The Government on Wednesday said that agricultural and related activities, including fisheries, tea, coffee and rubber plantations, Animal husbandry and MGNREGA works will be permitted from April 20 during the second phase of the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown till May 3.
The permitted activities from April 20, are aimed at ensuring that agricultural and related activities remain fully functional, the rural economy functions with maximum efficiency, employment opportunities are created for daily wage earners and other members of the labour force, select industrial activities are allowed to resume their operations, with adequate safeguards and mandatory standard operating protocols (SOPs) and the digital economy. “All agricultural and horticultural activities to remain fully functional,” revised guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs’ guidelines said.
As per the fresh guidelines issued by the Government, Farming operations and farm workers in the field, agencies engaged in procurement of agri-products, including MSP operations have been allowed. Manufacturing, distribution and retail of fertilisers, pesticides and seeds has been allowed. Operations of the fishing(Marine and inland)/ aquaculture industry including feeding, maintenance, harvesting, processing, packaging, cold chain, sale and marketing have been permitted. Operations of tea, coffee and rubber plantations has been permitted with maximum 50 per cent workers. Processing, packaging, sale and marketing of tea, coffee, rubber cashew have been permitted with maximum 50 per cent workers. Collection, processing, distribution and sale of milk and milk products by milk processing plants, including transport and supply chain has been permitted. Transportation of goods will be permitted without any distinction of essential or non essential.
To provide an impetus to the rural economy, industries operating in rural areas, including food processing industries; construction of roads, irrigation projects, buildings and industrial projects in rural areas; works under MGNREGA, with priority to irrigation and water conservation works; and operation of rural Common Service Centres (CSCs) have all been allowed. These activities will create job opportunities for rural labour, including the migrant labour force. The objective of the revised guidelines is to consolidate the gains achieved during the 1st phase of lockdown and further slow down the spread of COVID-19 and at the same time provide relief to farmers, labourers and daily wage earners. In sum, the revised consolidated guidelines are aimed at operating those sectors of the economy which are critical from the perspective of rural and agricultural development and job creation, while maintaining strict protocols in areas where safety is paramount to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The nationwide lockdown is aimed to contain the spread of the pandemic that has killed over 370 people and infected over 11,000 in the country
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