Development Commissioners will be given the responsibility of ensuring sanitation and distancing norms/safeguards).

In all the above cases, district authorities will need to monitor and ensure that those sectors which are allowed exemption from lockdown adhere to safety, sanitation and distancing norms. Housing and construction sectors need to be allowed if the labourers stay at the sites with all facilities and safeguards. Contractors shall ensure safety, sanitation and distancing norms.

Doctors at the Coronavirus isolation ward at the Patna Medical College and Hospital, on March 14, 2020.IANS

All transport vehicles of all sizes, whether inter-State, intra-State or intra-city need to be allowed, whether empty or full, by all enforcement agencies without asking any question. All street vendors like fruit and vegetable sellers should be allowed by the States in order to improve doorstep delivery and also to provide much-needed liquidity to this population.

Industries manufacturing medical goods and rubber goods also should be allowed to function. Banks and customs should accept digital documents under bonds without insisting on the original document which can be produced when the lockdown is over. All activities related to agriculture inputs, and production, distribution and sale of agro-chemical need to function with added safeguard measures.