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MHA bars supply of non-essential items by e-commerce companies during lockdown

Supply of non-essential items by e-commerce companies will remain prohibited during lockdown.

You will have to wait longer for the availability of non-essential items on e-commerce platforms
You will have to wait longer for the availability of non-essential items on e-commerce platforms (REUTERS)

The Ministry of Home Affairs on Sunday said that the supply of non-essential goods by e-commerce companies will remain prohibited during the Covid-19 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. The move allowed the e-commerce companies to resume operations before the lockdown ends on May 3. Flipkart had already begun taking new orders for smartphones.

During the first phase of lockdown, the e-commerce companies had restricted their services to the supply of essential items only.

"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 a statement.

ALSO READ: Amazon responds to MHA's new directive on supply of non-essential items

Srinivas Mothey, Senior Vice President, Paytm Mall said, "Safety of fellow Indians is of utmost importance to us and therefore we support the government's decision in spirit to limiting eCommerce operations to essentials. However, we believe that the ambit of essential goods should be increased. India is mostly working from home at the moment but many are finding it difficult as they are running low on certain items necessary to effectively operate under lockdown. Laptops, mobile phones, and accessories, computer hardware, webcams, all these things should be allowed to be part of essential goods. If the lockdown continues, lack of proper technical support would hinder the efficiency of employees which in turn would affect a company's operations."

Xiaomi VP Manu Kumar Jain said the company is studying the latest directive. The company had earlier announced it had resumed orders on Mi.com, Xiaomi's official e-store.

"Dear All, we have just received an update from the MHA suspending e-commerce for non essential items, affecting our decision about operating http://Mi.com from tomorrow. We are studying this, and will update you soon. We will of course follow all govt. guidelines," said Jain in a tweet

The latest directive from MHA reads:

"In continuation of Ministry of Home Affairs's Order No. 40-3/2020-DM-I-(A) Dated 15th April, 2020 and 16th April, 2020 and in exercise of the powers, conferred under Section 10 (2) (I) of the Disaster Management Act, the undersigned, in his capacity as Chairperson, National Executive Committee, hereby orders to exclude the following from the consolidated revised guidelines for strict implementation by Ministries/Departments of Government of India, State/Union Territory Governments and State/Union Territory Authorities:

Sub-clause (v) under Clause 14 on Commercial and private establishments

v. E-commerce companies. Vehicles used by e-commerce operators will be allowed to ply with necessary permissions."

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