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A broader look at how the Centre is planning on unlocking India


New Delhi, Apr 12: The Centre is set to issue guidelines while extending the lockdown by another 15 days.

In all probability, the Centre may classify the country into three zones while announcing the guidelines. Chief Minister of Haryana, Manohar Lal Khattar said that the state would be divided into three zones, while lifting the restrictions.

A broader look at how the Centre is planning on unlocking India

The PM has held several meetings with the top brass in the past one week to discuss the lockdown and the measures to be taken post-April 14. Two key considerations were considered during these deliberations, officials familiar with the development told OneIndia. There is the question of life and there is livelihood and both are equally important.

Officials said that the lockdown needed to be lifted in a staggered manner as it had to be ensured that India goes not go into negative growth. Most officials said that a balance had to be struck in a situation such as this. Lives have to be saved, but it was also important to revive economic activity, officials told the PM.

Officials suggested that in order to revive economic activity, the nation had to be divided into three zones. The red zone would be the one with most number of coronavirus cases and these zones would remain locked down.

In the yellow zone, where a limited number of cases are reported, activity would resume, but the movement would be heavily monitored. In the green zones, where no coronavirus activity is reported, the officials suggested that normalcy should return.

This model would be adopted in Haryana as well. Khattar said that the Red Zone will comprise the hotspots, while the Orange Zone will have districts reporting one or two cases. Districts with no cases will fall under the green zone, he said.

The assessment shows that in India at least 400 districts have not reported any COVID-19 related activity. These districts could be opened up for activity, officials suggested. However, there shall be no inward of outward movement of people in these districts to ensure that new cases do not crop up the official cited above said.

Meanwhile, the government has asked all its ministers to return to their offices on Monday.

This is aimed at sending a message to the people that the government establishments are returning to normalcy.

However, the government has made it clear that social distancing and other health protocols would be firmly in place.

Senior officials told OneIndia that officers of the joint secretary rank and above will be working from office. One-third of essential staff too would report to work. The non-essential staff have however told not to come to office. In the case of the essential staff, they would operate on a rotational basis, the officer cited above said.

Several ministries have been working at 3 or 5 per cent of its actual strength ever since the lockdown was announced by Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on March 24. During the lockdown, officials held meetings through the NIIA promoted video conference platforms. The files were moved and cleared through the e-office tools. Top officials, however, went to office since the financial year was coming to an end.

The top priority while announcing the guidelines would be the agriculture and industrial sectors. The lockdown for the next two weeks would be different from how it was in the past three weeks and the centre is keeping in mind, the economic activities, especially agriculture, industry and employment of labourers. Officials say that the lockdown would be lifted in a graded manner.

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