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India plans for staggered exit from lockdown resuming economic activities in Covid-free zones

India plans for staggered exit from lockdown resuming economic activities in Covid-free zones

IBNS | @indiablooms | 27 Apr 2020, 10:49 am

New Delhi/IBNS: India, the country of 1.3 billion people, is likely to witness a partial resumption of economic activities post May 3 as the Narendra Modi government has hinted at a staggered exit from the nationwide anti-Covid-19 lockdown.

In an online meeting with several Chief Ministers, who govern various states of the country, Modi on Monday reportedly said the economic activities are likely to resume in green zones which are dearth of any Covid case.

The red and orange zones, where there are reports of Coronavirus cases, are likely to have the lockdown activated though some MSMEs are likely to be  exempted post May 3, several news reports claimed.

Conrad Sangma, the Chief Minister of hill state Meghalaya, batted for an extension of the lockdown in red and orange zones in the meeting which lasted for almost four hours.

In a post-meeting tweet, Sangma wrote, "At the video conference called by the Hon’ble PM @narendramodi ji and Hon’ble Home Minister, @AmitShah ji. We have mooted to continue with the lockdown post May 3rd with relaxation on activities in Green Zones or Non-Covid affected districts in #Meghalaya."

India went into the lockdown mode first on Mar 24 midnight after Prime Minister Modi announced the restrictions to stem the spread of the pandemic virus.

Though initially the lockdown was called for 21 days, the PM on Apr 14 extended it till May 3.

Even if the country has witnessed a rapid increase in the number of positive cases during the lockdown, the government has claimed the tally could have been further steep had people not been boxed in their houses.

Keeping in view of the humanitarian crisis caused by the shutdown which has left the daily wagers and migrant labourers to suffer, the central government has announced several relaxations post Apr 20.

The relaxations, however, have barred opening of barbers' shop, salons, beauty parlours, restaurants.

As per the government update, 27,892 people including 6,185 cured and 872 deceased have so far been infected with the contagion in India.

Handing out help to the migrant workers of her state stuck in various parts of the country, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said her government was working to get those people back in their homes.

"GoWB will initiate every possible help to people of Bengal stuck in diff parts of the country due to lockdown,in returning home. I've instructed my officers to do the needful. Till the time I'm here, nobody from Bengal should feel helpless. I'm with you in these tough times(1/2)," Banerjee tweeted.

She said: "I am personally overseeing this & we will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that everyone gets any possible help. The initiation has already started & all students from Bengal stuck in Kota would begin their journey back soon." 

Similar steps have been undertaken by Banerjee's Punjab counterpart Captain Amarinder Singh who has helped 150 students to return to his state.

Singh tweeted, "Happy to share with you all that 150 students from Kota are on their way to Punjab in 7 buses and will reach tomorrow morning. Also, 60 Punjab Govt buses are going to Jaisalmer to ferry around 2,700 Punjabis who are stranded in 5 relief camps there."

The CM added, "A quick update from Hazur Sahib, Nanded. 219 pilgrims have already reached their homes & another 643 will reach Punjab starting tonight. Besides, 80 buses of Punjab Government will reach Nanded tomorrow morning & start back with the remaining pilgrims immediately thereafter."

Meanwhile in a stimulus package, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the central bank of India, on Monday announced a special liquidity facility worth Rs 50,000 crore for Mutual Funds.

"The RBI has stated that it remains vigilant and will take whatever steps are necessary to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 and preserve financial stability. With a view to easing liquidity pressures on MFs, it has been decided to open a special liquidity facility for mutual funds of ` 50, 000 crore," read the statement issued by the RBI.

"Under the SLF-MF, the RBI shall conduct repo operations of 90 days tenor at the fixed repo rate. The SLF-MF is on-tap and open-ended, and banks can submit their bids to avail funding on any day from Monday to Friday (excluding holidays)," it said.

"The scheme is available from today i.e., April 27, 2020 till May 11, 2020 or up to utilization of the allocated amount, whichever is earlier. The Reserve Bank will review the timeline and amount, depending upon market conditions," the statement further read.

Earlier the central government had unveiled a special package worth Rs. 1,76,000 crore to help the poor and health workers who are fighting the contagion being in the frontline.

(Images: UNI)