Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued guidelines for the lockdown 2.0 to curb the spread of the coronavirus. This time MHA has given a fillip to rural areas. Already it made a statement that every town and district will be closely monitored for the progress, and if the spread is contained, after April 20, provisions will be made to resume economic activities. As per the new guidelines, spitting in economic places is punishable with a fine, and wearing a face mask in public places and office has become mandatory.
Construction activities in rural areas can be allowed during the lockdown period, but in municipal areas, it is allowed provided the workers are staying in the site. Also, in rural areas, manufacturing, good processing, and other industries will be allowed to function. But cinema complexes, gymnasiums, sports complexes, swimming pools, bars, malls remain closed till May 13. This is an indirect form of support to the rural areas; the government is providing.
The coronavirus cases have surged past 11000 marks in the country, and worldwide it has crossed 20 lakh. The death toll in India is nearing 400. Despite several measures, the country is still countering from the stage-2 zone, good that the lockdown is extended. The latest guidelines also stated educational institutions, coaching centers, domestic and international air travel, and train services will continue to be halted till May 3. All the religious, social, and political functions are also closed till the date.
Nevertheless, the farming operations, which include procurement of agricultural products and agricultural marketing through certain mandis and direct and decentralized marketing, is allowed in areas which are not tagged as hotspots after April 20. Likewise, the supply chain of milk, milk products, poultry and livestock farming, tea, coffee, and rubber plantations will also resume after April 20.
As said, the economic activities in rural areas are taken care of to feed the poor and daily wage workers. “To provide support to the rural economy industries in rural areas like food processing industries, construction of roads, irrigation projects, buildings and industrial projects works under MNREGA with priority to irrigation and water conservation works have been allowed,” stated the guidelines.