E-commerce giants Amazon India and Flipkart have urged the government to allow the sale of non-essential products during the lockdown. The e-tailers have promised delivery of products with proper precautions and in a safe manner, ensuring social distancing.
Flipkart said that the gradual opening of non-essential goods delivery will help meet consumer demand while easing the burden of piled up inventory of the MSMEs amid the extended nationwide lockdown.
An Amazon spokesperson told PTI news agency that online commerce was the safest way for sellers/retailers to serve consumers' demand.
Amazon stated that they were committed to cater services to more than 100 million Indians so that people can avail products while staying indoors. The e-commerce behemoth also added that the commencement of online delivery of non-essential items would also help thousands of small businesses jump-start their livelihoods amid the loom of COVID-19.
Industry body Nasscom and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), as well as players like ShopClues and Paytm Mall, have also urged the government to expand the list of essential items to include products like laptops and routers to facilitate people working from home.
The government had excluded non-essential goods in revised guidelines for the second phase of the lockdown. This was a big blow to the Indian e-commerce industry, which had begun preparing to dispatch orders.
On April 25, the government allowed selective neighbourhoods and standalone shops, including those selling garments, mobile phones, hardware, and stationery items to open in non-containment zones. It also stated that shops located in open market places, malls, and COVID-19 hotspots will continue to remain shut till May 3. However, the government also reiterated that e-commerce firms were debarred from selling non-essential goods until the lockdown ended.