Lockdown: Govt may soon allow courier, parcel services to function

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The government may soon allow courier and parcel services to resume services so that companies aren't helped up communicating during a 21-day national lockdown, PTI reported quoting sources.

"A decision on operations of courier and parcels will be taken soon. Document exchange is important for industry. An empowered group has already recommended for the same to the Home Ministry," sources told the news agency.

Further, the Commerce Ministry has asked Home Ministry to allow operations of factories engaged in export activities with minimum workforce.

The issue was raised by all export promotion councils and the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) in their discussions held through video conferencing with Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal.

The government will take a decision about extending or ending the lockdown, which is concluding on April 14,in the coming days.

The Centre will also discuss with states for allowing partial operation of manufacturing units in the country.

"The government should allow opening up of factories with at least 50 per cent of workforce. We will follow all safety and health related norms. Our exports will be hit severely if we will continue to close our operations," FIEO President S Saraf said.

Covid-19: Home Secy writes to states to ensure supply of essential goods

Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla has written to states to ensure the availability of essential goods by invoking provisions of the Essential Commodities Act 1955.

The Home Secretary urged state chief secretariesto prevent hoarding and black marketing.

The letter read, "The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) vide its orders under the Disaster Management Act have allowed manufacture/production, transport and other related supply chain activities in respect of essential goods like foodstuff, medicines and medical equipment. However, there are reports of loss of production due to various factors, especially reduction in labour supply. In this situation, the possibility of inventory building and black marketing, profiteering, and speculative trading and the resulting price rise of essential goods cannot be ruled out." Read on...

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