CM Yogi Adityanath’s Team 11 is tasked with preparing the blueprint to insulate the state from various socio-economic challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic
A fortnight before Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 announced a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19, more than one million people had already been screened at airports and India-Nepal border check posts in Uttar Pradesh.
Following the coronavirus
outbreak in India, UP was among the first states to take preemptive measures to control the spread of the virus by closing schools, cinema halls, and shopping malls, screening travellers, provisioning coronavirus
isolation beds, etc.
Later, when the lockdown was finally announced and the Covid-19 situation started to get worrisome, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath constituted a core team of top bureaucrats to combat the emerging situation and prepare the blueprint in a bid insulate the state from its various socio-economic challenges and impediments.
Going by the eponym of ‘Team 11’ in the UP power corridors, this elite group of 10 senior Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) officers briefs Adityanath daily about the development in their respective domains, and the action plan for the successive day.
Each of these committees monitors and manages the affairs of their respective verticals, including finance, home department, agriculture, industry, policing, and rural development. They also coordinate the functioning of their respective wings with other central and state government departments and agencies.
‘Team 11’ was called upon to firefight the first major challenge within days of its inception when tens of thousands of migrant labourers belonging to UP and Bihar had started to assemble along the Delhi-UP border on their way back home after the lockdown.
Considering that UP had estimated nearly half a million migrant labourers to have returned to the state over the past month, it was an arduous task to screen these people, quarantine them, arrange for their food and lodging, and later taking them to their respective districts and again putting them in temporary shelters for 14 days.
Another gargantuan task that the elite team performed was the payment of Rs 1,000 each to more than 2.5 million daily wage earners, kiosk owners, labourers, railway coolies, and others who lost their livelihood owing to the lockdown.
After the lockdown was announced and the industrial units, barring those manufacturing medical and food items, were shut, there was the spectre of non-payment to workers during the lockdown period.
However, the sub-committee on industrial matters chaired by the UP infrastructure and industrial development commissioner (IIDC) embarked on encouraging the management of these units to pay wages to their employers. “So far, we have talked to nearly 40,000 companies and ensured payment of March wages, totalling Rs 588 crore, to more than 463,000 workers,” IIDC Alok Tandon told Business Standard.
Team 11 comprises:
1. UP Chief Secretary Rajendra Kumar Tiwari, who heads the committee tasked with coordinating with the central and other state governments, apart from monitoring the functioning of all the other committees.
2. UP Director General of Police (DGP) Hitesh Chandra Awasthi. He heads the panel for protecting the police force and prisons from the infection.
3. UP IIDC Alok Tandon, who heads the panel for implementing schemes launched by the central and the state governments for the welfare of industrial workers.
4. UP Agriculture Production Commissioner Alok Sinha. He leads the committee monitoring the supply chain and ensuring doorstep delivery of foodgrain, milk, fruit, and vegetables.
5. UP Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Awanish Kumar Awasthi leads the panel tasked with checking black marketing and hoarding of essential commodities.
6. UP Additional Chief Secretary (Revenue) Renuka Kumar, who heads the committee overseeing the setting up of community kitchens and distribution of food packets to the needy.
7. Manoj Kumar Singh, principal secretary (rural development and Panchayati raj) is tasked with taking care of sanitisation and supply of drinking water in rural areas.
8. Principal Secretary (Medical and Health) Amit Mohan Prasad chairs the panel working for setting up Covid hospitals, apart from sample testing labs.
9. Principal Secretary (Animal Husbandry) B L Meena is in charge of the committee taking care of stray cattle and birds, and ensuring the supply of fodder.
10. Sanjiv Mittal, additional chief secretary (finance), monitors the implementation of welfare schemes. His committee is also tasked with facilitating finance and recommending follow-up action after analysing the economic impact of the lockdown.
11. Devesh Chaturvedi, principal secretary (agriculture), heads the committee to look into the problems of farmers and ensure their speedy resolution.
“Team 11 has helped us attain perfect coordination between different teams,” said Sidharth Nath Singh, UP cabinet minister and state government spokesperson.
The government has constituted some other committees to help the state cope with the economic challenges and boosting exports, especially in the post-Covid scenario. For example, a panel headed by Alok Sinha is tasked with preparing an action plan for giving jobs to those migrant workers returned home.