E-commerce sites such as Amazon and Flipkart will be allowed to sell non-essential items from April 20 onwards. This means that customers will be able to place orders for items such as mobile phones, refrigerators, televisions, laptops, stationery items from April 20. This clarification came from a senior home ministry official a day after the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a set of guidelines for services that could resume after April 20.
The ministry said that vehicles of e-commerce operators will be allowed to ply with necessary permissions. Previous notifications by the home ministry had specifically said that e-commerce companies are allowed to sell only essential goods such as food, medicines and medical devices.
The guidelines released on Wednesday did not specify the kind of goods that would be permitted under the relaxation of lockdown norms. The move is being viewed as an attempt by the government to revive industrial and commercial activities stalled since March 25 due to the coronavirus lockdown.
"All facilities in the supply-chain of essential goods, whether involved in manufacturing, wholesale or retail of such goods through local stores, large brick-and-mortar stores or e-commerce companies should be allowed to operate, ensuring strict social distancing without any restriction on their timing of opening and closure," the latest health ministry guidelines stated.
The government has also allowed movement of all trucks and other goods/carrier vehicles with two drivers and one helper subject to the driver carrying a valid driving licence. An empty truck or vehicle will be allowed to ply after the delivery of goods, or for pick up of goods.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended the lockdown till May 3 from the initial April 14. He, however, said that certain norms would be relaxed after April 20 to mitigate the hardships faced by people.