Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, in a letter to Chief Secretaries of all the States and Union Territories, asked them to allow the transportation of all goods, without distinction of essential and non-essential, during the lockdown period. The Home Secretary made it clear that the newspaper delivery supply chain was also allowed under exemptions given for print media.
In the letter dated March 29, Bhalla wrote, "Kindly refer to my DO letter of even no. March 24, 2020, wherein an order dated March 24, 2020, under Section 10(2)(1) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 along with lockdown measures to be taken by Ministries and Departments of Government of India, and State Government/Union Territories, to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country was issued. This was followed by two Addendum orders dated March 25, 2020, and March 27, 2020, to the guidelines on the lockdown measure."
According to the letter, the entire supply chain of milk collection and distribution including its packaging material is allowed, the newspaper delivery supply chain is also allowed under print media.
He also clarified that 'Pension' under exemptions to clause 2(g) include pension and provident fund services provided by the Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), services of Indian Red Cross Society are also included under Clause 3, groceries include hygiene products such as hand washes, soaps, disinfectants, body wash, shampoos, surface cleaners, detergents, and tissue papers, toothpaste, oral care, sanitary pads, diapers, battery cells, chargers, etc.
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Sunday ordered the state governments to seal their borders and strictly enforce the lockdown.
The centre also asked to provide food and shelter to those stranded, including migrant workers. It also asked them to put in quarantine those who have already left for their hometowns.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week announced a 21-day lockdown in the country in a bid to reduce the transmission of the highly contagious Coronavirus.
There are 1024 positive cases of novel Coronavirus in India and the death toll reached 27 on Sunday, according to the latest official figures released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The total number of COVID-19 cases across the world has surpassed 6,90,000 and there have been over 33,034 coronavirus-related deaths as on Sunday.
A vaccine is still at least 12 to 18 months away, the World Health Organization said, urging the countries to "unite to fight the pandemic together".
(With agency inputs)