E-Commerce Players to Help Deliver Essentials in India

Delhi Police notified that e-commerce or online delivery services will be included in essential services. Those e-commerce operators who supply essentials like food, groceries, medicines and household necessities have been allowed in many parts of the country. They had halted their operations after PM Modi announced a 21-day lockdown to stem the spread of Coronavirus.
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Crux of the Matter

Owing to the lockdown, E-commerce operators had halted their services. Figuring out safe passage was becoming hard for them. Amazon’s pantry page had announced that it was unable to deliver because of the local restrictions and they were in talks with the government authorities to allow them to deliver the essentials.

Medlife CEO Ananth Narayanan said that one of the company’s delivery person was hit by cops in Delhi. Flipkart, Amazon, Big Basket, etc. had announced that their services would be suspended temporarily during the lockdown. However, the government later notified that delivery operators of essential goods like groceries, food, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, etc. will be allowed to operate.

We have been assured of the safe and smooth passage of our supply chain and delivery executives by local law enforcement authorities and are resuming our grocery and essentials services later today (Wednesday).

– Kalyan Krishnamurthy, Flipkart Group CEO

Industry experts also voiced their concerns over the proper classification of essentials across states. They also said that challenges in front of delivery operators are not less as the interstate movement of goods besides the local movement of delivery persons have been affected due to the lockdown.

In the National Capital Region and many parts of the country, online delivery operators like Flipkart, Amazon, Swiggy, Zomato, UrbanClap, Big Basket, Grofers, Reliance Fresh, Medlife, Pharmeasy, etc will be allowed to operate.


E-Commerce in India – India has an internet user base of about 475 million as of July 2019, about 40% of the population. This number is expected to be 627 million by the end of 2019. Despite being the second-largest userbase in world, only behind China (650 million, 48% of population), the penetration of e-commerce is low compared to markets like the United States (266 million, 84%), or France (54 M, 81%), but is growing, adding around 6 million new entrants every month. The industry consensus is that growth is at an inflection point.

Foreign e-commerce is subject to regulations in India; under local law, foreign companies are to serve solely as marketplaces between vendors and their customers, and are forbidden from holding inventory in the country. Under new regulations effective 1 February 2019, foreign companies will be forbidden from selling any products from vendors that they control or have equity stakes in, and it is forbidden to enter into exclusivity deals between vendors and websites. This regulation is seen as a counter to Amazon and Walmart’s influence on the market, which have given smaller traders a disadvantage in the market. More Info