Amazon India has requested the government to open e-commerce channels again after the government revoked its earlier order permitting the same.
Amazon India has requested the government to allow e-commerce channels to sell goods during coronavirus lockdown after the government revoked its earlier order permitting the same. Listing benefits of e-tailing such as kickstarting MSME operations, Amit Agarwal, Global Senior Vice President and Country Head of Amazon India tweeted: “E-commerce offers the safest way to ensure social distancing, saving lives and livelihoods. We urge the govt to allow us to deliver all products (not just essentials) that citizens need over a prolonged period so that they can stay safe, while simultaneously jump-starting MSMEs,” he said on Tuesday. For now, e-commerce channels are operating within the country but only to supply essential goods and daily use items such as atta, pulses, hand washes, and other kitchen supplies.
The government had earlier allowed e-commerce vehicles to ply but had reversed its order after protests from small retailers and trade bodies. The revised order was tweeted by the ministry’s spokesperson saying “supply of non-essential goods by e-commerce companies to remain prohibited during lockdown2 to fight Covid-19.” After its earlier order dated April 15, 2020, e-commerce companies such as Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal had started preparations to take their operations on full-scale post April 20. Homegrown e-tailer Flipkart had also started to accept orders for mobile phones.
Earlier, trade body CAIT had sent a letter to the government asking to repeal its order allowing e-commerce companies to operate within lockdown. After the government repealed its order, CAIT said that it “demolished sinister plan of e-commerce companies to trade in non-essential commodities.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 trade only in essential commodities,” Secretary General Praveen Khandelwal said in a statement. Later, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal also said that the ‘clarification’ in the decision will create a level playing field for small retailers. The government also recently allowed standalone neighbourhood shops in rural and urban areas to operate.