Govt changes E-commerce rules again, prohibited from supplying non-essential goods during lockdown

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) clarified on Sunday that supply of non-essential goods by e-commerce companies will remain prohibited during the lockdown. 

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued an order excluding the non-essential items from the cart of e-commerce companies. The order said 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.

The 15 April order had said e-commerce platforms were allowed to sell such items from 20 April.

The government had earlier allowed the sale of mobile phones, refrigerators, clothes, television sets and laptops through e-commerce platforms. However, the decision had invited criticism from the Confederation of Indian Traders (CAIT) which called it ‘unjust’.

Govt changes E-commerce rules again, prohibited from supplying non-essential goods during lockdown

“More than 40 lakh traders are supplying essential goods across India ever since the lockdown came into effect. Sidelining and ignoring them, the e-commerce companies have been allowed to deliver non-essential goods from April 20 onwards. It is a one-sided and unjust decision and against the larger interest of the traders and will create an imbalance in the country. Today, we have written a letter to PM Modi, asking him to intervene in the matter and reconsider the decision,” Secretary-General of the CAIT Praveen Khandelwal told ANI.

Commerce and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted that he was grateful to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the clarification that “e-commerce companies can only supply essential goods during the lockdown,” adding “this will create a level playing field for small retailers.”

On Sunday, the MHA wrote a letter to the States to exclude e-commerce category from the revised guidelines.

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