E-commerce platforms in India have resumed delivery of ‘non-essential’ products, or discretionary goods like electronics, clothing and accessories, following the easing of lockdown restrictions. Both Amazon and Flipkart on Monday started delivering ‘all products’ to so-called green and orange zones that denote low prevalence of COVID-19, but deliveries remain restricted to ‘essential’ products within red zones that have a large number of reported coronavirus cases.
Over the past several weeks, online portals were restricted to delivering only essential goods, including food items, groceries, medical supplies, etc. The latest directive from the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) comes as a major relief for businesses that have seen their sales come to a virtual standstill as the country tries to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Do note that all 11 districts in Delhi are designated as ‘Red Zones’, which means non-essential products, such as smartphones and clothing, will remain off limits for Delhiites, at least, for the next couple of weeks. Based on COVID-19 risk profiling, the government has designated 130 districts in the country as red zones, including 19 in UP and 14 in Maharashtra. 284 regions have been marked as orange zones, while 319 have been classified as green, according to NDTV.
While extending the ongoing lockdown by two more weeks until May 17, the Home Ministry last Friday also lifted some of the restrictions in green and orange zones as part of its planned reopening of the economy. The government relaxed inter-state movement of distressed migrant workers, stranded tourists, pilgrims and students. Cab aggregators like Ola and Uber have resumed services in green and orange zones, while non-essential businesses, such as barber shops and salons, have also been allowed to open.