Coronavirus: DPIIT suggests Home Ministry to permit limited activity in select sectors with safeguards

Amid the coronavirus lockdown, the DPIIT has suggested to the Home Ministry to allow limited activity in certain sectors with reasonable safeguards.

13th Apr 2020
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The Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has suggested to the Home Ministry to allow limited activity in certain sectors such as heavy electricals and telecom equipment with reasonable safeguards amid the coronavirus lockdown.


In a letter to Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, the department said that these activities are essential to improve the economic situation and provide liquidity in the hands of the people.


"It is felt that certain more activities with reasonable safeguards should be allowed once a final decision regarding extension and nature of lockdown is taken by the central government," it said.
Coronavirus



The exit plan from the lockdown is recommended after getting suggestions from a detailed interaction with various states and industry bodies.


The Home Ministry did not respond to the letter of the DPIIT.


The department has suggested that industries which can be allowed to operate must ensure single entry points for workers, sufficient space for ensuring social distancing, use of separate transport for ferrying workers or make stay arrangements in factory premises, high-quality regular sanitisation of the premises, and state and district authorities, while allowing these new activities, should ensure strict observance of these conditions.


It has also recommended free movement of vehicles and manpower in certain sectors.


Big companies with proper sanitation and distancing norms in place in sectors such as textiles, automobiles and electronic manufacturing - 20 percent to 25 percent capacity in single shift may be considered to start with, according to the letter.


Besides those firms or MSMEs with export commitments need to be allowed to operate with minimal manpower and necessary movement of material as a new entity.


Certain industries, which can be permitted to start with minimum manpower and proper sanitation and distancing norms/safeguards on a single shift basis include telecom equipment and components including Optic Fiber Cable; compressor and condenser units; steel and ferrous Alloy mills; spinning and ginning mills, power looms; defence; cement plants; pulp and paper units; fertilizer plants; paints; plastic; automotive units; gems and jewellery; and all units in SEZs and EOUs.


Further, it has stated that housing and construction sectors need to be allowed if the labourers stay at the sites with all facilities and safeguards. Contractors shall ensure safety, sanitation and distancing norms.


It suggested that all transport vehicles of all sizes – whether inter-state, intra-state or intra-city – need to be allowed, whether empty or full, by all enforcement agencies without asking any questions.


The department has stated that all street vendors like fruit and vegetable sellers should be allowed by the states to improve doorstep delivery and also provide much-needed liquidity to this population.


It has also asked for certain repairing units like those individuals or small agencies involved in providing repair services for mobiles, refrigerators, air conditioners, televisions, plumbing, cobblers, ironing (dhobi), electrician, automobile mechanics, cycle should be allowed.


For the rubber sector, it has suggested that certain rubber items may be given priority for starting manufacturing, while keeping in mind the safety, sanitation and distancing norms. It can include pressure cooker gaskets, LPG hoses, adhesives, hospital rubber sheets, medical silicon, pharma stoppers, boots, catheters, anaesthesia bags, valves, and dental supplies.


Lastly, the department has recommended that timber, plywood and wood-based industry provides packaging material to pharma companies, FMCG and other companies producing essential commodities should also be allowed by state authorities.

(Edited by Saheli Sen Gupta)

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