Delhi will be the second major market after Maharashtra to ban e-commerce platforms from shipping all so-called “non-essential” products to consumers. Other places with similar borders include Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan and a few districts in other states.
An order from the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) dated April 19 said it would allow the movement of people engaged only in “the delivery of essential goods, including food, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment through electronic commerce. “.
The guidelines added that delivery agents of e-commerce platforms and food delivery companies should obtain e-passes from authorities.
“They (the state government) should allow e-commerce companies to ship all products because that will allow people to stay in,” said a senior executive at a premier e-commerce marketplace. plan. “The e-pass system creates a lot of problems because few delivery people have been able to obtain them. ”
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This move is a blow to e-commerce markets such as Flipkart, Amazon, Reliance’s JioMart, Snapdeal and many more. The majority of their activity is carried by products such as smartphones and other small electronic products, clothing, interior decoration and large household appliances.
In search of clarity
Another executive added that industry bodies representing e-commerce companies were seeking to engage with the state government for clarification. The Delhi foreclosure guidelines state that there will be no restrictions on interstate and intra-state movement of essential goods, but do not specifically address the movement of non-essential goods.
“We have received verbal assurances that the intrastate movement of goods will not be stopped, but until a written clarification comes, we will follow the guidelines as is,” said another industry executive. “If clarification does not come, as of tonight we could have yet another situation at the borders where trucks carrying non-essential goods will not be allowed to pass, containing thousands of crore of inventory.”
At the time of this story’s publication, major e-commerce platforms Flipkart, Amazon, JioMart and others continued to accept new orders for non-essential items in Delhi. ET could not determine whether they plan to suspend orders for non-essential items as they did in Maharashtra last week.
E-commerce companies argued that the categories of “essential” and “non-essential” goods are subjective and that they should be allowed to ship all products given the restrictions on the movement of people. They also said that restricting the sale of any type of product puts enormous pressure on their supply chains, which then take months to recover.
Last week, a group of nearly 45 e-commerce companies and industry associations such as FICCI, Nasscom and CII approached the Department for the Promotion of Industry and Domestic Trade (DPIIT) to allow e-commerce “without any discrimination based on essential and non-essential elements ”in Maharashtra.
ET later reported that the Maharashtra government may lift the ban on the delivery of non-essential goods later this week, citing senior government officials and industry leaders. Whether that will happen remains to be seen.