E-commerce delivery allowed nation-wide: Flipkart, Amazon, and Snapdeal, as well as vertical etailers including Lenskart, Nykaa, and Firstcry, are expected to resume full operations from Monday after the central government removed all restrictions on online retail as part of its plan for Lockdown 4.0.
These companies are preparing to start full-fledged deliveries across all three zones (green, orange and red), except in containment zones, as the Centre announced an extension of the countrywide lockdown till May 31, while easing some rules.
These platforms were so far restricted to selling non-essential goods like smartphones and electronics in government-designated green and orange zones while being allowed to sell essential items such as food and grocery nationally.
“In lockdown 3.0, E-commerce activities were allowed in the red zones, but only for essential items. The guidelines for lockdown 4.0 do not make any such distinction. Therefore, e-commerce activities — for both essential and non-essential items — will be allowed in the red zones too,” the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said in its order.
However, the state governments would still take the final call on allowing businesses to function based on their local needs and situations, the Home Ministry added.
The government’s move to allow E-commerce to operate in lockdown 4.0 is a big relief to the companies that were earlier allowed to sell only essential goods.
Amazon had said it had seen the biggest impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its business internationally in India. The US e-commerce giant that has a strong presence in the country had been facing a tough time due to the lockdown that has temporarily contracted its business to essential items such as groceries.
.“We don’t expect states to restrict e-commerce activity in any way and we should start accepting orders from Monday,” a senior executive of a leading e-commerce marketplace told ET. “Moreover, offline stores are open in most locations, so it shouldn’t be a problem for us (e-commerce) as well.”