- The government had given a nod to e-commerce websites like Amazon, Flipkart to operate fully and deliver all essential and non-essential items
- Currently, e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart are only delivering essential items like grocery and medical items.
- The e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm, Snapdeal among others had announced that they would start delivering non-essential goods from April 20.
A day after the government announced that the e-commerce platforms can deliver non-essential goods from April 20, revised guidelines by the government said that it cannot. Earlier, the government had given a nod to e-commerce websites like Amazon, Flipkart to operate fully and deliver all essential and non-essential items to the customers during the lockdown. However, a new set of guidelines by the MHA stated that the delivery of non-essential goods to remain prohibited during the lockdown.
Currently, e-commerce platforms like Amazon and Flipkart are only delivering essential items like grocery and medical items including hand sanitizers and masks.
"CAIT demolished a sinister plan of e-commerce companies to trade in non-essential commodities. Accepting the objection of CAIT, the MHA excluded the permission granted earlier and now e-commerce can only trade in essential commodities," Praveen Khandelwal, Secretary-General Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) told ANI.
There is still a lot of confusion about which products fall under the essential and non-essential categories but the recent order by the government clearly states that customers will not be able to buy things like mobiles, TVs refrigerators, air conditioners at least till May 3.
The e-commerce platforms like Amazon, Flipkart, Paytm, Snapdeal among others had announced that they would start delivering non-essential goods from April 20 but now in compliance with the government's new order, they have halted the delivery of non-essential items.
"Safety of fellow Indians is of utmost importance to us and therefore we support the government's decision in spirit to limiting eCommerce operations to essentials. However, we believe that the ambit of essential goods should be increased. India is mostly working from home at the moment but many are finding it difficult as they are running low on certain items necessary to effectively operate under lockdown. Laptops, mobile phones, and accessories, computer hardware, webcams, all these things should be allowed to be part of essential goods. If the lockdown continues, lack of proper technical support would hinder the efficiency of employees which in turn would affect a company's operations, "Srinivas Mothey, Senior Vice President, Paytm Mall said in a statement.
Snapdeal too said that in regards to the latest guidelines by MHA on delivery of non-essential products by e-commerce companies, they will "continue to operate in complete compliance with the guidelines issued by the government in this regard."