Amazon on Sunday responded to the Ministry of Home Affairs' decision to prohibit supply of non-essential items during the Covid-19 lockdown. The e-commerce company said that the directive will disappoint consumers as well as thousands of small businesses, sellers, and manufacturers.
"We appreciate and are fully committed to the vision of the Government to keep the citizens healthy. The need of the hour is to ensure the safety of our citizens first, serving their needs while they stay at home. The new guideline will disappoint not only the consumers whose list of essentials had expanded to work from home and study from home products but also the thousands of small businesses, sellers and manufacturers across the country, who had geared up in the last 48 hours to provide millions of people with safe access to products. On behalf of consumers and sellers, we hope that this situation is rectified soon so that the urgent need of consumers is met and that there is revival of economic activity. We will continue to follow the guidance and deliver essential products and work closely with all central, state and local authorities for expedited processes to make safe deliveries of priority products possible," said an Amazon spokesperson in an email.
This morning, the MHA said that the supply of non-essential goods by e-commerce companies will remain prohibited during the lockdown.
"Supply of non-essential goods by e-commerce companies to remain prohibited during Lockdown 2 to fight COVID," said a spokesperson of the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The government had earlier eased restrictions on the e-commerce companies from April 20. The move enabled the e-commerce company to resume their services before the lockdown ends on May 3. Amazon and Flipkart had already begun preparations for the resumptions of services. So far, the e-commerce companies were only supplying essential items.
Kazim Rizvi, Public Policy Researcher and Founder, The Dialogue, a research and public-policy think-tank, said, "The reversal to exclude e-commerce services as essential items post 20th April is an unfortunate step that will not ease the burden on the economy or the people of India. It is unclear whether this decision was taken to provide level playing or in the interest of ensuring safety of Indians. An inconsistent approach to decision making will hurt the interests of the communities and the sellers at large, who will form the nucleus to revival of economy and will also not help in the fight against COVID 19. A nuanced and consistent approach to deal with the problem is the need of the hour when India economy is experiencing contraction first time in forty years."