MHA changes rules on e-commerce again, says ‘supply of non-essential goods by e-commerce companies to remain prohibited during COVID-19 lockdown’


The ministry of home affairs has changed its rules on e-commerce after 20 April saying that ‘supply of non-essential goods by e-commerce companies is to remain prohibited’ during the current lockdown till 3 May.

e-commerce companies

In its new order issued to chief secretaries of various states, Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla wrote, “Vide Order of even number dated 19th April, 2020, clause 14(v) of the consolidated revised guidelines, relating to E-commerce companies has been excluded. In this regard I would like to clarify that while operations of e-commerce companies for non-essential goods stands prohibited, however they will continue to operated for essential goods as has been allowed earlier and continue to be allowed under clause 13(i) of these guidelines.”

The same message was further reiterated by the spokesperson of the Indian ministry of home affairs.

Many expected the resumption of e-commerce activities since the last revised guidelines of the MHA had said that they will be allowed to operate from 20 April. Reacting to the MHA’s new rules, Amazon India said that it will hit small companies adversely. “New guidelines barring delivery of non-essentials by e-commerce will disappoint consumers, small businesses, manufacturers,” PTI quoted Amazon India as saying.

Praveen Khandelwal, Confederation of Indian Traders’ Secretary-General, told news agency “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.”

The news will come as a huge setback to millions of consumers, who had begun preparations to buy goods using e-commerce platforms.

While issuing detailed guidelines, the MHA had said that passenger train and air services continue to be banned until 3 May. There will be ban on all social, political, sports, religious functions, religious places, places of worship shall remain closed for public.


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