The latest guidelines on the extension of the country-wide lockdown until May 17 give e-commerce platforms some relief to operate. E-commerce platforms including Amazon, Flipkart will be able to sell essential as well as non-essential products in orange and green zones from May 4 onwards. However, in the red zones, they will be limited to essential goods including groceries, medical and kids products.
Amazon India told indianexpress.com that they welcome the government’s decision to “allow e-commerce 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”.
In an email statement, the e-commerce giant said the move will allow millions of small and medium businesses and traders to jumpstart their businesses and livelihoods across their workforce. “Our foremost priority is to ensure the safety of our customers, employees and partners and we will continue to join efforts to fight against the pandemic by serving people in the safety of their homes with products they need and help in social distancing efforts to keep India safe.”
Amazon added that the company will maintain the sanctity of the new guidelines around the red zones and urge the government to consider the “positive role e-commerce 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.”
“We welcome the Government’s efforts in progressively charting out an exit plan from the lockdown and allowing e-commerce to serve consumers in the Orange and Green zones by fulfilling their products needs, in addition to serving essentials/grocery in Red zone through a safe supply chain and SOPs,” Flipkart said in a statement.
Xiaomi India welcomed the decision and India MD Manu Kumar Jain said, “Smart move to regulate activities based on zones – Red (hotspot), Orange & Green. And relax restrictions in Orange/Green zones!”
Good decision to partially open up the economy!
Smart move to regulate activities based on zones – Red (hotspot), Orange & Green. And relax restrictions in Orange/Green zones!
— Manu Kumar Jain (@manukumarjain) May 1, 2020
Arjun Bajaj, Director Videotex International Group said, “Though the lockdown has been extended to May 17, the relaxation basis the identified zones is a welcome move. With e-commerce companies able to operate for non-essential goods, consumer durables Industry shall have some movement. Along with this, it will also help the online firms, to start clearing the existing inventory. For us, the Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities/ districts that are under the green and orange zone drive maximum of our sales, for the brand Telefunken and Shinco, so indeed its a bit of a relief. Parallel we are preparing our service centres for the back end and, and would be following the mandatory guidelines like social distancing measures which are necessary at the time of installation and repair.”
Commenting on resuming of sale of non-essential products Gopal Jain, Senior Advocate, Supreme Court of India said, “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. It will bring smiles back onto the faces of professionals who need new devices or chargers and families that need household items who will now not be required to step out onto the streets to access these items. Smooth implementation of this decision at the ground level will be of paramount importance now and local authorities will have to step up their efforts to make sure people stay home for another two weeks.”
Starting May 4, consumers living in green and orange zones will be able to purchase smartphones, laptops, and other gadgets and other products listed under the non-essential category. The platforms are likely to accept orders for non-essentials only in the orange and green zones.