Firms will be subject to strict social distancing and safety measures © Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images
Firms will be subject to strict social distancing and safety measures © Narinder Nanu/AFP/Getty Images

India lifts farming and manufacturing restrictions

22 April 2020

India has relaxed certain lockdown measures to allow agricultural and manufacturing work outside of coronavirus hotspots.

Agricultural and farm work, fishing, construction and some manufacturing will be allowed as long as they are not in Covid-19 containment areas.

However, businesses will be subject to stricter social distancing and other safety measures. 

Operation of the fishing aquaculture industry, movement of fish and fish products and workers are able to continue, according to guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

Operations of tea, coffee and rubber plantations are able to continue with a maximum of 50% of their workers.

Milk processing facilities, poultry farms and animal feed plants are also able to open, as are ports and container depots.

Construction projects where workers are already on-site will also be able to resume.

The move is motivated by the need to support low-income workers and farmers and try to mitigate damage to the economy, since a strict lockdown was imposed on 25 March. The government has extended the lockdown to 3 May but with a limited amount of restrictions lifted.

Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar attended a meeting of G-20 agriculture ministers, where an agreement was made to continue the supply of food and agricultural products during the pandemic to safeguard global food security. 

The ministers agreed to avoid unnecessary trade restrictions that could create volatile food prices and impact food availability.

Earlier this month, India lifted a ban on drug exports after US president Donald Trump threatened possible retaliation.

Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava said the Indian government had decided after a “comprehensive” assessment to lift export restrictions on a number of pharmaceutical products including paracetamol and hydroxychloroquine.

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