Govt relaxes rules on supply of hygine products, newspapers

New Delhi, March 29 (IANS) A fresh Home Ministry guideline on Sunday gave relaxation in interstate movement of grocery items such as hygine products like hand washes, soaps, disinfectants and body wash shampoo; and supply of newspaper during lockdown to contain COVID-19 pandemic.

Surface cleaners, detergents, tissue papers, toothpaste or oral care, sanitary pads and diapers, battery cells and chargers have also been in the list of grocery items for their inter-state transportation during the 21-day nationwide lockdown.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla in a letter to all Chief Secretaries of states requested them to lay down additional categories of essential goods and services exempted under the Disaster Management Act 2005.

Ministry sources said the relaxation is for interstate movement of goods and not for e-commerce and non-essential goods.

As per the first addendum in the guideline, transportation of all goods, without distinction of essential and non-essential goods have been allowed.

Pension under exemptions include pension and provident fund services provided by Employees Provdent Fund Organisation (EPFO), it said.

Services of Indian Red Cross Society are also included in the guideline which mentions that 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,” the order said.

In the order letter, Bhalla said: “I would also like to inform that the Central Government has also allowed use of SDRF (State Disaster Relief Funds) for homeless people, including migrant labourers, stranded due to lockdown

measures, and sheltered in the relief camps and other places for providing them food for the containment of Covid-19.”

Earlier on Sunday, the Home Ministry issued another order for strict implementation of additional measures to stop movement of migrants and providing them with quarantine facilities, shelter, food, and ensuring payment of wages and non-eviction by their landlords.

“District authorities and field agencies may be informed accordingly so as to avoid any ambiguity at the ground level,” the oder stated.

The Home Ministry has issued various guidelines since Tuesday when Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a complete lockdown in the country to exempt the supply of essential items.

Meanwhile, the Ministry has advised the state governments and Union Territories (UTs) to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country and follow the lockdown measures.

The fresh guideline is followed by two addendum orders dated March 25 an March 27 to the guidelines on lockdown measure.

India has gone into a 21-day nationwide shutdown to arrest the spread of coronavirus. But since many in the supply chain are apprehensive and a few have complained of harassment, the MHA came out with a granular clarifications so that the essentials reach the people at this hour of need.



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