Coronavirus pandemic came as a shock to everyone. After the World Health Organization declaring Covid-19 as a pandemic, the countries across the world started planning to survive their best in the name of lockdown while keeping all other activities as unimportant. Every class of every nation is getting affected by the lockdown.
The Ministry of Home Affairs, a notification dated 24th March 2020, implemented the first Lockdown for 21 days in all parts of the country starting from 25th March 2020. The guidelines to be implemented and followed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in all the parts of the nation was done under Section 6(2)(i) of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, where the National Disaster Management Authority is empowered to direct the government to implement such guidelines and steps. 
The guidelines issued on 24th March 2020 included the closure of all Central government offices except Defence, central armed police forces, treasury, public utilities, disaster management, etc. All Medical and hospital establishments and those unites on which they are dependent upon shall remain open for work. All commercial and private institutions will remain closed except ration shops, Banks, Print and electronic media, telecommunications, internet services, petrol pumps, LPG, power generation and its transmission, capital and debt market services, cold storage and warehousing services, private security services. All educational institutions, research and training institutions to remain closed. All industrial establishments except manufacturing units of essential commodities. All transport-related services remain closed except transportation of essential services, law and order, and emergency services. All the places of worship to remain closed. All hospitality services to remain closed except those hotels and places accommodating tourists who are stuck due to lockdown, medical, air, and sea staff. Many unnecessary gatherings to remain suspended.
Strategy for Unlocking
The places, except Contaminant Zones, will resume all activities, in the undermentioned Phases, with certain restrictions.
This started on 8th June 2020.
Phase – I
In this phase, all the following activities were to be resumed in the areas outside contaminant zones:
- Religious placesto open
- Hotels, Restaurants and other hospitality services to resume functioning
- Shopping Malls may open
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) issued certain guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) to be followed.
Phase – II
Schools, colleges and educational institutions can only be opened after consultation with States/ Union Territories. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to prepare Standard Operating Procedures in this regard.
Phase – III
The situation if found suitable after assessment, the following activities to resume:
- International Air travel
- Metro Rail
- Privileged places
- Any sort of events
The Government of India, by notification no. 40-3/2020-DM-I(A), dated 29th June 2020, issued certain guidelines for all the areas outside Contaminated zones. All activities to be allowed, except:
- Schools/ Colleges/ Educational Institutions to remain closed till 30th June 2020 and the only means of education to be followed would be online
- Training institutions of Central Government and State Government to function from 15th July 2020 for which Standard Operating Procedures to be followed
- International air travel, except permitted by MHA
- Metro Rail
- Privileged places
- Any sort of events
Lockdown to be limited to Containment Zones –
Lockdown was planned to be continued till 31st July 2020. All the Contaminated Zones to be demarcated by District Authorities, except essential services.
Both the Unlocking had:
Unrestricted movements of which all goods and persons –
- No restriction will be laid upon inter-state and intra-state travel of people and goods, however, the State Government can impose restrictions according to the situation, for their territory
- There shall be no restriction on the goods of neighbouring countries
Vulnerable people –
- All the person above 65 years of age, children below 10 years of age, pregnant women are advised not to move out of their houses except essential services
- AarogyaSetu App to be installed in mobile phones of every employee of those companies which are functional outside “Work from Home” setup
Penal Provisions –
Any person found violating any of the guidelines, will be charged under Section 51-60 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005, in addition to Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code and any other legal provision.
National Directives to also be followed in both the Unlocks
Night Curfew –
All the movements to be restricted from 9:00 P.M. to 5:00 A.M in Unlock 1 and from 10:00 P.M. – 5:00 P.M. in Unlock 2. This shall be implemented under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
- Night curfew has been removed.
- Yoga institutes and gymnasiums to be opened by August 5, 2020.MoHFW to issue SOPs.
- Independence Day functions will be allowed to be done, provided National Directives are followed
- Schools, colleges, and coaching institutions are to be remained closed till August 31, 2020.
- International air travel of passengers has been permitted in a limited manner
- All activities shall be permitted outside containment zones, except the following:
- Metro Rail
- Privileged Places
- Events of any kind
- Containment zones will observe lockdown till 31st August 2020, except essential services.
These Guidelines came to effect from 1st August 2020.
Reserve Bank of India in Covid-19
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) had adopted an accommodate monetary policy stance amid limited fiscal space.RBI had lowered the repo rate by 115 basis points and reverse repo by 145 bps boosting liquidity from March, easing public financing and financial sector balance sheet pressures. Also, it enhanced the State government’s short-term liquidity and relaxed repatriation limits from 9 months to 15 months. It extended the three-month moratorium on repayment of loans to banks till August 31.
The countries across the world, which were very badly affected by coronavirus planned their Unlocking after attaining “Bell Curve”, which means that the countries had already reached its maximum number of cases and the cases had started declining. For example, Spain, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom had already reached their Bell Curve and then planned for the Unlock. India, who has had already started with its Unlock plan, with the view of restabilising the declining economy, has not yet reached the highest number of cases and no Bell curve is established. Presently, as of August 3, 2020, the total active cases across India are 579357, which is quite a huge number. Therefore, it could be feared that there would be a second wave of Coronavirus in India. The points which should be taken care of while exiting the Lockdown should be well consulted with Epidemiologists across the country.
As far as the economy is concerned, the Economic Package announced earlier doesn’t have any effect on the companies and for the privately-owned companies. The manufacturing units may start having Labour Shortage as most of the migrant workers have had already gone to their villages. The Manufacturing units, once started, are themselves depended on various other sectors – they require the raw materials from the primary sector, they require transportation facilities for their products and labourers, then the finished good is to be delivered to the customer to consume it. However, due to the nationwide lockdown, there isn’t any data for the demands for which the supplies could be made.
Another challenge would be for all those industries which are import driven and only function on their supplies from other countries and due to coronavirus, the trade across the globe has slowed down and with a lot of restrictions. Rural India is not having any medical infrastructure and if once the coronavirus would hit any of the rural areas, it would be hard to control as there are no proper hospital beds, ventilators, testing kits, and medical staff.
One sector which could aid the economy the best would be the Agricultural and Allied sector, where a family could easily extract its income without having much of a socialising and without having a lot of additional requirements, except essentials. All those workforces which function in a small environmentwould be another aid to the dropping economy as these industries don’t have a lot of employees and minimum socialisation could be attained.
The Government of India announced Lockdown in earlier on 24th March 2020 to be implemented from 25th March 2020 where the people weren’t allowed to move out from their houses and to follow strict measures as given by the government. In which, all the offices remain closed except those of emergency services, essential services, sanitation, etc. The Government of India planned for a three-phase unlocking, starting from 8th June 2020. All the phases to include areas outside the contaminant zones, to open up certain places with certain restrictions. However, the dates for each phase may vary concerning the assessment of the situation. In all such phases, to date, the Government of India has only advised the Vulnerable people to stay indoors except essential services. While Unlock 3.0 came up with relief for many activities to function, it could still amount to the second drastic wave of coronavirus cases if the norms given by the government aren’t followed properly. Spain, one of the World’s most affected countries by coronavirus has a plan in four phases, slowly opening all activities with utmost precaution parallelly thinking of their population and medical facilities. This was done after attaining the “Bell Curve”, whereas India started with its “Unlocking” before the attainment of Bell Curve. Recently, “Unlock 3.0” is launched with effect from 1st August 2020 whereby there will be no restrictions as such to any activity outside contaminant zones, making the population of India more vulnerable to Covid-19.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Ques 1: What is Section 6 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005?
Ans: Section 6 of Disaster Management Act, 2005 deals with the Powers and Functions of the National Management Disaster Authority to lay down policies, plans and guidelines for ensuring timely response to the disaster.
Ques 2: According to Government of India, who all are “Vulnerable” because of COVID-19?
Ans: The individuals aged 65 years of above, the children below 10 years of age and pregnant women are the most vulnerable ones in the times of Covid-19.
Ques 3: What is “Bell Curve”?
Ans: A bell curve is a graph which shows the normal distribution, which has a shape reminiscent of a bell.
Ques 4: How can AarogyaSetu help in fighting Coronavirus?
Ans: AarogyaSetu App contains the following features, which may help you in fighting Coronavirus:
- Identifies potential hotspots
- Self-Assessment could be done
- It helps you in staying up-to-date with Covid-19 news
Ques 5: What are the National Directives, which are to be followed in the Unlocks in India?
Ans: The following are the National Directives to be followed:
• Mandatory face covering with a mask
• Social distancing of 6 feet to be maintained
• There should not be any large gatherings, marriages to have not more than 50 people and funerals to have not more than 20 people
• Spitting at public places will amount to fine
• Consumption of Liquor, Paan, Gutka, Tobacco, etc in public places is not allowed
Government of India, Ministry of Home Affairs, 2020, https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/MHAorder%20copy_0.pdf
Government of India, Annexure to Order of Ministry of Home Affairs No. 40-3/2020 Dated ()24.03.2020, https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/Guidelines_0.pdf
 Press Information Bureau, Government of India, https://www.mha.gov.in/sites/default/files/Unlock3_29072020_0.pdf (last visited August 3, 2020)
RBI must continue monetary easing policy, says IMF official, The Hindu https://www.thehindu.com/business/Economy/rbi-must-continue-monetary-easing-policy-says-imf-official/article32225404.ece#! (last visited on August 4, 2020)
RBI MPC meet: With highly uncertain inflation outlook, what a repo rate cut at this point could mean https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/economy/policy/rbi-announces-more-measures-to-deal-with-economic-fallout-of-covid-19/articleshow/74926767.cms (last visited Aug 4, 2020)
RBI measures to deal with COVID-19 fallout: Here is the chronology, Financial Express https://www.financialexpress.com/economy/rbi-measures-to-deal-with-covid-19-fallout-here-is-the-chronology/1967624/ (last visited Aug. 4, 2020)