The government today updated its lockdown guidelines, which conceded e-commerce companies to operate fully and even sell non-essential items to customers during the lockdown. “Supply of non-essential goods by e-commerce companies to remain prohibited during the lockdown,” the ministry of home affairs announced in a statement.
Earlier, e-commerce companies were asked to begin work from April 20 and get significant clearance for the movement of delivery vehicles.
Although the terms “essentials” and “non-essentials” have not been explained clearly in the ministry’s guidelines, today’s order indicates that you will not be able to buy products like mobile phones, garments, refrigerators, air conditioners, etc. online till the lockdown ends on May 3, in Telangana State lockdown is till May 7th.
According to a report, retail traders had requested the government that local shops be also permitted to sell non-essentials items, like e-commerce giants, from April 20.
“CAIT demolished a sinister plan of e-commerce companies to trade in non-essential products. Acquiring the objection of CAIT, the MHA excluded the permission given earlier, and now e-commerce can only trade in essential materials,” stated Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Secretary-General Praveen Khandelwal.
E-commerce platforms are permitted to sell essential commodities such as food, pharmaceutical, and medical devices. “We will proceed to operate in complete compliance with the guidelines issued by the government in this regard,” a Snapdeal spokesperson said.
Today’s order stated the following clause “Vehicles used by e-commerce workers would be allowed to ply with necessary permissions” is excluded from the lockdown guidelines. The relaxation, which is now removed, was given to e-commerce pros in areas with no coronavirus hotspots.
During the first 21 days of the lockdown, e-commerce platforms were permitted to sell only essential goods such as food, pharmaceuticals, and medical devices. However, initially during the nationwide lockdown, concerns were being faced by their delivery staff due to the restrictions imposed by the authorities.
There were several reports of delivery partners of e-commerce firms being roughed up by the police. Still, eventually, the Home Ministry confirmed the companies that they would be able to operate and deliver essential goods.