It seems that you won't be able to buy non-essential items from E-commerce platforms from April 20 after all. According to an announcement by the Central Government today, April 19, the prohibition on the supply of non-essential goods by E-Commerce companies shall be maintained during the ongoing COVID-19 lockdown.
The announcement, or rather the clarification, comes after a number of questions were raised by the opposition and traders about the government's decision. The first phase of lockdown was witnessed from March 24 - April 14, where the government had only allowed the delivery of essential goods, including pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, groceries and other food items through e-commerce platforms. The Home Affairs Ministry had issued fresh guidelines earlier this week right after the lockdown was extended till May 3, seemingly allowing e-commerce companies to sell non-essential items.
The official Twitter account of the Ministry of Home Affairs has also confirmed this information. “#IndiaFightsCorona Supply of non-essential goods by e-commerce companies to remain prohibited during #Lockdown2 to fight #COVID19,” said the spokesperson on the social media platform.
#IndiaFightsCoronaSupply of non-essential goods by e-commerce companies to remain prohibited during #Lockdown2 to fight #COVID19. pic.twitter.com/6Jdvuzw6VJ— Spokesperson, Ministry of Home Affairs (@PIBHomeAffairs) April 19, 2020
It seems that the traders made a valid point about how E-commerce platforms are getting an unfair advantage by selling items like mobile phones and other electronic items, while physical shops are closed.