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E-commerce companies allowed to deliver essential and non-essential items from April 20

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In a major relief for consumers, e-commerce players will be allowed to deliver essential and non-essential items from April 20, a top government source told TOI.

Currently, these companies are only permitted to deliver essential food and medical supplies although they have been forced to significantly scale down their operations due to a paucity of passes and shortage of delivery personnel.

From April 20, e-commerce firms such as Amazon, Flipkart, Snapdeal and PayTM Mall can, however, look towards normalcy in their operations.

As a result, you can look forward to ordering a new laptop or tablet for your child or even stationary to help her attend classes online.

Welcoming the new MHA guidelines, Flipkart chief corporate affairs officer Rajneesh Kumar told that on-delivery “standard operating procedures are already in place and full safety of supply chain, employees and customers is a top priority.”

“Currently we are delivering food/essentials. Screening of delivery staff is already on. They get checked twice at warehouses. Thermal guns and scan are available. The delivery staff use mask, sanitisers and so contactless deliveries. We are happy to enforce social distancing in this fight against coronavirus and building partnerships,” said Kumar.

Companies like Flipkart, PayTM Mall and Snapdeal were preparing to resume full operations from April 20 right after the new lockdown guidelines were put out by MHA, even as Amazon awaited clarifications from the home ministry on the revised guidelines, which do not specifically state that deliveries by e-commerce route would also cover non-essential items.

On Thursday, settling the issue, a senior government official told TOI that e-commerce companies could make both essential and non-essential deliveries starting April 20. “The guidelines are quite clear on that. There should be no confusion,” said the officer.

The resumption of full-scale operations will help e-commerce put behind the loss of business while also ensuring that the large workforce associated with e-commerce operations can resume their livelihood.

To facilitate e-commerce firms to restart full operations, the revised MHA guidelines allow all goods traffic to ply during the lockdown. As per the guidelines issued on Wednesday, vehicles used by e-commerce operators will be allowed to ply with necessary permissions. Movement of trucks with two drivers and one helper is allowed as is opening of shops for truck repairs and dhabas on highways with a stipulated minimum distance prescribed by the state/UT authorities.

Also, cold storage and warehousing is permitted at ports, airports, railway stations, container deports, individual units and other links in the logistics chain.


Source: Times of India

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