Amid the rising Covid-19 positive cases, the Indian Government announced the extension of the lockdown period to another 14 days.
Now, the Lockdown 4.0 has begun in India and will remain up to May 31, 2020.
After a slew of measures for strengthening the industry, the government continues to focus on economic revival throughout this phase.
With the majority of the migrant workers heading home, the Center has announced a 65 percent hike in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGA) funds.
These funds will be released under the fifth and last tranche of the ‘Atma Nirbhar Bharat’ package.
The Center has also increased the states’ borrowing limit from 3 to 5 percent, giving states an additional borrowing headroom of another Rs. 4.28 lakh crore.
With curbs relaxed on markets, industries, businesses and offices, the Center left it to states on intra and interstate transportation of passenger vehicles and means of public transport.
Other means of transport like taxis and auto-rickshaws also received relaxations.
“Delineation of red, green and orange zones will be decided by the state and UT governments after taking into consideration the parameters shared by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,” reads a statement released earlier today.
“The zones can be a district, or a municipal corporation/ municipality or even smaller administrative units such as sub-divisions, etc., as decided by states and UTs,” said the Home Ministry after states raised issues about Center’s categorizing of areas at the state levels.
Public places like hotels, malls, theaters, gyms will remain shut, while restaurants can now prepare food for home delivery.
E-Commerce services in red zones are also likely to resume very soon.
The restrictions on the number of passengers in cars and bikes, for both read and orange zones, were also lifted. While the buses will continue to maintain social distancing with 50 percent occupancy.
Overall, the public movement will continue to be restricted from 7 am-7 pm, except for essential requirements, while the night curfew will remain.
“There shall be strict perimeter control to ensure that there is no movement of people in or out of these zones, except for medical emergencies and for maintaining the supply of essential goods and services,” the Ministry of Home Affairs said in a statement.
All curbs on industries have been lifted, irrespective of the zones.
Coming to the case of workplaces, the government has removed 33 percent limitation on employee attendance in private companies. Allowing 100 percent attendance, the Center asked them companies to encourage ‘work from home’ to the extent possible.
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Unlike a ‘mandatory’ thing in previous phases, the Center continued its emphasis on the usage of the Aarogya Setu app to the extent possible. It exempted people with no smartphones and removed making it ‘mandatory’ even in containment zones.
Overall, the Center asked the states to take complete responsibility for lockdown and full ownership of its Covid-19 response measures.
Meanwhile, the Covid-19 positive cases are rising to big numbers, with the latest number being 96,163 (closer to the 1 lakh mark).