Home >News >India >Unlock 2.0: Onus on state governments

The Union home ministry on Monday extended the lockdown in containment zones till the end of July, but tried to minimize movement curbs to boost economic activity and allowed states to take steps based on their assessment of the situation.

The guidelines made it clear that states have the right to add more restrictions, depending on their reading of the situation. Social distancing will, however, remain the norm in public places.

The guidelines eased night-time curfew and allowed more than five people at a time to visit a shop in the second phase of lifting restrictions on movement starting 1 July.

Services such as metro rail, cinema halls and gyms will stay closed through July, and the government will specify the dates for reopening them with safeguards in due course. All schools, colleges and coaching centres will stay shut till the end of July, but government training centres will open on 15 July. Night curfew will start at 10pm from 1 July, as against 9pm according to the current guidelines, and last till 5am.

States and Union territories, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain activities outside the containment zones, or impose restrictions that are deemed necessary. However, there shall be no restriction on inter-state and intra-state movement of people and goods.

The authorities are required to carefully demarcate containment zones, within which only essential activities will be allowed.

Much of the onus of limiting disease transmission has now shifted to the states.

The two-month lockdown, the world’s largest and strictest, was the focal point of India’s strategy to contain the virus that originated in Wuhan, China.

Green shoots have sprouted in the economy, since the country began easing restrictions after the lengthy lockdown.

Macroeconomic indicators such as consumption of fuel and electricity, mobility and retail financial transactions have seen an uptick.

The central government has drawn flak from some quarters for its handling of the lockdown. Many believe that while the lockdown was necessary, it was unplanned and led to mass exodus from cities, and that the government’s 20 trillion stimulus package overlooked the plight of hapless migrant workers.

The government has reached out to financially weaker sections, migrant workers and farmers, even as the lockdown hurt small businesses, major job creators and the backbone of the Indian economy.

India started unlocking its economy in phases beginning 8 June, allowing more economic activity in order to spur consumer spending. States say that there is need for a staggered withdrawal from the lockdown and maintaining a fine balance between opening up of economic activities and doing more tests.

Gyan Varma and Anuja contributed to this story.

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