The Prime Minister”s Office (PMO) on Friday directed the Empowered Groups to ensure last-mile outreach through communication in regional languages amid the Union government”s ongoing efforts to fight the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Steps taken to ensure timely information dissemination throughout the country were also stressed by the PMO, which reviewed the preparations to counter the impact of the pandemic.
The issues related to supply chain and logistics management for availability of necessary items, efforts undertaken for the benefit of stakeholders involved, steps to assist farmers harvest their produce while maintaining social distancing, necessary confidence building measures required, and need to ensure percolation of guidelines of the Ministry of Home Affairs to the ground level were discussed.
Prime Minister’s Principal Secretary P.K. Mishra discussed these issues while chairing a meeting of the Empowered Groups of Officers to tackle the challenges emerging as a result of the spread of COVID-19 in India.
The meeting was the latest in a series of periodic reviews at various levels by the PMO to monitor the situation in which the Principal Secretary reviewed the efforts undertaken by the Empowered Groups.
The participants reviewed and expressed satisfaction on the detailed testing protocol and procedure, under which (as on date) 1,45,916 samples have been tested.
Noting that the production of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) is being ramped up and capacity building for healthcare personnel ensured and that NGOs and civil society groups are also being mobilized, Mishra suggested that coordination with NGOs at district level be done to avoid overlaps and ensure efficacious utilization of resources.
The meeting was told that all state Chief Secretaries were instructed to arrange for shelters for vulnerable groups like migrants and homeless.
The progress of the welfare measures rolled out through an economic relief package under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana was also reviewed.
The Principal Secretary underlined that data sanctity was important to ensure that the benefits reach to all intended beneficiaries.
On the technology and data management front, he expressed satisfaction on the rollout of Aarogya Setu app and said that the user engagement with the app needs to be enhanced.
The Centre on March 29 constituted 11 empowered groups for planning and ensuring implementation of Covid-19 response activities.
Each group will be handled by a group of senior government officials empowered to identify the problem areas and provide effective solutions, delineate policy, formulate plans, strategise operations and take necessary steps for effective and time-bound implementation of these plans, policies, strategies, decisions in their respective areas.
A total of 80 senior civil servants have been deputed in the 11 groups which may seek the guidance of the Cabinet Secretary.