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Coronavirus lockdown: No prohibition on e-commerce firms supplying essential items, govt clarifies

Ministry of Home Affairs had earlier not explicitly excluded the supply of non-essential items by online sellers in revised guidelines. Vehicles used by e-commerce firms were allowed to ply with necessary permissions

twitter-logoBusinessToday.In | April 19, 2020 | Updated 22:29 IST
Coronavirus lockdown: No prohibition on e-commerce firms supplying essential items, govt clarifies
A man returns home after collecting essential items from a delivery person in a sealed area in Aminabad, Lucknow (Photo credit: PTI)

Even as the supply of non-essential goods through e-commerce platforms remains prohibited, the sale of essential goods through e-commerce firms is allowed as earlier, the government clarified on Sunday. All the state and UT governments have been asked by the government to sensitise the field agencies and the general public about the same, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) also said in an order. "I would like to clarify that while operations of e-commerce companies for non-essential goods stands prohibited, however they will continue to operate for essential goods as has been allowed earlier," Home Secretary, Ajay Bhalla, said in the order.

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Earlier today, the government prohibited the supply of non-essential goods by e-commerce companies during the lockdown period. The Ministry of Home Affairs had earlier not explicitly excluded the supply of non-essential items by online sellers in its list of revised guidelines. The government had said that the vehicles used by e-commerce operators would be allowed to ply with necessary permissions.

Since guidelines did not specify that e-commerce companies would only be allowed to deliver essential goods, anticipation had built they would start delivery of non-essential goods as well. However, the new guidelines on clarified non-essential goods would not be allowed.

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In the first phase of lockdown between March 24 to April 14, the government had only permitted the delivery of essential goods, including food, pharmaceuticals, and medical equipment. India is under an extended lockdown until May 3 to fight against the spread of life-threatening coronavirus.

INDIA CORONAVIRUS TRACKER: BusinessToday.In brings you a daily tracker as coronavirus cases continue to spread. Here is the state-wise data on total cases, fatalities and recoveries in one comprehensive graphic:

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