States start issuing notification allowing full scale operation of e-commerce firms, Retail News, ET Retail

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Kolkata: At least four state governments including Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu and Odisha issued notifications which will allow e-commerce sales of all goods, including the non-essential categories, from April 20 in the second phase of lockdown.

Few other states like Karnataka, Telangana and Haryana too are evaluating it due to pent up demand for products used to aid work and education from home, two senior industry executives said who are in touch with these governments.

The Centre has allowed e-commerce firms to start their full-fledged operations from Aril 20, but has left it on the state governments to decide, in which areas and ensure compliance with rules of social distancing and sanitisation.

The executives said government has realised that consumers are looking for laptops, tablets, smartphones, Wi-Fi routers, printers and other accessories, washing machines and few such products since they are confined at their homes.

However, all state governments have made it clear that no deliveries will be permitted either in the Covid-19 hotpots or containment zones within those areas.

The notification from Maharashtra government said “e-commerce delivery of all goods and commodities including food, pharmaceutical, medical equipment, electrical and electronic appliances” is exempted from the extended lockdown.

The Rajasthan government has allowed e-commerce and home delivery companies to supply all items, but the delivery person will have to adhere to all safety protocols like mask, gloves and sanitisers.

A Flipkart spokesperson said in accordance with the guidelines announced by the Centre and in collaboration with all state governments and local authorities, it will continue to serve consumers to promote social distancing through sanitized supply chain, contact-less deliveries and safe last mile delivery processes.

Flipkart said it is gearing up to resume operations in a few days and helping sellers with market intelligence. The spokesperson said Flipkart is working with lakhs of sellers, small businesses and artisans to make products available for consumers in this time of need as they continue to stay indoors which will also keep the economic engine running for millions of people who depend on the marketplace.

An Amazon India spokesperson said The marketplace is now focused on supporting the immediate need of consumers and also participating in the resumption of economic activity post the ministry of home affairs notification. “We are working closely with all our partners – brands, manufacturers, sellers, small businesses and local shops – helping them to offer the most needed products to customers,” the person said.

The government had earlier allowed e-commerce to only deliver essential food and grocery products.

Paytm Mall senior VP Srinivas Mothey said it is already speaking to brands and merchant partners so that they can start can go live with all categories on Paytm Mall. “We believe that there is going to be a massive demand for electronics, mobile phones and accessories as many of our consumers have been reaching out to us to know when these categories would be live again,” he said.





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