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What constitutes essential services, and how government responds

What constitutes essential services, and how government responds

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  23 March 2020 8:05 AM GMT

NEW DELHI: People can buy food and grocery items and can also travel but only for emergency purposes, the government on Sunday clarified after it was decided to lock down COVID-19-affected districts across the country.

State governments have been advised to issue appropriate orders to allow only essential services to operate in these 80 districts. It was also stated that the state governments may expand the list depending on their assessment of the situation. Here is what ‘essential’ means:

What are the essential commodities?

At present, there are seven commodities scheduled under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, as essential drugs; fertilizer, whether inorganic, organic or mixed; foodstuffs, including edible oilseeds and oils; hank yarn made wholly from cotton; petroleum and petroleum products; raw jute and jute textile; seeds of food-crops and seeds of fruits and vegetables; seeds of cattle fodder; and jute seeds and cottonseed.

The Essential Commodities Act, 1955 was enacted to ensure the easy availability of essential commodities to consumers and to protect them from exploitation by unscrupulous traders.

What are the essential services?

The essential services are any postal, telegraph or telephone service, including any service-connected therewith; railway service or any transport service for the carriage of passengers or goods by air and any service connected with the operation or maintenance of aerodromes, any service in any major port.

These also include any service connected with the clearance of goods, any service in any establishment of the armed forces, any service in any establishment dealing with the production of goods required for defense, and any service in any section of any industrial undertaking pertaining to a scheduled industry on the working of which the safety of such undertaking or the employees employed therein depends. (IANS)

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