ATM operation services and LPG supplies exempted from lockdown

The Central government on Wednesday evening added ATM operation and cash management agencies to the list of services exempted from the 21-day national lockdown announced on Tuesday. This will ensure that ATMs are refilled with cash and do not run out of money leading to inconvenience for consumers.

The finance ministry had yesterday waived off any surcharge for withdrawal of money from ATMs not belonging to one’s bank for the convenience of users during the lockdown period.

The notification issued on Wednesday also adds several other services—veterinary hospitals, pharmacies including Jan Aushadhi Kendra, IT vendors for banking operations, shops for seeds and pesticides, manufacturing units for drugs, pharmaceuticals, medical devises, their raw materials, packaging material for food items, cross land border movements of LPG, food products and medical supplies—to the list of exempted or essential services released last evening.

These directives have been issued by the ministry of home affairs for implementation by states and the Union Territories under the Disaster Management Act (DMA), which has been invoked to deal with the unprecedented situation arising out of coronavirus outbreak in the country.

First set of such directives were issued last evening to the chief secretaries and the Directors General of Police (DGPs) of all states and UTs, directing them to enforce the lockdown norms which were detailed in the communication.

It urged states to ensure social distancing was observed and essential services were allowed to function.

It advised setting up of a 24X7 control room or office with helplines at state and district level to address any grievance faced by the providers of goods and services including during inter-state movement.

Police in several states, including Punjab and Delhi, held meetings on Wednesday with online suppliers of essential items including food and provisions and assured them that their employees will be issued passes to move freely for delivery purposes.

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