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Coronavirus: Lockdown 2.0 Guidelines

Note: The content herein is only for informational purpose and does not constitute any legal opinion or advice on behalf of Legal Minds LLP.

The unexpected outbreak of COVID-19 has disrupted global economic activity and resulted in several lockdowns and limitations. To combat the proliferation of COVID-19, the Government of India has, amongst other things, directed all establishments (except establishments providing essential goods and services) to temporarily shut down their physical premises and suspend operations. 

Amidst the extended lockdown, the Ministry of Home Affairs (the MHA) via Order No. 40-3/2020-DM-I-A dated 15th April 2020, notified the Consolidated Revised Guidelines (CRGs) to be operationalised by the States, Union Territories (UTs), and District Administrations (DAs) in addition to the existing guidelines with effect from 20th April 2020 until 3rd May 2020. Further, the respective State Governments shall ensure the strict implementation of these CRGs. 

Consolidated Revised Guidelines.

1. Prohibition of Certain Activities. All modes of public transport, including buses, metros, cabs, rickshaws shall continually cease to function along with airways and trains (inter District/State) until 3rd May 2020, subject to certain exceptions for medical, veterinary, research, and security purposes. 

Further, all social institutions relating to education, religion, and places of leisure and entertainment activities including industrial/commercial activities (unless expressly permitted under the CRG) shall be non-operational until 3rd May 2020. However, an assembly of a maximum twenty (20) persons may be allowed, subject to certain restrictions. 

2. Demarcation and Regulation of Hotspots and Containment Zones. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) shall proactively identify high-risk Hotspots. Further, the respective Government shall demarcate Containment Zones (CZs) within the Hotspots. These CZs shall be under strict perimeter control measures, with extreme regulation of inward/outward movement of individuals, except for the maintenance of essential services and the continuance of Government Business practices.

3. Permitted Additional Activities. The CRG permit the organisation of prescribed activities from the 20th April 2020 in areas not identified as Hotspots or demarcated as Containment Zones. Subsequently, if any area shall be determined as a Hotspot or Containment Zone, the permission to carry out the prescribed commercial activity, except essential services, shall stand revoked. 

Such permitted additional activity shall be subject to the stringent implementation of prescribed containment measures within the establishment. 

The expressly permitted activities are as follows: 

I. All Health and Medical Services, including AYUSH, shall have complete autonomy to remain functional.

II. Agricultural and Related Activities, with certain limitations, are permitted to function:

i. Fully Functional Activities. All agriculture and horticulture operations shall be fully functional.

ii. Limited Functional Activities.

  1. Fisheries: Broadly, aquaculture, hatcheries, commercial aquaria, fish seed/feed movement for all these purposes shall be functional.

  2. Plantations. Broadly, the processing, packaging, sale and marketing of tea, coffee, rubber and cashews with a maximum of 50% of workers shall remain functional.

  3. Animal Husbandry. Broadly, the collection, processing and distribution of milk, animal husbandry farms, animal feed manufacturing, animal shelter homes shall remain functional.

III. Financial Sector. The Reserve Bank of India (the RBI) and its regulated financial markets and entities, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (the SEBI) and debt market services, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (the IRDAI) and Insurance Companies, Banks and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) along with its Information Technology (IT) vendors shall be operational. The local administration shall provide adequate security personnel to ensure the proper implementation and enforcement of these CRGs.

IV. Social Sector. Homes for Children and Vulnerable Individuals, Observation Homes and Juvenile Safety Centres shall be operational. Further, there shall be the disbursement of social security pensions. 

V. Education. The guidelines promote online/distant education and encourage the more robust usage of Doordarshan (DD) educational channels.

VI. MNREGA Works. Activities of MNREGA shall be fully operational with a strict implementation of the measures prescribed under the CRGs.

VII. Public Utilities. Public Utilities, such as Oil & Gas sector, power, postal services, water, sanitation, waste management at municipal levels, telecommunication, and internet service providers, shall be operational.

VIII. Transportation. The movement/cargo via various modes of transport for essential services, relief, evacuation, and the transport of contractual labour (subject to authorisations) shall be operational. 

IX. Essential Goods. The supply of essential goods via local/mortar stores, e-commerce companies, kiranas shall be allowed subject to the proper implementation and enforcement of the social distancing measures.

X. Commercial & Private Establishments. The prescribed commercial and private establishments, industrial establishments, construction activities of certain types shall be functional, with exclusive transportation, sanitary, thermal screening, and accommodation facilities for its labour. 

XI. Movement. The movement of persons via personal vehicles shall be permitted only for medical and essential purposes with particular seating guidelines. 

XII. Government Offices. The Offices of the Government of India, State Government and the Union Territories shall be functional with specific attendance regulation and with the mandatory implementation of sanitary and social distancing parameters.

4.   Enforcement Directions. The District Magistrate shall strictly enforce the National COVID-19 lockdown and containment measures in consideration of these Consolidated Revised Guidelines. Further, Executive Magistrates shall be deployed as Incident Commanders by the District Magistrate in their local jurisdictions for the better implementation of these measures, and the continuance of essential and medical services without any hindrance. 

Furthermore, the Ministry of Home Affairs has clarified that the commencement of these additional activities shall be in a phased manner from 20th April 2020.  

5.   Implications for violation. Any person found in violation of the measures laid therein shall be liable to be proceeded against under Sections 51-60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, along with a penal action under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. 

Conclusion. To effectively contain and combat the proliferation of COVID-19, the Ministry of Home Affairs has prescribed proactive measures for the implementation and enforcement of the Consolidated Revised Guidelines. It is urged that everyone abide by the prescribed guidelines and facilitate the successful containment of COVID-19.