NEW DELHI: With India going into full lockdown for three weeks from Wednesday to control the spread of the coronavirus, the Centre sought allay the anxiety of around 80 crore people enrolled with ration shops by increasing their monthly quota of subsidised foodgrains by 2 kg each — from 5 kg to 7 kg.
"The poor and vulnerable sections need support. The Centre has decided that 80 crore people will be covered under the National Food Security Act," said Union Minister Prakash Javdekar, said after the Union Cabinet’s meeting.
Amid reports of panic buying, the Union home ministry asked all states and Union Territories to give wide publicity to the fact that the country has ample supplies of all essential commodities while curbing the spread of rumours.
It also issued detailed advisories on setting up round-the-clock control rooms and helplines for providers of essential goods and services, including at the inter-state level. It suggested a standard operating procedure to facilitate them by appointing nodal officers at inter-state borders and issuing vehicular passes/e-passes.
In a separate letter, the home ministry said urged states/UTs to take necessary steps to publicise that all essentials like food, medical, civil supplies and other essential services will be maintained.
In another advisory to the private security agencies, the ministry urged them to adopt a humane approach during the lockdown and not sack employees or cut salaries. The ministry urged the agencies to show empathy with its workforce.
"This is the time for private security industry to adopt a humane approach and protect its workers and staff members from lay-offs," it said. During his video interaction with residents of Varanasi, PM Narendra Modi warned of action against those misbehaving with frontline staff fighting the virus.
If anybody targets doctors, nurses and all those rendering their service during this crisis, then it will cost them dearly, Modi said, adding those in white coats are God’s incarnation.
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