India Lockdown Extension: Flipkart, Amazon Can Sell Select Non-Essential Items From April 20
E-commerce firms, including Amazon India and Flipkart, will be allowed to sell mobile phones, televisions, refrigerators, laptops and stationery items from April 20, officials said on Thursday.
The clarification from a senior home ministry official came a day after Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued revised guidelines for operating essential and non-essential services during the extended lockdown period.
But delivery vans of e-commerce firms will need permission from authorities for plying on the roads. "Vehicles used by e-commerce operators will be allowed to ply with necessary permissions," the ministry said.
Previous notifications by the home ministry had specifically said that e-commerce companies are allowed to sell only essential goods like food, pharmaceuticals and medical devices.
The guidelines released Wednesday did not classify essential and non-essential items.
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 showed.
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.