E-commerce Companies Can’t Sell Non-essential Items From April 20

Representational Image - Sakshi Post

NEW DELHI: Taking a U-turn from the earlier order that sale of non-essential items through e-commerce platforms will be allowed from April 20, the Home Ministry on Sunday in a new order has prohibited the sale now. On April 16, the government had allowed Amazon, Snapdeal and Flipkart to sell mobile phones, refrigerators, television sets, laptops and ready-made garments.

Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued an order excluding the non-essential items from sale by the e-commerce companies from the consolidated revised guidelines, which listed the exemption given to the services and people from the purview of the lockdown.

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. However, the reason for reversing the order is not known immediately.

When the government announced that the non-essential goods will be allowed from April 20 in areas that are least affected, the Confederation of Indian Traders (CAIT) had criticised the move. CAIT also wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi appealing him to intervene.

"More than 40 lakh traders are supplying essential goods since lockdown came into effect. Side-lining and ignoring them, e-commerce companies have been allowed to deliver non-essential goods from April 20," Praveen Khandelwal, CAIT Secretary-General, was quoted saying by a news agency.

"When the lockdown was announced these e-commerce companies suspended operations. We want to know today what is the necessity for which they have been given permission. We have no objection if they are given permission to provide essential services, but why non-essential goods," he had asked.

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