COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

The country is under lockdown to control the COVID-19 since 23-03-2020. However, to ensure that the essential supplies are not affected. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has from time to time issued clarifications on what activities are to be allowed Accordingly, efforts are being made across the country to ensure the essential supplies are not affected and so far, barring certain issues, the supplies have been satisfactory, thanks to the pro-active steps of the Central Government and State Governments.

However, it is felt that certain more activities with reasonable safeguards should be allowed once a final decision regarding extension and nature of lockdown is taken by the Central Government. These new activities are essential to improve the economic activity and provide liquidity in the hands of the people. These suggestions have been obtained on the basis of very detailed interaction of the Hon’ble CIM with the various States and industry bodies, and the feedback received by DoC and DPIIT from various sources. These suggestions have been examined by us and have been recommended for consideration of MHA as new activities to be allowed in addition to those already allowed under various notifications of MHA. These suggestions are given in the Annexure attached herewith for your kind perusal and necessary action. I am sure other Ministries like Agriculture are approaching MHA separately for allowing activities like harvesting etc. that they consider crucial.

Annexure

  1. Industries which shall be allowed to operate must ensure the following:
  • Single entry points for workers
  • Sufficient space for ensuring social distancing
  • Use of separate transport for ferrying workers or make stay arrangement in factory premises.
  • High quality regular sanitization of premises
  • State and District authorities, while allowing these new activities, should ensure strict observance of these conditions.

2. Free movement of all vehicles and manpower required for continuing the activities permitted so far under various MHA notifications needs to be allowed by all government authorities concerned with movement of man and material. We are facing a lot of problems on this and very clear reiteration of the MHA stand to allow free movement of vehicles and manpower in these sectors needs to be done.

3. Big companies with proper sanitisation and distancing norms in place in sectors such as textiles, automobiles and electronic manufacturing (20% to 25% capacity in single shift may be considered to start with.)

4. 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.

5. Further, following industries maybe permitted to start with minimum manpower and proper sanitisation and distancing norms/safeguards on a single shift basis:

  • Heavy electrical items like Transformers and Circuit vehicles
  • Telecom equipment and components including Optic fiber Cable
  • Compressor and Condenser units
  • Steel and Ferrous Alloy mills
  • Spinning and Ginning mills, power looms
  • Defence and defence ancilliary units
  • Cement plans
  • Pulp and paper units (production can be resumed in clusters where COVID 19 cases are low based on the date by the State authorities)
  • Fertilizer plants
  • Paints and dyes manufacturing
  • All types of food and beverages
  • Seeds processing units
  • Plastic manufacturing units
  • Automotive units
  • Gems and Jewellery sector units (big and organized)
  • All units in SEZs and EOUs (Development Commissioners will be given responsibility of ensuring sanitation and distancing norms/safeguards)

In all the above cases, district authorities to monitor and ensure that those sectors which are allowed exemption from ,lockdown need to adhere to safety, sanitation and distancing norms.

6. Industries of the nature of continuous production like steel, power and mining etc. are already exempted under lockdown as per MHA Guidelines and should continue to be allowed.

7. Shifts may be so operated that it does not lead to crowding during beginning/end of shift.

8. 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.

9. 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.

10. All employers whose entity is allowed to operate, may be allowed to ask the labourers to report for duty. If labourers do not report for duty, no salary guarantee without work will be the responsibility of the employer. This need to be clarified by Ministry of Labour.

11. All street vendors like fruit and vegetable sellers should be allowed by the State in order to improve doorstep delivery and also to provide much needed liquidity to this population.

12. Certain repairing units like those individuals or small agencies involved in providing repair services in mobile, electrical items like refrigerator, air conditioner, television etc., plumbing, cobblers, ironing (dhobi), electrician, automobile mechanics, cycle repair mechanics should be allowed. However, these individuals should also carry their ID cards and operate at their stalls or traditional sites. This will help the citizens under lockdown to avail these critical services and also provide them cash liquidity, which is required very much. Also, these services do not lead to any crowding. E-commerce entities providing such repair services may also be allowed.

13. Rubber (certain rubber items are essential items related to medical/health care and domestic system related manufacturing items. Such  rubber items may be given priority for starting manufacturing, while keeping in mind the safety, sanitation and distancing norms.

i) Pressure cooker gaskets

ii) LPG hoses

iii) Surgical gloves

iv) Adhesives

v) Hospital rubber sheets

vi) Medical – silicon

vii) Pharmaceutical stoppers for drugs

viii) Latex goods

ix) Trolley wheels for hospital sectors

x) Rubber coated aprons

xi) Adhesives for face masks

xii) Rubber boots / safety shoes

xiii) Catheters

xiv) Medical devices

xv) IV Tubing

xvi) Anaesthesia  bags

xvii) Ventilator bellows

xviii) Rubber valves

xix) Rubber stoppers for IV (Saline/Dextrose) bottles

(xx) Dental supplies (rubber dams, gloves, rubber thread and dental bands), etc.

14. Timber, plywood and wood based industry provides packaging material to pharma companies, FMCG and other companies producing essential commodities. These could also be allowed by State authorities.

15. Glass and foundry industry may be allowed with their minimal manpower to keep the manufacturing in a continuous recycling mode with minimal manpower.

16. Banks and customs should accept digital documents under bonds without insisting on the original document which can be produced when the lockdown is over.

17. All activities related to agriculture inputs, and production, distribution and sale of agro-chemical.

Case BriefsCOVID 19High Courts

Andhra Pradesh High Court, Amravati: J.K. Maheshwari, CJ while providing an ad interim relief directed the State Authorities to permit vehicles transporting fishes and shrimps and include the same under the category of “essential supplies”.

In the present matter, direction is sought for permitting transportation of fishes and shrimps and the same to be included in the category of “essential supplies” in view of the letter dated 24-03-2020 addressed by Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying to the Chief of Secretaries of all States/Union Territories.

Aqua culture is one of the business, including food and civil supplies in the State of Andhra Pradesh.

Due to the nationwide lockdown, transportation of fishes and shrimps (prawns) is stated to being interrupted by local authorities.

Thus, the bench in view of the above, directed that vehicles transporting fishes and shrimps may be permitted by State authorities including the same under “essential supplies” subject to such conditions, if any, they want to impose.

Matter to be listed after 3 weeks.[M. Janakirama Raju v. State of A.P.,  2020 SCC OnLine AP 41, decided on 31-03-2020]

COVID 19Hot Off The PressNews

1. In continuation of the measures taken in the wake of COVID-19, it has been decided that all passenger train services on Indian Railways including Premium trains, Mail/Express trains, Passenger trains, Suburban Trains, Kolkata Metro Rail, Konkan Railway etc shall be cancelled till the 2400hrs of 31.03.2020. However, bare minimum level of services of suburban trains and Kolkata Metro Rail shall continue upto 2400 hrs of 22.03.2020.

2. Trains which had already commenced their journey, prior to 0400 hrs of 22.03.2020, will run up to their destinations. Adequate arrangements shall be made for the passengers, who have commenced their journey during the travel and at their destinations.

3. To ensure the essential supplies in various parts of the country, movement of goods trains will continue.

4. To make it more convenient for passengers, full refund for all cancelled trains may be taken till 21.06.2020. Adequate arrangements shall be made to facilitate hassle-free refund to passengers affected by train cancellations.


Ministry of Railways

[Source: PIB]

[Press Release dt. 22-03-2020]