Industries in rural areas and all agricultural activities will be allowed to resume from April 20 as India begins to gradually relax its lockdown in place to contain Covid-19 infections. These activities have been allowed “to mitigate hardship to public”, the Ministry of Home Affairs said. However, no such activity will be allowed in “containment zones”.

The ministry issued the guidelines on Wednesday, a day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended the nationwide lockdown until May 3. Earlier, the lockdown was due to end on April 14.

Districts that have several cases of infection or have reported a fast spread of infection will see very strong containment measures. Only essential services will be allowed in these zones and there will be strict restriction on movement.

Masks have been made compulsory in public places as well as workplaces, while spitting in public places has been banned and will attract a penalty.

What’s allowed in ‘non-hotspots’ from April 20

Health services:

  • Hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, telemedicine facilities;
  • Dispensaries, chemists, pharmacies, all kinds of medicine shops including Jan Aushadhi Kendras and medical equipment shops;
  • Medical laboratories and collection centres;
  • Pharmaceutical and medical research labs, institutions carrying out COVID-19 related research;
  • Veterinary hospitals, dispensaries, clinics, pathology labs, sale and supply of vaccine and medicine;
  • Authorised private establishments that support the provisioning of essential services, or efforts for containment of COVID-19, including home care providers, diagnostics, supply chain firms serving hospitals;
  • Manufacturing units of drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, medical oxygen, their packaging material, raw material and intermediates;
  • Construction of medical/ health infrastructure including manufacture of ambulances;
  • Movement (inter and intra State, including by air) of all medical and veterinary personnel, scientists, nurses, para-medical staff, lab technicians, mid-wives and other hospital support services, including ambulances.      

Agricultural and related activities:

  • Farming operations by farmers and farm workers in field;
  • Agencies engaged in procurement of agriculture products, including MSP operations;
  • ‘Mandis’ operated by the Agriculture Produce Market Committee or as notified by the State/ UT Government (e.g., satellite mandis). Direct marketing operations by the State/ UT Government or by industry, directly from farmers/ group of farmers, FPOs’ co-operatives etc. States/ UTs may promote decentralized marketing and procurement at village level;
  • Shops of agriculture machinery, its spare parts (including its supply chain) and repairs to remain open;
  • ‘Custom Hiring Centres (CHC)’ related to farm machinery; 
  • Manufacturing, distribution and retail of fertilizers, pesticides and seeds;
  • Movement (inter and intra state) of harvesting and sowing related machines like combined harvester and other agriculture/ horticulture implements;
  • Some activities in fisheries, animal husbandry and plantation sectors are also allowed

Financial sector:

  • Reserve Bank of India and RBI-regulated financial markets and entities like NPCI, CCIL, payment system operators and standalone primary dealers;
  • Bank branches be allowed to work as per normal working hours till disbursal of DBT cash transfers is complete;
  • SEBI, and capital and debt market services as notified by the Securities and Exchange Board of India;
  • IRDAI and Insurance companies

Social sector:

  • Operation of homes for children/ disabled/ mentally challenged/ senior citizens/ destitutes/ women/ widows;
  • Observation homes, after care homes and places of safety for juveniles;
  •   Disbursement of social security pensions, e.g., old age/ widow/ freedom fighter pensions; pension and provident fund services provided by Employees Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO);
  • Operation of Anganwadis – distribution of food items and nutrition once in 15 days at the doorsteps of beneficiaries, e.g., children, women and lactating mothers. Beneficiaries will not attend the Anganwadis


  • MNREGA works are allowed with strict implementaiton of social distancing and face mask;
  • Priority to be given under MNREGA to irrigation and water conservation works; 
  • Other Central and State sector schemes in irrigation and water conservation sectors may also be allowed to be implemented and suitably dovetailed with MNREGA works 

Public utilities:

  • Operations of Oil and Gas sector, including refining, transportation, distribution, storage and retail of products, e.g., petrol, diesel, kerosene, CNG, LPG, PNG etc; 
  • Generation, transmission and distribution of power at Central and State/ UT levels.Postal services, including post offices;
  • Operations of utilities in water, sanitation and waste management sectors, at municipal/ local body levels in States and UTs;
  •   Operation of utilities providing telecommunications and internet services

Supply of essential goods:

  • All facilities in the supply chain of essential goods, whether involved in manufacturing, wholesale or retail of such goods through local stores, large brick and mortar stores or e-commerce companies;
  • Shops (including Kirana and single shops selling essential goods) and carts, including ration shops (under PDS), dealing with food and groceries (for daily use), hygiene items, fruits and vegetables, dairy and milk booths, poultry, meat and fish, animal feed and fodder etc;
  • District authorities may encourage and facilitate home delivery to minimize the movement of individuals outside their homes

Commercial and private establishments:

  • Print and electronic media including broadcasting, DTH and cable services;
  • IT and IT enabled Services, with upto 50% strength;
  • Data and call centres for Government activities only;
  • Government approved Common Service Centres (CSCs) at Gram Panchayat level;
  • E-commerce companies. Vehicles used by e-commerce operators will be allowed to ply with necessary permissions;
  • Courier services;
  • Cold storage and warehousing services, including at ports, airports, railway stations, container Depots, individual units and other links in the logistics chain;
  • Private security services and facilities management services for maintenance and upkeep of office and residential complexes;
  • Hotels, homestays, lodges and motels, which are accommodating tourists and persons stranded due to lockdown, medical and emergency staff, air and sea crew;
  • Establishments used/ earmarked for quarantine facilities;
  • Services provided by self-employed persons, e.g., electrician, IT repairs, plumbers, motor mechanics, and carpenters

Industries/ Industrial Establishments (both government and private):

  • Industries operating in rural areas, i.e., outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities;
  • Manufacturing and other industrial establishments with access control in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and Export Oriented Units (EoUs), industrial estates, and industrial townships; 
  •   Manufacturing units of essential goods, including drugs, pharmaceuitcals, medical devices, their raw material and intermediates.Food processing industries in rural areas, i.e., outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities;
  •   Production units, which require continuous process, and their supply chain;
  •   Manufacturing of IT hardware;
  •   Coal production, mines and mineral production, their transportation, supply of explosives and activities incidental to mining operations;
  •   Manufacturing units of packaging material;
  •   Jute industries with staggered shifts and social distancing;
  •   Oil and gas exploration/ refinery;
  •   Brick kilns in rural areas i.e., outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities.

Construction activities:

  • Construction of roads, irrigation projects, buildings and all kinds of industrial projects, including MSMEs, in rural areas, i.e., outside the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities; and all kinds of projects in industrial estates;
  • Construction of renewable energy projects;
  • Continuation of works in construction projects, within the limits of municipal corporations and municipalities, where workers are available on site and no workers are required to be brought in from outside

Movement of people:

  • Private vehicles for emergency services, including medical and veterinary care, and for procuring essential commodities. In such cases, one passenger besides the private vehicle driver can be permitted in the backseat, in case of four-wheelers; however, in case of two-wheelers, only the driver of the vehicle is to be permitted;
  •   All personnel travelling to place of work and back in the exempted categories, as per the instructions of the State/ UT local authority

Central government offices:

  • Defence, Central Armed Police Forces, Health and Family Welfare, Disaster management and Early Warning Agencies (IMD, INCOIS, SASE and National Centre of Seismology, CWC), National Informatics Centre, Food Corporation of India , NCC, Nehru Yuva Kendras and Customs to function without any restriction;
  • Other Ministries and Departments, and offices under their control, are to function with 100% attendance of Deputy Secretary and levels above that. Remaining officers and staff to attend upto 33% as per requirement.    

Offices of the State/ Union Territory governments:

  • Police, home guards, civil defence, fire and emergency services, disaster management restrictions;
  •   Prisons and municipal services;
  •   All other Departments of State/ UT Governments to work with restricted staff. Group ‘A’ and ‘B’ officers may attend as required. Group ‘C’ and levels below that may attend upto 33% of strength;
  •   Delivery of public services shall be ensured, and necessary staff will be deployed for such purpose;
  •   District administration and Treasury (including field offices of the Accountant General) will function with restricted staff;
  •   Resident Commissioner of States/ UTs, in New Delhi, only to the extent of coordinating COVID-19 related activities and internal kitchen operations;
  •   Forest offices: staff/ workers required to operate and maintain zoo, nurseries, wildlife, fire-fighting in forests, watering plantations, patrolling and their necessary transport movement

Movement, loading/ unloading of goods/ cargo (inter and intra state) is allowed

What’s prohibited till May 3

  • All travel by air, trains and buses, as well as inter-state and inter-district movement will continue to be suspended till May 3;
  • All educational institutions and coaching centres will also remain shut’
  • All social, political, sports, religious functions, religious places and places of worship shall remain closed for the public till May 3;
  • Cinema halls, malls, shopping complexes, gymnasiums, sports complexes, swimming pools and bars will also remain shut;
  • Any gathering of five or more people will not be allowed. Weddings and funerals shall be regulated by the district magistrate. In every gathering, people will have to follow social distancing norms;
  • Sale of liquor, gutka and tobacco;
  • Hospitality services.