Government relaxes rules on supply of hygiene products, newspapers

Government relaxes rules on supply of hygiene products, newspapers
Representational Pic

A fresh Home Ministry guideline on Sunday gave relaxation in interstate movement of grocery items such as hygiene products like hand washes, soaps, disinfectants and body wash shampoo; and supply of newspaper during lockdown to contain COVID-19 pandemic.

Surface cleaners, detergents, tissue papers, toothpaste ororal care, sanitary pads and diapers, battery cells and chargers have also beenin the list of grocery items for their inter-state transportation during the21-day nationwide lockdown.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla in a letter to allChief Secretaries of states requested them to lay down additional categories ofessential goods and services exempted under the Disaster Management Act 2005.

Ministry sources said the relaxation is for interstatemovement of goods and not for e-commerce and non-essential goods.

As per the first addendum in the guideline, transportationof all goods, without distinction of essential and non-essential goods havebeen allowed.

Pension under exemptions include pension and provident fundservices provided by Employees Provdent Fund Organisation (EPFO), it said.

Services of Indian Red Cross Society are also included inthe guideline which mentions that the entire supply chain of milk collectionand distribution, including its packaging material is allowed.

"The newspaper delivery supply chain is also allowedunder print media," the order said.

In the order letter, Bhalla said: "I would also like toinform that the Central Government has also allowed use of SDRF (State DisasterRelief Funds) for homeless people, including migrant labourers, stranded due tolockdown measures, and sheltered in the relief camps and other places for providingthem food for the containment of Covid-19."

Earlier on Sunday, the Home Ministry issued another orderfor strict implementation of additional measures to stop movement of migrantsand providing them with quarantine facilities, shelter, food, and ensuringpayment of wages and non-eviction by their landlords.

"District authorities and field agencies may beinformed accordingly so as to avoid any ambiguity at the ground level,"the oder stated.

The Home Ministry has issued various guidelines since Tuesdaywhen Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a complete lockdown in the countryto exempt the supply of essential items.

Meanwhile, the Ministry has advised the state governmentsand Union Territories (UTs) to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the countryand follow the lockdown measures.The fresh guideline is followed by two addendumorders dated March 25 an March 27 to the guidelines on lockdown measure.

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