New Delhi, March 27 (IANS) With mad rush for stocking vegetables and groceries for the 21 days shutdown, the government realised ultimately it defeats the purpose for which the shutdown was brought in the first place — social distancing. Hence, the Home ministry wrote to Chief secretaries of all states and union territories clarifying the standard operating procedure (SOP).
The MHA insists that the purpose is to contain the spread of the virus while “maintaining supply of essential goods, including health infrastructure and home livery of foods”. Hence the MHA said all shops selling groceries, vegetables, meat products, milk products etc and their home delivery must be encouraged.
In what can bring smile on many faces, the MHA clearly stated that restaurants dog home delivery should be allowed to operate. Similarly storage facilities for essentials must also be allowed to operate just as transporters, drivers, loaders of essential goods should be allowed to ply, said the MHA.
The MHA further added that all manufacturing units of medicine and medical equipment should continue to operate.
E-commerce delivering essentials will also be allowed as stores or wholesale units shelling out essential goods, asserted the home ministry. Making it easier for the public, the MHA further clarified that “warehousing facilities with wholesalers and retailers of essential goods might have non essential goods, they should not be closed down for the fact that non essential items are also stored”.
However the e-commerce platforms are allowed only for essential deliveries and the government will hold an audit after the shutdown is over to ensure they complied with the government order.
But since many who are part of the supply chain are facing difficulties commenting, the MHA said an e-pass should be good enough or a certificate from local authorities.A But those from the unorganised sector yet part of essential deliveries, can commute on furnishing certificates from local authorities.
Meanwhile all state governments have been asked to open 24/7 helplines where consumers can complain if they face difficulty in procuring goods.
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 few complain of harassment, the MHA came out with a granular clarifications so that the essentials rich the public at this hour of need.