The government is committed to ensuring uninterrupted supply of essential goods to the public during the 21-day nationwide lockdown, said Piyush Goyal, minister of railways and commerce, during a video conference with e-commerce and retail industry leaders on Friday.
The minister’s assurances come after multiple e-commerce companies either briefly suspended or shut their operations during the ongoing 21-day lockdown. Online delivery services have resumed in some areas.
Etailers such as Amazon, Flipkart, online grocery delivery players BigBasket and Grofers, food delivery platforms Zomato and Swiggy and on-demand medicine delivery companies have complained that their warehouses are being forced closed by local law enforcement while delivery personnel are being beaten up and harassed across multiple cities.
The conference attended by industry representatives from e-commerce and logistics companies Snapdeal, Shopclues, Flipkart, Amazon India, Grofers, NetMeds, PharmEasy, 1MG, Udaan, BigBasket, Zomato, Swiggy, Paytm, Delhivery as well as large retailers like Walmart, Metro Cash & Carry and RPG.
A note issued by the government said that the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) was in talks with the retailers and e-commerce companies to ensure that supply chain of essential goods was maintained. DPIIT has also set up a control room to monitor the supply chain of essential goods during the lockdown.
On Thursday, the ministry of home affairs issued a fresh set of Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) clarifying the provisions of functioning for all the e-commerce entities and essential services. Though the initial set of guidelines for lockdown on March 24 exempt services and e-commerce operators, the SOP is expected to prevent the harassment of delivery personnel and transporters going ahead.