New Delhi: Days after the Centre allowed economic activities to start in the country by relaxing the lockdown norms, the Union Home Ministry on Thursday said that the country is witnessing a massive progress in economic activities, especially in rural areas. Also Read - ‘Ensure Adequate Security to Health Workers to Prevent Violence Against Them,’ Home Ministry Writes to States

Addressing a press conference, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) Punya Salila Srivastava said that road construction, brick kilns and cement manufacturing related works have also started in rural areas. Also Read - Lockdown 2.0: Home Ministry Announces Fresh Exemptions on Specific Services | Read Details Here

“Till April 22, more than 1.5 crore work days have been achieved under the MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) scheme,” she said. Also Read - ‘No Inter-state Movement For Stranded Migrant Workers,’ Home Ministry Issues Fresh Guidelines

The Home Ministry further stated that the state governments are working to operationalise industrial units in non-hotspot zones as the central government has given permission for exempting many essential services post April 20.

“These include food processing units, milk and bread processing factories, flour and pulses mills,” Srivastava said.

She said that the areas which are not hotspots or containment zones, especially rural areas, at such places agricultural and economic work should go on and hence, some permissions have been given from April 20.

Talking about measures taken by the Centre to ensure protection to doctors and health workers in the frontline of the coronavirus battle, Srivastava said states have been asked to give adequate protection to these professionals whether they are working in hospitals, in quarantine centres or going for testing and collecting samples.

She also said that in case of any incident of violence against doctors or healthcare workers, then strict action will be taken against the accused under the Disaster Management Act and as per the guidelines issued by the MHA to states and union territories.

The development comes as the Centre on Wednesday said nodal officers should be appointed at the state and district level and local chapters of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) should be consulted, so that doctors can work smoothly.

“We hope that with these steps, the lockdown will be successful and we will be able to break the COVID-19 chain,” she said.