Online companies such as Flipkart, Amazon and Paytm Mall are looking to resume full operations after April 20. The companies are looking to restart full operations after the Ministry of Home Affairs on Wednesday issued a set of guidelines to be followed during the lockdown extension. The government said 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 function. 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 might be able to deliver non-essential goods as well.
Moreover, the guidelines stated that courier services will also be resumed. It also stated that "all goods traffic will be allowed to ply". It stated that railways, airports, seaports and land ports will be allowed to function for movement of cargo goods, with no specific mention of essential goods. Trucks and other goods carriers have been permitted to resume work provided there are only two drivers and one helper, with valid licences, in the vehicle.
According to a report in The Economic Times, e-commerce platforms such as Amazon are seeking clarification on the guidelines from the MHA. They want to know if they will be allowed to sell non-essential items along with food and grocery.
An official told the daily that based on the current guidelines, e-commerce platforms can re-start their complete operations. Additionally, Niti Aayog and MHA officials told the CEOs of e-commerce companies on Wednesday that complete operations would be allowed. The government also assured assistance to these companies, as per the daily.
An Amazon spokesperson said while resumption of activity from April 20 is a welcome step, operations would depend on the unhindered availability of labour.