Govt must allow e-commerce companies to deliver mobile phones, other non essentials; here’s why

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Published: April 21, 2020 11:09 AM

With MHA revoking its earlier order that allowed e-commerce companies to start delivering non-essential goods amid lockdown, a research firm has said that the government must allow them to restart deliveries.

The government had earlier allowed e-commerce vehicles to ply and e-commerce companies such as Flipkart had also started to take orders for mobile phones, among other things.

With MHA revoking its earlier order that allowed e-commerce companies to start delivering non-essential goods amid lockdown, a research firm has said that the government must allow them to restart deliveries. The government’s decision to permit e-commerce firms to deliver only essential goods will aggravate hardship fears in many ways, instead of mitigating them, CUTS International said on Monday. “By not taking on board online-sellers’ and consumers’ interests, the government has made a clear deviation from the multi-stakeholder process of decision making, which it has been boasting about,” Pradeep S Mehta, Secretary General, CUTS said. 

The government had earlier allowed e-commerce vehicles to ply and e-commerce companies such as Flipkart had also started to take orders for mobile phones, among other things. However, trade body CAIT and small retailers highly objected to the same. The Confederation of All India Traders had then written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking him to reconsider the order. “It will be highly unfair if the e-commerce players are allowed to deliver all kinds of non-essential goods whereas brick and mortar retailers are allowed to deal only in essential commodities. This will create further imbalance in the level playing field,”Praveen Khandelwal, National General Secretary, CAIT, said in the letter dated 18 April 2020.

However, CUTS International said that the government’s retraction will also hurt job prospects of many. There are more than 20,000 full time online sellers providing around two lakh direct jobs whose livelihood depends upon e-commerce, it said, adding that not only should the government allow but also encourage e-tailers to leverage their infrastructure. This will also help a large number of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to operate smoothly.

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