- State Disaster Response Force allowed to provide food to migrant workers
- Newspaper delivery supply chain allowed
- India under 21-day lockdown, cases cross 1,000 on Sunday
The centre has asked the states and Union Territories to allow the transportation of goods without the essential and non-essential distinction during the ongoing 21-day coronavirus lockdown, announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week. The delivery of newspapers, the supply chain of milk collection and distribution, and the supply of groceries including hygiene products are to be allowed, Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla said in a letter to the states and UTs.
"Entire supply chain of milk collection and distribution, including its packaging material is allowed," Mr Bhalla said in the letter.
"Newspaper delivery supply chain is also allowed under print media," he added.
"Groceries including hygiene products such as hand washes, soaps, disinfectants, body wash, shampoos, surface cleaners, detergents and tissue papers, toothpaste/oral care, sanitary pads and diapers, battery cells, chargers" are allowed, the letter said.
The central government has also allowed use of SDRF (State Disaster Response Force) for providing food and essentials to homeless people, including migrant labourers, stranded because of the lockdown.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week announced a total shutdown in the country to check transmission of the highly contagious virus.
Though he said there wouldn't be any dearth of essential items for the masses, supplies have been hit. Last week there were reports of police harassing the essential services workers.
Thousands of daily-wage migrant workers - who were left jobless because of the lockdown and had no means for sustenance – are leaving big cities for their hometowns on foot.
After an outcry, several state governments have arranged transportation for the stranded workers. However, the authorities fear they may carry the virus to their cities and villages.
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.
Coronavirus has killed 27 people in India, with total active cases crossing the 1000-mark on Sunday. Globally, over 30,000 people have died because of the virus.