The Union Home Ministry on Saturday issued the Unlock 4 guidelines under which metro trains will be allowed to resume services from September 7 in a graded manner, while political, social and religious congregations of up to 100 people will be permitted from September 21.
However, schools, colleges, educational and coaching institutions will remain closed for students till September 30, with some relaxations for students of classes 9 to 12.
In a significant directive, the Home Ministry said that state governments shall not impose any local lockdown outside the containment zones without prior consultation with the central government.
The ministry said that states and Union Territory governments may permit up to 50 per cent of teaching and non-teaching staff to be called to the schools at a time for online teaching or tele-counselling and related work.
Students of classes 9 to 12 may be permitted to visit their schools in areas outside the containment zones only on a voluntary basis for taking guidance from their teachers.
This will be subject to the written consent of their parents or guardians, according to the guidelines.
Metro rail will be allowed to operate with effect from September 7 in a graded manner, by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MOHUA), the Ministry of Railways (MOR), in consultation with the MHA.
In this regard, Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) will be issued by the MOHUA.
Social, academic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, political functions and other congregations will be permitted with a ceiling of 100 persons, with effect from September 21.
However, such limited gatherings can be held with the mandatory wearing of face masks, social distancing, provision for thermal scanning and hand wash or sanitizer, the guidelines said.
No permission needed for inter/intra-state movement of goods, persons
The Ministry of Home Affairs on Saturday said that there shall be no restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods, and no separate permission/ e-permit will be required for such movements during Unlock 4.
In a statement the MHA said, “State/ UT Governments shall not impose any local lockdown (State/ District/ sub-division/City/ village level), outside the containment zones, without prior consultation with the central government.”
Emphasizing on the adherence of national directives for Covid-19 management, the MHA said national directives for COVID-19 management shall continue to be followed throughout the country, with a view to ensure social distancing. “Shops will need to maintain adequate physical distancing among customers. MHA will monitor the effective implementation of National Directives”, added the statement.
The Centre also emphasized on the use of Aarogya Setu mobile application and urged people to continue its usage.
For the vulnerable section of the population, the MHA said, “vulnerable persons, i.e., persons above 65 years of age, persons with co-morbidities, pregnant women, and children below the age of 10 years, are advised to stay at home, except for essential requirements and for health purposes.”
The MHA further clarified that skill or Entrepreneurship training will also be permitted in National Skill Training Institutes, Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs), Short term training centres registered with the National Skill Development Corporation or State Skill Development Missions or other Ministries of the Government of India or state governments.
“National Institute for Entrepreneurship and Small Business Development (NIESBUD), Indian Institute of Entrepreneurship (IIE) and their training providers will also be permitted,” said the MHA guideline. All these will be allowed post September 21 for which SOPs will also be allowed.
Meanwhile, higher education institutions only for research scholars like PhD and post-graduate students of technical and professional programmes requiring laboratory or experimental may also be allowed. But these will be permitted by the Department of Higher Education (DHE) in consultation with MHA, based on the assessment of the situation, and keeping in view incidence of COVID-19 in the States and UTs.
Outside containment zones, all activities save cinema halls, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres (excluding open air theatre) and similar places are allowed. Meanwhile international air travel also remains out of bounds except as permitted by the MHA. However Lockdown will continue to be implemented strictly in the Containment Zones till September 30, 2020.