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Coronavirus lockdown: Amazon, Flipkart gear up to go full throttle on April 21, but...

Coronavirus impact: Even with strict adherence to social distancing and hygiene norms along with internal practices, resumption of services of Flipkart and Amazon at full scale looks distant

Rukmini Rao | April 18, 2020 | Updated 22:11 IST
Coronavirus lockdown: Amazon, Flipkart gear up to go full throttle on April 21, but...
Coronavirus news: Flipkart, Amazon face manpower challenges

KEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • E-commerce companies await state clearances to resume non-essential services
  • Companies to continue measured operations to ensure social distancing

Following the new directive by the Ministry of Home Affairs that enables e-commerce companies to resume deliveries of non-essential goods, e-commerce giants Amazon and Flipkart are gearing up for capacity increase. However with permission from most state governments still to come through, the extent of service still remains unclear.

According to the sources that Business Today spoke to, Amazon currently has the permission to resume delivery of non-essential goods in six states namely Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh and Goa. Odisha has allowed non-essential deliveries to Flipkart. One of the sources at Amazon said, "We are hopeful that with permission from other states over the weekend, this number might increase."

Also read: Coronavirus India Live Updates: Delhi gets 42,000 rapid testing kits as COVID-19 cases cross 1,700-mark

Even with strict adherence to social distancing and hygiene norms along with internal practices, resumption of services at full scale looks distant. The logistical problems the companies are facing are not just at the delivery end but also at the level of manpower at fulfilment centres.  The need to maintain social distancing means fewer employees at the fulfilment centres. Moreover shifts will have to be managed to ensure no that there is no crowding, said one of the sources. 

The other problem is also ensuring that enough workers are available to come to work. In several locations, gram panchayats have enforced strict lockdown. Workers are unable to provide services as they fear they would not be able to return to their respective villages or towns.

Also read: Coronavirus lockdown: Amazon, Flipkart may resume full operations after April 20

On April 16, the government revised its guidelines and said that certain services would be allowed to resume after April 20 to ease the lives of millions of people in the country. In the sub-section on commercial and private establishments, the MHA stated that e-commerce companies would be allowed to operate. It also added: Vehicles used by e-commerce operators will be allowed to ply with necessary permissions. The guidelines do not specify that e-commerce companies would only be allowed to deliver essential goods -- implying that they would be able to deliver non-essential goods as well.

Also read: Coronavirus lockdown: Flipkart, Amazon can sell non-essential goods from April 20

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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