On Friday, the Ministry of Home Affairs directed the states to ensure that the exemptions under the lockdown pertaining to agricultural operations are communicated at the ground level. According to the MHA, the directive allowing farming operations, procurement of agricultural production, movement of harvesting and sowing related machinery has not percolated at the field level. At the same, the letter addressed to the Chief Secretary of all the states mentioned that social distancing must be maintained during the farming operations.
#IndiaFightsCOVID19— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) April 3, 2020
MHA writes to States again to ensure that exceptions allowed under #Lockdown21 measures, w.r.t. farming operations, be communicated to all field agencies; Smooth harvesting and sowing operations, while maintaining #SocialDistancing, need to be ensured. pic.twitter.com/oTNw6k7FsN
After Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement of a nationwide lockdown, the MHA issued an order detailing guidelines for the nationwide lockdown. As per the order, all offices of the government barring for those providing essential services will remain shut. The exemptions include print and electronic media, shops selling essential items, e-delivery of food, medical equipment, banks, petrol pumps, etc. The suspension of transport and hospitality services shall continue. Subsequently, three Addendums to the original guidelines were issued by the MHA, extending the list of exemptions.
Via the second Addendum issued on March 27, farming and its related activities were designated as essential goods and services and thereby can remain operational during the lockdown period. As per the order, agencies engaged in the procurement of agricultural products, mandis operated by the APMCs or notified by the state government, farming operations and manufacturing units of fertilizers, pesticides, and seeds have been exempted from the lockdown. Also, inter-state and intra-state movement of harvesting has been allowed by the MHA.
#IndiaFightsCoronavirus— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) March 27, 2020
MHA issues second Addendum to the guidelines issued reg. #lockdownindia and lays down additional categories of essential goods and services, related to agricultural operations, exempted under the Disaster Management Act. pic.twitter.com/dqrYlIviya https://t.co/cE9BJuVz3m pic.twitter.com/kychRmSdDr