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Amazon says prohibiting non-essential deliveries will disappoint consumers, small businesses, others

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After the government barred delivery of non-essential items through e-commerce platforms, Amazon India on Sunday said the new guidelines will disappoint consumers whose list of essentials had expanded to ‘work from home’ and ‘study from home’ products, as well as small businesses, sellers and manufacturers.
According to a PTI report: The company asserted that it will continue to follow the guidelines and deliver essential products and work closely with authorities for expedited processes to make safe deliveries of priority products possible. Stating that Amazon India is fully committed to the vision of the government to keep the citizens healthy, a company spokesperson emphasised that the need of the hour is to ensure the safety of citizens first, serving their needs while they stay at home.
“The new guideline will disappoint not only the consumers whose list of essentials had expanded to work from home and study from home products but also the thousands of small businesses, sellers and manufacturers across the country, who had geared up in the last 48 hours to provide millions of people with safe access to products,” the spokesperson was quoted by PTI as saying.
Amazon India further said the company, on behalf of consumers and sellers, hopes that “this situation is rectified soon so that the urgent need of consumers is met and that there is revival of economic activity”.
“We will continue to follow the guidance and deliver essential products and work closely with all central, state and local authorities for expedited processes to make safe deliveries of priority products possible,” the spokesperson was further quoted by PTI as saying.
Four days after allowing e-commerce companies to sell non-essential items, the home ministry on Sunday issued an order saying the following clause — “E-commerce companies. Vehicles used by e-commerce operators will be allowed to ply with necessary permissions” — is excluded from the guidelines issues.
Players like Paytm Mall have urged the government to expand the ambit of essential goods to include products like laptops and mobile phones to facilitate people working from home.
“Safety of fellow Indians is of utmost importance to us and therefore we support the government’s decision in spirit to limiting e-commerce operations to essentials. However, we believe that the ambit of essential goods should be increased,” Srinivas Mothey, Senior Vice President, Paytm Mall was quoted by PTI as saying.
He added that people in the country are mostly working from home at the moment but many are finding it difficult as they are running low on certain items necessary to effectively operate under lockdown.
“Laptops, mobile phones, and accessories, computer hardware, webcams, all these things should be allowed to be part of essential goods. If the lockdown continues, lack of proper technical support would hinder the efficiency of employees which in turn would affect a company’s operations,” he told PTI.
Interestingly, traders’ body CAIT had raised objection to e-commerce firms being allowed to sell non-essential goods and had said it did not provide a level-playing field. Under the first phase of the nationwide lockdown between March 24-April 14, the government had only allowed delivery of essential goods, including food, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment through e-commerce platforms.
On April 16, the Ministry of Home Affairs issued fresh guidelines for the lockdown — which has now been extended till May 3 — allowing e-commerce companies to sell non-essential items as well.
E-commerce companies like Flipkart and Amazon had welcomed the move and said they were engaging with seller partners to resume operations. Flipkart is yet to comment on the latest development.
A Snapdeal spokesperson said the company will continue to operate in complete compliance with the guidelines issued by the government in this regard. Consumers and companies across industries, especially electronics, apparel and home appliances, were looking forward to relaxation from April 20 given that sales of products via online and offline channels have been on hold for nearly a month.

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