Several ministers, officials return to work at ministries amid lockdown

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman returns to work in New Delhi on the 20th day of coronavirus lockdown. Photo: Dalip Kumar
Several ministers and senior civil servants returned to their offices in New Delhi amid likely extension of the 21-day nationwide lockdown beyond April 14. Most of the ministers have been discharging their duties from their homes following the government's directives in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Information, and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar, Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of State for Youth Affairs Kiren Rijiju, Culture, and Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel were some of the early office-goers on Monday, along with other senior officials. 

Besides the ministers, all officers of the joint-secretary level and above had been asked to be present in the ministries along with one-third of the essential staff from Monday, PTI reported. "Government has desired that all officers who are entitled to official transport facility will come to the office from Monday i.e. officers of the level of SAG (joint secretary) or higher," the agency quoted an official as saying. 

A decision on the extension of the lockdown beyond April 14 is likely to be announced after states demanded an extension to maintain the gains in controlling the viral infection. Six stated including Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab have already announced extending the lockdown till April 30. The decision in the regard was taken in the interaction of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with chief ministers a couple of days ago. 

The nationwide lockdown was announced by the prime minister to check the rapid growth of the coronavirus, which has so far killed 308 and infected over 9,000 across India. 

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel