1 min read.Updated: 19 Apr 2020, 01:55 PM ISTAgencies
Amazon, Flipkart, other e-commerce companies will not be allowed to sell non-essential items like mobile phones, refrigerator, ACs, clothes, etc during lockdown
The government had earlier allowed e-commerce portals to resume operations from April 20
NEW DELHI :
The government today revised its lockdown guidelines which allowed e-commerce companies to operate fully and even sell non-essential items to customers during the lockdown. "Supply of non-essential goods by e-commerce companies to remain prohibited during lockdown," the ministry of home affairs said in a statement.
Earlier, e-commerce companies were asked to start work from April 20 and get necessary clearance for movement of delivery vehicles.
Although the terms "essentials" and "non-essentials" have not been defined clearly in the ministry's guidelines, today's order means that you will not be able to buy commodities like mobile phones, garments, refrigerators, air conditioners, etc online till the lockdown ends on May 3.
According to a report, retail traders had asked the government that local shops be also allowed to sell non-essentials items, like e-commerce giants, from April 20.
"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," said Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) Secretary-General Praveen Khandelwal.
E-commerce platforms are allowed to sell essential commodities such as food, pharmaceutical and medical devices. “We will continue to operate in complete compliance with the guidelines issued by the government in this regard," a Snapdeal Spokesperson said.
Today's order said the following clause -- "Vehicles used by e-commerce operators will be allowed to ply with necessary permissions" -- is excluded from the lockdown guidelines. The relaxation, which is now revoked, was given to e-commerce players in areas with no coronavirus hotspots.
During the first 21 days of the lockdown, e-commerce platforms were allowed to sell only essential goods such as food, pharmaceuticals and medical devices. However, initially during the nationwide lockdown, there were issues being faced by their delivery personnel due to the restrictions imposed by the authorities.
There were several reports of delivery partners of e-commerce firms being roughed up by the police, but eventually the Home Ministry assured the companies that they would be able to operate and deliver essential goods.