The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) has told all state governments to treat e-commerce functions such as delivery, warehouse operations, shipping and logistics as part of essential services.
In order to enable delivery executives and other related workers provide the services, the Ministry has advised the state governments to treat “copy of orders, waybills, invoices” as evidence, particularly in respect to essential items. An advisory related to this has been issued by Rajiv Kumar, joint secretary at MEITY, on Tuesday.
“In view of the prevailing situation due to Covid-19, the Government of India has issued several advisories regarding (the) management of pandemic,” said the advisory. “However, in view of the lockdown, certain IT/ITES services are being hampered,” it added.
The Indian e-commerce sector has come to a halt across the country including the supply of essential commodities due to various lockdowns to prevent the spread of Covid-19, according to the e-commerce industry executives.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has come up with a report about the impact of Covid-19 on the industry and economy and actions needed to sustain continuity. In the report, CII has urged the government that e-commerce shipments and deliveries be treated as an essential activity, which may be exempted from any travel and transport restrictions. “It is also an important tool in the fight against the Covid-19 epidemic as it supports the current imperative of social distancing by providing buyers doorstep access to daily necessities, including grocery, fruits and vegetables, medicines and a vast range of home and personal use products,” said CII in the report.
It said, e-commerce also provides senior citizens with a convenient and minimum contact option to access the markets without needing to leave their homes. The warehousing and logistics network that e-commerce companies have, reach to more than 20,000 pin codes enabling residents to remain in the safe environments of their home while keeping those channels of critical and social goods flowing to consumers. The report also pointed out that despite having issued restrictive orders for quarantines and shutdown and advising people to avoid restaurants, bars, and social gatherings – countries including the US, Italy, Spain, France, Germany, and the UK – have issued specific e-commerce exceptions.