With the partial lifting of restrictions in the construction sector, the state is likely to kick-start a phased easing of norms in other areas of economic activity too, in order to revive the economy.
In an effort to ease the livelihood issue of millions of workers, the Uttar Pradesh government on Monday announced partial lifting of restrictions on construction activities. Government-run construction projects, especially roads, expressways and other big-ticket ones, will resume in the state from April 15.
Deputy chief minister Keshav Prasad Maurya, however, said that even as the construction of these projects restart, all norms of social distancing by workers will be ensured. He added that the decision was taken at a meeting of the committee constituted by chief minister Yogi Adityanath, in which senior officials of all construction-related departments were present.
With the partial lifting of restrictions in the construction sector, the state is likely to kick-start a phased easing of norms in other areas of economic activity too, in order to revive the economy. The agri sector, which is going through a harvesting period and industrial sector, which have been hit the hardest, are likely to be the next in line to see resumption of activities in a phased manner.
Addressing a Cabinet meeting at his residence on Sunday evening, Adityanath directed ministers to start working from their offices from April 15. This was the first meeting of the state Cabinet where the ministers were physically present after it resorted to video-conferencing since March 25 when assorted restrictions were announced to fight the spread of Covid-19.
Expressing concern over the loss of livelihoods and a fall in the state revenues during the lockdown period, Adityanath said that the state was looking for a partial resumption of construction, agriculture, drinking water consolidation, revenue, MSME, industrial and education activities from April 15 onwards and announced several committees under ministers that were to draw a roadmap for resumption of these activities.
“At this evening’s meeting, we discussed the lockdown and what all could be done after the lockdown. We will have to continue working with the same alertness as we did till now. But we have also come to a consensus on protecting both life and livelihood. We not only have to contain coronavirus and save lives, but also have to return to normalcy. We have to take steps to return to normal activities so that we don’t face problems. We have constituted a committee each under over different ministers. The committees will find ways for resumption of activities,” the chief minister said.
Expressing concern over revenue crunch being faced by the state, the chief minister said a committee under finance minister Suresh Khanna would look into ways to restore the financial health of the state. “Panels have also been formed to look into ways to kick-start revenue generation, industrial production, giving relief to farmers to harvest crops and allowing both government and private agencies to purchase foodgrains directly from farmers at MSP or higher,” the chief minister said.
Agriculture minister Surya Pratap Shahi has been directed to thrash out an exit strategy for the agriculture sector and ensure that farmers are not inconvenienced due to lockdown.