MHA’s New Circular Exempts Agricultural Sector From Coronavirus Lockdown Orders, Asks Farm Workers to Strictly Adhere to Social Distancing Norms
Indian farmers | Representational Image. (Photo Credit: PTI)

New Delhi, April 3: The Union Home Ministry on Friday released an addendum to the guidelines issued regarding lockdown to exempt shops of agricultural machinery, its spare parts and repair. Apart from this, the MHA also allowed plantations with maximum 50 workers. The latest decision comes a day after Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had allowed harvesting of the crops on condition that social distancing is practiced by the farm workers.

Among the major annoucements, made by the Home Ministry, shops of agricultural machinery, its spare parts -- including supply chain, and repair have been exempted from the lockdown. Also, truck repair shops on highways and tea industry -- including plantations with maximum 50 workers have been allowed to remain open in order to rotate the wheels of farm productions and maintain supply chain amid coronavirus lockdown. Centre Allows Harvesting of Crops on Condition that Social Distancing is Practiced by Farm Workers, Exempts Sale of Agricultural Goods From COVID-19 Lockdown.

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However, the MHA made it very clear that social distancing and proper hygience parctices must be ensured in each of the above activities as well as activities permitted by earlier orders. The MHA also stated that it would be the responsibility of the head of organisations/establishment to ensure compliance of such norms, and mentioned that district authorities will ensure strict enforcement.

Earlier on Thursday, Union Agriculture Minister had said, "Prime Minister has allowed harvesting of the crops on condition that social distancing is practiced by the farm workers. Transportation of harvesting machines have also been exempted during the corona lockdown."

Adding more, he said "We are ensuring availability of food and other essential commodities throughout the country. Agriculture is prime activity in our country,so sale of related items like pesticides, fertilisers, seeds are exempted from the coronavirus lockdown." Fighting COVID-19: Finance Ministry Releases Rs 17,287 Crore to 14 States; Kerala, Punjab and West Bengal Among Beneficiaries. 

India is currently under 21-day lockdown since March 25, 2020, due to COVID-19 outbreak in the country. During this time, PM Modi has shared creative ideas to make best use of the quarantine period. The premier has also been sharing a series of yoga exercises to promote fitness while staying at home.

The total number of COVID-19 positive cases in India has reached to 2547, according to the last update of Union Health Ministry. Out of these 2547 cases, 2322 are active cases. The Health Ministry, in its latest update, stated that 62 deaths have been reported in India so far.