The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on Wednesday issued detailed guidelines on activities that will be allowed during the second phase of lockdown till May 3. As per these guidelines, the e-commerce companies, which were only supplying basic essentials during the nationwide lockdown, will now be permitted to resume its operations.
Officials in top e-commerce companies who did not want to identified informed that they have reached out to the ministry seeking more clarity on the operations that are exempted to be resumed.
"The guidelines mentioned that e-commerce companies will be allowed to function. While we have started preparing for staggered resumption, we just want to make sure whether we can go full scale with non-essentials as well," he said.
The companies have also reached out to lobby groups like Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM).
Under new guidelines, the MHA said that some commercial and private establishments will be allowed to operate from April 20. However, all of these relaxations are for areas which have not been declared as hotspots or containment zones of deadly coronavirus.
Call centres for government activities, all courier services, e-commerce companies, will be allowed to function, the ministry said in its revised guidelines. Vehicles of e-commerce companies will require the necessary permit.
The Centre had assured e-commerce companies that their operations would not be disrupted amid a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus, but most had filtered their services to delivery of only essentials like groceries and food grains.
Local issues such as differing state and district level regulations had hindered operations.
Most of Amazon.com Inc's 60 plus fulfilment centres in India were shut, while Wallmart-owned Flipkart had cut down in most of its services.
The guidelines, issued by the MHA has also allowed exceptions for construction activities and rural works under MNREGA.
Adding to the list of exceptions, the government said all farming operations, including procurement of agricultural products and agriculture marketing through notified mandis, will be permitted. The supply chain of milk and its products, poultry and live-stock farming and tea, coffee and rubber plantations will also resume.