New Delhi: E-commerce players have hailed the government's relaxations regarding sale of non-essential products starting May 4.
Although the government has allowed the sale of only essential products on the red zone through e-commerce platforms, non-essential products are likely to be allowed in green and orange zones, starting May 4, subject to specific approval from the respective state governments
The relaxation comes as a major relief for the e-commerce players.
Although there is no categorical statement regarding allowing of non-essential sales by e-commerce players, the MHA order mentioned that all activities are permitted in green zones except buses, metro rail services, educational institutions and other places non-essential places which could lead to mass congregation of people, including, malls, and cinema halls.
An Amazon spokesperson said: "We welcome the government's decision to allow ecommerce in Orange and Green Zones to serve people safely with products that they need and have not been able to access due to the lockdown."
Millions of small and medium businesses and traders will now be able to jumpstart their businesses and livelihoods across their workforce, the spokesperson said.
The Amazon spokesperson, however, said: "While we will maintain the sanctity of the new guidelines around the red zones, we urge the government to consider the positive role ecommerce can play to get customers all priority products they need in the red zones as well, enabling a stronger economic support for the small businesses while prioritising safety."
In a statement, Snapdeal said that it welcomes the Ministry of Home Affairs' announcement that paves the way for a calibrated resumption of various economic activities, including e-commerce, in various parts of the country.
"This will help start a gradual process of economic recovery by enabling lakhs of sellers and MSMEs to cater to the demand of users through online and offline channels. At Snapdeal, we are ready and committed to play our role in enabling India to exit this lockdown safely and efficiently," the company said.
Gopal Jain, a senior advocate, said that the Central government's decision is thoughtful because basic necessities will now be available at people's doorsteps.
"E-commerce companies being allowed to deliver non-essential items in orange and green zone areas will be a eureka moment for students who have run out of stationery and books, who can now stock up for the coming two weeks," Jain said.
The Centre on Friday announced the extension of the nationwide lockdown for two more weeks from May 4, with certain relaxations to regions categorised as orange and green zones.
There is also no clarity on opening of liquor shops. While the MHA has clarified there is no order to open liquor shops, much of the final decision rests with respective state government and union territories.
"We have always said that the cost of liquor shutdown far outweighs its benefits, if any.
"At the same, time we also reiterate that administration should clearly spell out social distancing and hygiene guidelines for shops, warehouses, shipping, and factories; and these must be followed without fail. Our members are committed to supporting the Governments in this," said Vinod Giri, Director General, Confederation of Indian Alcoholic Beverage Companies (CIABC).