The central government on Sunday extended a nationwide lockdown to May 31 but granted considerable relaxations that are likely to completely open the economy. Operation of all markets, offices, industries and business along with plying of buses in all areas, barring containment zones, has been permitted.
Large gatherings are still prohibited, but outside of containment zones with high numbers of active cases "all other activities will be permitted", the home ministry said, allowing offices, commerce and industry to reopen across much of the country.
In what was dubbed as lockdown 4.0 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address last week, the government has allowed inter-state movement of buses and private vehicles with the consent of the involved states.
Decisions on where to set containment zones and which districts would fall under red, orange and green zones would also now be decided by state governments and district authorities, the order said. Most states are expected to come out with guidelines and colour-coded district lists on Monday.
Shopping complexes, salons are barber shops will also be allowed to open, but with staggered timings and with social distancing norms.
Similarly, workplaces too have been asked to follow staggered hours and adopt work from home as much as possible. There should be provision for thermal scanning, hand wash and sanitizers and common areas and rules of social distancing should be maintained.
All these relaxations would, however, be subject to state government guidelines. The states have been told they can make the rules more stringent, but can't give more relaxations.
The key bars - on air travel and metro rail, malls, gyms, cinemas and big gatherings - have been retained throughout the country. The Centre has also extended the curfew at night - from 7 pm to 7 am, but movement of people will be allowed during the daytime.
The MHA said hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services, will also remain shut but will be allowed to operate kitchens for home delivery of food items. The ban on religious and political gatherings will also continue.
The relaxations come even as the number of coronavirus cases exceeded 90,000 as India recorded the biggest single-day jump of 4,987 new patients, bringing the total to 90,927 cases so far, including 2,872 deaths.
"New guidelines have permitted considerable relaxations in lockdown restrictions," the home ministry said in a tweet accompanying the order. India's lockdown, introduced on March 25 and extended several times, had been due to expire at midnight on Sunday.