Will let states define what kind of e-com deliveries will be allowed
Shreya Nandi |
Last Updated at April 26, 2021 06:12 IST
Despite several requests from the industry to define essential and non-essential commodities, the Centre has indicated that it will not step in. Instead, it will let the respective state governments take a call on categorising essential and non-essential goods, as localised lockdowns have been imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19. Senior government officials said that, right now, the central government’s priority is to ensure supplies to micro containment zones. Deliveries of non-essential items may have to wait until after the second wave peaks. “Our focus is on saving lives right now. It’s for the states to define (what are essential and non-essential goods) in accordance with their requirements. They will take a call for the time being or at least till we hit a peak (number of Covid-19 cases),” a senior government official told Business Standard. The Centre may step when cases start declining, if required and may look at allowing e-commerce companies to deliver non-essential items.
For the time being, the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) will not step in and leave it on the states to make their rules on delivery, the official explained. To be sure, unlike last year, there isn’t a nationwide lockdown this time around. While Maharashtra was the first state to impose a curfew, several other states, including Delhi, Jharkhand, followed suit and imposed restrictions as cases spiked. However, unlike last year, supply chains have not been disrupted this year and e-commerce logistics have not seen a massive impact. Some states have also imposed night curfew and district-wise lockdowns. Nearly 350,000 people tested positive for Covid-19 in the last 24 hours in India, according to Union health ministry data as on Sunday. While the e-commerce industry has been asking for all kinds of deliveries to be allowed, without distinction of essential or non-essential goods, offline traders have said that if e-commerce firms are allowed to operate without restrictions, then traders in physical markets should also be allowed to operate business activities pertaining to non-essential goods. “We also need to look at the broader perspective,” the official cited above said, adding that the Centre will intervene in the future, if needed. Earlier this month, industry body National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) had written to the CEO of Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation, secretary of the DPIIT, and secretary of the home ministry, requesting them to allow e-commerce companies to deliver all goods and services and not restrict them to just “essential” ones.
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- Govt will let the respective state governments take a call on categorising essential and non-essential goods
- Deliveries of non-essential items may have to wait until after the second wave peaks
- The Centre may step in when cases start declining, if required and may look at allowing e-commerce companies to deliver non-essential items
- Offline traders have said that if e-commerce firms are allowed to operate without restrictions, then traders in physical markets should also be allowed to operate business activities pertaining to
- non-essential goods
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First Published: Mon, April 26 2021. 06:12 IST